Customer analytics is an examination of customer behavior used to help organizations make informed business decisions to better serve and target their customers.
Recently two highly-publicized customer expectations lawsuits have been in the news; one for Anheuser-Busch misrepresenting the alcohol content in a variety of its beers and the other with Subway’s foot-long sandwiches for coming up short. In both cases the customer expectations were clearly set and advertised (Subway’s $5 foot-long sandwich deal and Anheuser-Busch light beers with the alcohol content of higher calorie brands). In both cases, expectations were so blatantly under-served that customer dissatisfaction went through the roof, the customer experience went in the toilet, and now both brands are dealing with multimillion dollar lawsuits and a serious image problem.
My bank sent me a survey invitation after I logged into my account to review my mortgage. I was happy to click on the survey link to discuss my satisfaction with the online experience. After about 6 minutes of clicking through the pages of questions, I had to give up. Time to respond to the survey would take longer than the time I spent on the website.
Given my occupation and obsessive desire to measure customer experiences, I probably stuck with this survey longer than many other customers. Do not try to get all of your customer experience intelligence all at once from one customer experience survey. This is difficult to remember when everyone in the organization has a need for customer intelligence. Continue reading “Web Experience Survey Mistake #1 – Trying to Measure WAY too much!” »
It is human nature to make emotional decisions based on nothing more than a reaction to a feeling, even if it is irrational. In business, emotional decisions made every day without thorough customer experience analysis to support them is costing you tens of thousands of wasted dollars. How do you know you are making emotional decisions? If someone had directed you to make a change or has imposed a goal and a customer experience analyst has not verified the accuracy of such, it’s a clue that it’s an emotional decision. Continue reading “Emotional decisions will cost you thousands without Customer Experience Analytics” »
When it comes to growing your business, the ingredients are straightforward: have a good product/service, understand your customers’ needs, have good, clean customer data, and deliver an exemplary customer experience every time. Do those four things better than everyone else and your company always lands on the top of the heap. Fail to do any one of these things and you end up being mediocre at best and maybe do not survive.
Have you had an experience like one of my recent ones where I was pitched by a reputable company that had not done the research about me as a customer? The pitch was so far off-base that it was actually insulting to me. Sure, they had a good product, but because they didn’t understand my needs as a customer and battered me so much on the phone, I was left with only a poor customer experience. It’s likely that I’ll never do business with them or their sister companies in the future. Continue reading “How well does your Big Data know your customers?” »
Little kids get in trouble all the time, and when they’re ready to come clean they’ll often make parents promise not to get mad before they spill beans. Wanting to ensure mom and dad’s response is not unlike an agent asking for a top score on a post-call survey from a customer they just helped on a service call. But be careful, because engineering and massaging customer experience data creates bigger problems than stealing a candy bar or pushing down a sibling and confessing to a parent.
There’s a big difference between a call center agent asking a customer if they’ve answered all their questions at the end of a customer service call and asking if they transfer that customer to a post-call survey if that customer would give them a nine or a 10 rating on their call performance, i.e. massaging customer behavior. By planting the seed in the customer’s mind about the rating they should give the call center agent, they end up engineering a customer experience vs. letting the customer rate the agent honestly. Continue reading “Post-call surveys are pointless if your agents synthesize the results.” »
In the psychology world, conversion disorder is a somatoform disorder characterized by medically unknown and often disabling neurological symptoms. Individuals diagnosed with conversion disorder present with at least one unfeigned and unintentional symptom which affects voluntary motor or sensory function, resembles a neurological or medical disease, and involves psychological elements. Symptoms may include impaired coordination, paralysis, weakness, difficulty swallowing, double vision, blindness, deafness, seizures, amnesia and loss of consciousness. Continue reading “It’s the biggest customer challenge facing businesses today” »
Top companies are those that revolve their business models around their customers. Those that not only consider their customers in the design and marketing of their products, but involve them throughout their products’ development and introduction into the marketplace are the companies that lead their competitors.
But you know that talking about being customer centric and being customer centric are two different things. Changing your corporate culture can be a daunting and complicated process. Some of the top barriers to becoming a successful customer-centric organization include getting buy-in at all levels, linking your metrics to KPIs and ROI, and creating a customer-centric culture from the inside out. Again, haven’t we been talking about this for two decades? Continue reading “What stands in YOUR way from becoming customer centric?” »
So your company has a big data problem and after much research you purchase a CRM software solution (BI or Analytics Software included) you believe will solve all your issues. A few months after the install you find you’re no where closer to solving your big data problem and you’re ready to throw out the proverbial software baby with the bath water. Your team blames the software for not meeting their expectations. The software company tells you to take advantage of more training to use the software to its full potential. Thousands of dollars down the drain and zero progress. Does this sound familiar?
The problem is common and the solution is two-fold. On the one hand, software companies need to make sales, and some of their marketing hype can be captivating. But they can only do so much in regards to the talent and the steps a customer takes beyond the install to impart the knowledge needed to drive value out of the software solution. On the other hand, executive leaders have the responsibility to be knowledgeable about the software they are buying and the talent they have. They need to get the right people, and stay committed long enough to work through the software hiccups. When you simply blame the other guy and look to replace the CRM software without properly evaluating and improving your internal talent, you’re not unlike a married couple that call it quits before six months of marriage.
