Get Past the Yes Man


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It’s every executive’s fear: Their direct reports paint a picture of healthy, high-performance business segments. But in reality, these reports are downplaying the major issues and the executives have no reliable source to give it to ’em straight.

Getting a complete view of how a customer interacts with a business – online, in retail sites, and through call centers – is one of those executive blind spots, mostly because the rich data that each department measures is locked in organizational and information silos.

Here’s a perfect scenario: A large telecommunications provider recently released a new product to market but quickly noticed a high level of customer churn. As it turns out, there was an issue with the new device instructions and service agents were not properly equipped to assist customers. This led to frustrations and ultimately the customers returned the product to the retail store and cancelled the plan.

Where’s the figurative yes-man? At a specific point in time, the retail stores reported strong sales. And by sending the customer back to the store, the call center continued to meet average handle time goals, first call resolution goals and avoided increased escalations within the contact center.

The only way to avoid losing millions to these blind spots is to map the ‘path’ of customer interactions and understand how customer segments truly behave and interact within a company’s customer service channels … and to do so over time. Easier said than done, I know.

But, as our telco customer found, the required effort pays off in multiples. After the company from above identified the flaw, and agents were properly trained, churn decreased by 20 percent and more than 1,500 customers per month were saved, worth an estimated at $20 million in revenue.

2010 will be a watershed year for CIOs applying analytics that bridge these gaps between CRM, call center, IVR and ERP data. At stake are millions of dollars in efficiencies gained and churn avoided that goes straight to the bottom line. Based on the impact to both bottom line savings and top line growth, Gartner has ranked “advanced analytics” #2 on its annual short list of hot technology trends this year.

We’re seeing more companies set their number-one corporate mandate on improving the customer experience – which is great news, and frankly, long overdue. It may be that pressure from the very top is the push that’s needed to finally get departments collaborating.

Loyalty and millions of dollars in recurring revenue are at stake. Every customer interaction is an opportunity to gain or lose customer equity – while shareholders require a tight balance to provide service in the most cost effective way possible. Nailing both goals can only be done by replacing traditional siloed analysis with comprehensive customer experience interaction analysis and with interdepartmental teamwork. .

Marco Pacelli
Marco Pacelli is CEO of ClickFox, the company processing nearly one billion interactions monthly (representing over 24 million consumers in the U.S.) to deliver comprehensive cross-channel insights, driving hundreds of millions of dollars in saved operating costs and millions more in customer acquisition, retention and growth for leading Fortune 5 organizations.


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