Ember helps retailer identify its most valuable interactions

Value / Irritant analysis of customer contact will inform future strategy

Customer experience specialist Ember is working with a fast-growing online retailer to help it refresh and enrich its customer contact strategy.

The retailer asked Ember’s team of experienced consultants to undertake a comprehensive value/irritant analysis of interactions with its contact centre. The process will build a picture of the reasons why customers call and help identify where those calls could be more effectively managed using other channels.

Speech analytics at the core

Ember will use their analysis models to classify thousands of interactions in terms of their value to the customer and to the retailer.

Typically, interactions such as customers wanting additional information or assurance to complete a purchase are seen as high value to both parties, while requests like checking on delivery status are generally viewed as being suited to online tools – which are faster for the customer and lower cost for the retailer. Where a customer calls simply because they have been unable to find the information they want online, this is understandably seen as an irritant.

This classification then informs future customer management decisions and channel strategy: the retailer can focus on developing its non-voice channels to address some categories of common low-value or ‘irritant’ interactions while improving training for contact centre staff on the high-value interactions.

Cross-industry insight

Ember will draw on its deep knowledge of customer behaviour, sharpened over projects with clients in a diverse range of industries, to inform its classification – something the retailer recognises as invaluable.

Honesty and pragmatism

Ember’s project lead will be Andy Rothwell, Senior Consultant. He believes the key to successful value/irritant analysis is to be brutally honest about the current status of customer contact. “It’s not being disloyal or disrespectful to customers to describe some of their calls as irritants – especially where they are irritants to the customers themselves! Often, that kind of honesty, allied to speech analytics data that demonstrates the frequency of such irritants, can be a catalyst for process improvements – such as more precise delivery slots – which send customer satisfaction soaring.”

However, Andy also recommends businesses are pragmatic about the process. “The insight our value/irritant analysis provides can help optimise channel usage, by making important changes that encourage customers to use a preferred method – whether that’s voice, an online tool, FAQ or SMS. But unless you shut a channel altogether, you’ll invariably still receive some ‘irritant’ interactions via that route.”

Building the business case

For the head of Ember’s insight and analytics practice, Consulting Director Lee Mostari, the project underlines the wide range of tools and methods used by the team. “By using our managed analytics service as the basis for this task, we can build a far more detailed understanding of the drivers for customer contact than through call listening alone.”

“It also allows us to provide a clear sense of the scale of a problem, which is particularly important where interactions are of value to the business but irritants to the customer, or vice versa. It then provides the basis for calculating the potential savings or benefits that channel shift could bring – which is crucial to building a business case for investment in tools such as web chat.”