You have to be willing to work smarter instead of harder. Most people think it is easier to just get a different CRM system instead of adding the people skills and talent necessary, or bringing in experts to help with generating value with the investment that’s already been made. And software companies must stand behind the product they sell and provide the necessary support and training that extends beyond system administration. If this is not available then everybody loses and time will be wasted, resources will be wasted and your big data problem will just be bigger. Continue reading “Solve your Big Data problems and stop blaming the ‘other guy’.” »
I recently wrote a blog post focused on how companies are using social CRM. Everyone seems to be using social customer service to gauge customer sentiment, manage product and service issues, and follow up with customer service complaints. The focus on social media strategies is overwhelming to many organizations but of even more significant is the lack of Social Media Business Intelligence. Why are you monitoring and gathering all of that consumer data if you cannot do anything valuable with it? For any business project don’t you need to prove the value of the effort and investment?
Along with your consumer data gathering, consider text analytics to help you organize unstructured text-based data in your CRM systems (and in social media), survey and emails into a form that can be analyzed to uncover patterns or trends. Do you notice a spike in online customer complaints about the lifespan of one of your new products? What do you do to prove the need for action? Text analytics supports, for example, the need for the manufacturing department to reevaluate the intended use for the product and the Warranty/Finance Department to alter the current product warranty.
Many companies may offer the complaining customers a quick refund or replacement to stop further brand badgering. Dealing with one vocal and hostile customer at a time is not harnessing the power of the customer intelligence available. Digging deeper into the mountains of information with text analytics or text BI uncovers the larger issues and builds a business case for a successful remedy, instead of putting a band-aid on one customer at a time. Continue reading “Text analytics makes the most of consumer data.” »
It’s time to get a new TV so I went to my local electronics store see the choices. I wanted to compare the options and then select which model, brand and type would best suit my needs. I found a store salesperson that walked me through the choices and we focused on several models that would be ‘perfect’ for me. We talked for about 15 minutes and I was left to make my decision. It was only a minute before another customer came up to me and told me the exact opposite of what the salesperson had said. The customer told me the model the salesperson recommended was about to be discontinued because of a quick bulb burnout, surmising that the salesperson ‘was probably just trying to move excess product’.
Delaying my purchase so I could do more research, I located a whole slew of communities and customer comments talking about the bulb problems with warnings to future customers that ‘they’d be disappointed’. I also found suggestions of like brands and models that had better bulb life. I was able to post my own question and get several rapid responses.
I’d say that my TV purchasing experience was influenced by crowdsourcing, both online and off. I was able to get a straight answer from those using the products themselves instead of only relying on a salesperson that had a stock pile of about-to-be-discontinued TVs. In the store, a helpful customer steered me in the right direction and online I found confirmation with literally hundreds of customers in the ‘crowd’ confirming the issue with the bulb. Continue reading “Are customers using crowdsourcing to find your products?” »
Everyone is abuzz over the ‘new’ Big Data trend and while most companies are floundering to analyze the data they already have, not to mention the data they have yet to capture, some big brands are setting the bar of customer analytics excellence pretty high.
So what are these brands doing right? Have they identified the proper analytics people to exploit their data in a useful way instead of falling prey to the skills-gap issues that plague other companies? Is it the data itself – what they are analyzing, when and how much? Or are they just internally and departmentally sound and settled thus allowing them to look at the big picture of Big Data?
When companies can look at their data and deduce the relationships between the data sets, it’s the customers that are reaping the immense benefits. To take a big data for marketing example, I’ve been a card holder at a particular clothing store since 2004. Because I’m spending money with their credit card they are easily able to track my purchase frequency, what departments I shop in, and can predict what I am likely to buy in the future. What this means for me is tailor-made marketing including rewards and discounts I’ll actually use. It’s not just the credit card data; they are looking at my social media habits too. I ‘like’ their page on Facebook and by pairing my profile information with my city, and crossing that with my credit card billing information and spending, they sent me an email that my local mall was having a sale on sweaters and gave me a discount if I want to take advantage of the sale. Result – they are getting more of my business than before. Continue reading “Big Data done right can benefit brands and customers.” »
We’ve all been there. Frustration after a poor IVR or call center agent experience makes it seem simpler to go online to see if you can solve your product or service questions yourself. Studies show that frustrated customers turn to social media channels to look for help. From swapping unregulated home fix-its or publicly venting about frustrations, more often than not customers are going online – and not to your web site.
Now here you are tracking, monitoring and responding to social media attacks. Where is all of this negative sentiment coming from that is making you chase smoke? Few companies take an inside-out approach about the customer experience and social media so they get the negative social media chatter to chase. Your dial-to-disconnect call analytics should be telling you what is causing the failed IVR experiences or the failed interactions with your agents so you can deal with these internal issues (like being wrongfully disconnected, routed to an agent ill-equipped to answer the questions, unable to trouble shoot, etc.). Social media venting is not a customer-focused service channel.
