Turning “Little Data” into Big Productivity Gains


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There’s been a ton of talk about “big data.” And rightly so. Big data has the potential to completely change how you treat customers based on a better understanding of their behaviors. It’s a great capability, and you should definitely look into it.

But this blog isn’t about contact center big data. Instead, it’s about contact center little data.

What’s contact center “little data”?  It’s that information you have about your customers’ behavior that’s readily at hand. It’s in your call types, your resolution databases, and in the heads of your best reps. It can help you become more productive AND make your customers happier. Within your contact center are the secrets to how customers behave that you can use to resolve tomorrow’s problems today — all without the need for hundreds of thousands of dollars in brand new servers.  Instead, you can tap this knowledge for just one Ben Franklin’s worth of pizza and beer.

Let’s take a look at your most common customer journeys. From signing up for new service to making changes to existing products, there are likely areas ready for improvement.  Big data can certainly predict future customer steps. But odds are pretty good that your “little data” can also do this, quickly and inexpensively.

Ask your top reps to stay a bit late, bribing them with pizza and beer. Put your top call types up on the wall, then ask your reps to describe what typically happens in these calls. Why are customers calling?  What are they trying to accomplish?  Then look further down the list of common calls, and see if there’s a relationship.  I’m willing to bet that at least one other call type is associated with this one.

Look for those call types that typically follow the original call, and look for a way to prevent this second call. Once you have your first call relationship figured out, move onto the second.  Soon, you should have at least 5-6 common scenarios where customers call in for issue #1, only to call back with issue #2 in the near future.

Once you have your list, set your broader teams to work on preventing that second call from ever happening.  Can your reps offer customer training at the end of the call?  Are there emails you can send?  Productivity tips you can publish?  Find ways you can equip your customers to solve their own problems, saving them the time associated with another call.

Bruce Temkin spoke about this at the 2015 CXPA Insights Exchange. He calls this “anticipatory experiences,” and he sees this as one of the five trends driving the future of customer experience.

Bruce shared an example of how USAA built an anticipatory experience.  As you may know, USAA only serves members of the military and their families. They limit their customer base to a small percentage of the population, which could be seen as a disadvantage. But by anticipating their customers’ needs, they turn this into a competitive strength.

When a customer calls to change their address, USAA reps ask, “Are you going on active duty?” They know that this is true for a large percentage of their address changes, so they’ve built an anticipatory experience around this event.  Knowing that many of their customers may not have adequately planned for going on active duty, when they find out the answer is yes, it kicks off a number of questions:

  • Do you want to put your auto insurance on hold? (Why have auto insurance if your car is sitting in the garage?)
  • Have you executed a power of attorney? (Important in case of injury or death)
  • Have you executed a healthcare proxy? (Important in case of injury)
  • Do you have enough life insurance?

Notice that two of these questions have nothing to do with USAA’s products or services, and the auto insurance question can actually reduce revenue!  Yet, USAA knows that by anticipating their customers’ needs, they can not only reduce future calls (for example, complaining about an auto insurance bill), can also build engagement through making life easier for their customers.

Contact center little data may not have all of the glamour of contact center big data. But by utilizing what you already know about your customers, you can anticipate their needs, save yourself some work, AND further engage your customers. This approach layers perfectly with intraday management technology that makes better use of big data to automate frontline response,

All for about 1/1000 of the cost of those servers.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Tincher
Jim sees the world in a special way: through the eyes of customers. This lifelong passion for CX, and a thirst for knowledge, led him to found his customer experience consulting firm, Heart of the Customer (HoC). HoC sets the bar for best practices and are emulated throughout the industry. He is the author of Do B2B Better and co-author of How Hard Is It to Be Your Customer?, and he also writes Heart of the Customer’s popular CX blog.


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