We talk a lot about dial-to-disconnect call analytics as an effective means to proactively direct an organization and that is even more important now. Pay attention to how you will handle the trend that has emerged – when callers fail to get the answers needed through the IVR or the call center, they go online. And, when using social media as a self-service channel the result is often erroneous information that lands them further down the rabbit hole of customer dissatisfaction.
Where do you think these customers went next? Twitter? Facebook?
“I don’t understand the point of speaking my selections to your automated service if it gets me nowhere but disconnected. Twice I dialed your service line, spoke my selections and was met with, ‘Thank you, good-bye’. What a waste of time.”
“I called my car insurance agent directly to speak to him about my pending claim only to be continually re-routed back to the main customer service line. Not sure what the point of having a ‘dedicated agent’ is, if I can never reach them.”
“You have an apparent problem with your dryers overheating and burning clothing, as stated by many forums on the internet. I will never buy your product again and I will spend more time reading reviews online before I buy anything over $200”.
“I was simply trying to return an item I purchased online but every time I called to get information on where to send it back to, I could never reach a live agent and was continually disconnected by your automated service. I finally went online to do a search for my nearest store location and had to return it in person.”
Last week I told you about my alarm vs. phone company customer experience drama and raised the question of what part of each dollar spent on your products and services is needed to fund your company’s dysfunction. I bet it’s more than you thought.
To last week’s point, I just received my phone bill. I usually skim my bills and just pay what’s required. This time my paranoia of dysfunction got the best of me and I started reading the bill line by line. The bill was littered with this fee and that fee. Hard line fee? Gross receipts surcharge? Fees that I’m now convinced are disguised to cover the phone company’s dysfunction because they cannot just raise the base monthly cost without everyone noticing. Then I study the alarm monitoring company’s invoice and try to calculate what the monthly fee SHOULD be – I think I have to pay the fully loaded dysfunction fee of $39 when it should be more like $29 without the dysfunction subsidy.
Is your company so heavily process-reliant that you’ve squashed common sense? Common sense that’s needed to solve simple customer issues? Is one department setting up another to fail because of lack of communication or information that then leads to bouncing your call-in customers around without a clear path to call resolution? Are your analysts running around creating reports that no one is reading when they should be reviewing the company’s speech analytics to uncover the real customer pain? Continue reading “Just how much customer experience dysfunction am I paying for here?” »
Mining and analyzing customer comments to understand sentiment is no longer a wish. It’s a must. Based on years of experience, I suspect many of you are like the business partners I work with: you understand the value of the activity, would love to be able to get your hands on the insight, but don’t have the resources to do the work.
But there is good news. Using basic business intelligence approaches, it is possible to get a quick start on sentiment and text analysis to better understand what your customers think and say about your business. This information can then be leveraged to better serve customers and ultimately, improve the bottom line.
The rate at which customers provide commentary in customer experience surveys in itself can be very telling. Below are examples of insights that can be gained simply by examining the relationship between key real-time survey metrics and the propensity of customers to provide verbal feedback.
For the business partner depicted in the chart below, customer comments and real time alert rates were highly correlated. The more likely a customer was to comment, the more likely alert rates were to increase, and vice versa. This suggests that dissatisfied customers who required a follow up call from a manager were more likely to leave negative comments than positive ones.
While this may seem troublesome at first blush, understanding customer complaints is often an untapped gold mine. Reading and mining these comments could offer significant intelligence and gains for this business partner which can then be woven back into continuous improvement initiatives. Continue reading “Your quick start to the customer experience gold mine.” »
Every year around this time I find myself reflecting on the months that have passed and what I wish I would have done, not done, done better or done differently. At the risk of appearing like a new-year’s-resolution-gym-rat that is rarely seen past February, I’ll share my list of 2012 professional resolutions to include dumping reports that aren’t used, carving out creative time, looking for best practices in other industries that I can apply, and focusing on preventing the damage caused by not leveraging customer sentiment.
1. To focus on the things that matter. We all have a “to do” list that we likely dread looking at because of its sheer volume / length. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as scratching an item off the list, even if you know it’s not the most important item, or even a value-add item, right? In 2012, I resolve to minimize the number of tasks on my to do list by only including the items that offer insights into the business, add value to my customers or provide direct benefit my organization. The things which are likely to fall off the list in 2012 as a result? Reports that no one looks at, reports that people look at yet do nothing with, and presentation decks that are so repetitive month to month that even I get bored creating them, etc, etc, etc.
2. To be even more militant about customer sentiment. The business partners that I work with often hear me use the phrase “the quantitative data tells you what is happening, the qualitative (customer comments) tell you why.” Customer sentiment cannot be ignored without foregoing the value that is needed for an organization to differentiate itself from competitors. Everyone has customer conversations but they are not analyzed. Many have customer feedback programs that do not include explanations from the customer about the numeric score given. And still more have customer explanations that are not analyzed. Customer Sentiment Analytics is on my list again for 2012, but with an even higher point of focus. This one should definitely be on your list! Continue reading “2012 resolutions for a better working me (take any that you need for your list!)” »