Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

How to Identify and Eliminate the Pain Points across the Customer Journey

February 05, 2019
By Special Guest
Chris Tranquill, CEO, Topbox, Inc. -

Friction points, or lack thereof, are the most direct contributors to a customer’s decision to buy more products or services, to continue using products and services, and to recommend products and services to others.  A customer base is informing a company of its friction points every day. Identifying friction points, determining root causes, and taking action to resolve – all in a short timeframe – can make a huge difference to a company’s bottom line and its future.

It has been said that, for every customer who contacts a company with a compliant, there are 26 others who never bother to address the issue.  Those 26 customers are at a high risk to take their business elsewhere at the first opportunity.  Consider that many companies handle millions of interactions.  The math on the at-risk revenue is staggering.

Consider this scenario:  In a single day, a mid-market company receives 150 calls from potential customers who are trying to make purchases on the website, but receive error messages when making a payment.  With an average cart size of $75, that’s $11,250 that the company is able to retain because people picked up their phone to complete the sale.  But, if we apply the rule of 26 to that, the company can miss $292,500 in revenue in that single day.  If that friction point is not identified quickly, it could cost the company millions in revenue.  A Customer Experience (CX) team with the right tool would identify that issue quickly and take it to the e-commerce team for resolution, thereby minimizing the missed revenue opportunity.

Context is Gold: Going Beyond Speech-To-Text Analysis

The typical 100-person contact center handles over 100,000 interactions on a monthly basis, or over 1.2 million interactions per year.  Some companies have thousands of agents handling over 100 million interactions per year.  Nearly every company has mountains of customer interaction data – months or even years of call recordings, chat transcripts, emails, product review verbatims, survey verbatims and more.  In aggregate, that’s an incredibly powerful data set that can change the course of a company’s future.  Left untapped, it’s merely an operational cost for storage.

Some companies have turned to traditional speech and/or text analysis tools in an effort to learn from this data.  While these tools may give some understanding of high-level themes, they are limited to a single channel and struggle to provide the depth needed to get to the root cause of customer issues.  The missing ingredient with these tools is context.

Why is context important?  Let’s use an example from the retail vertical about a pair of athletic shoes.  A customer calls about returning a pair of shoes.  If the CX team were relying on the meta data from its PBX/ACD, or how the agent dispositioned the call, this might be the extent of the data and context available.  But, the discussion in that single call could contain so much more, such as the style of shoe, general issues such as a breakage or defect, the part of the shoe with the issue (heel, sole, toe-box, etc.), the material with the issue (leather, mesh, canvas, etc.), product usage (such as casual wear or distance runner), the sentiment of the customer (agitated, neutral, etc.), as well as the outcome of the call.  Also contained in that interaction is the agent’s response – empathy, probing questions, solution options, and resolution (or lack thereof).  That’s a lot of rich context from one single interaction.  Harnessing that level of detail across millions of interactions can expose themes, trends, patterns and outliers across an entire set of products or services, and across an entire customer base.

To do so, a CX analytics solution must be able to classify data at a level of granularity that goes beyond high level themes and patterns.  For example, it’s one thing to understand there has been an increase in complaints about billing issues, but how actionable is that information?  Knowing that those billing issues are concentrated in a group of customers who responded to a promotion, and which specific promotion, and what was the disconnect between the promise made in that promotion and the customers’ actual billing experience?  Now you understand the root cause of the issue and can do something to resolve it.

Discovering the root cause of a customer experience friction point requires a classification model that incorporates an exhaustive list of that company’s products, services, support functions, probable issues and more.  Connecting high-level themes to specific products and issues, with as much context as possible, is the key to getting to root cause.  Quantifiable evidence of the precise customer fiction point is imperative in order to mobilize the resources across other business units to resolve the issue at the origin.

Omnichannel analysis for the win

In today’s business reality, customers have many options when it comes to communicating with companies.  Phone, chat, email, surveys, product reviews, app chat, SMS, web feedback, social media, and more are often available.  Each channel has its own value proposition.  This is where omnichannel analysis can be extremely beneficial.

In contrast, analyzing surveys only reveals partial insight.  For example, negative results from surveys around a particular product may signal the customer base’s overall sentiment toward the product.  Beyond that, you may pick up some nuggets about the general reason such as “confusing,” “uncomfortable,” or “broken.”  But, a true omnichannel analytics platform will enable a CX team to spot this trend in the surveys, and then quickly pivot to phone calls or chats to get the real details around the problem.

By leveraging omnichannel analysis, the calls or chats involving the specific product and the general reason can be identified for deeper analysis to get to the true root cause.  With the right tool, this sub-set of data can be isolated with just a few clicks.  By triangulating between multiple channels, a CX team can identify and quantify the exact reason for the customer base’s sentiment around the product or service.

Friction points occur across all areas of a customer journey, in nearly every company.  How quickly we identify these issues, determine root causes, and take action to resolve that friction is imperative to delivering outstanding customer service and, therefore, has a huge impact on a company’s bottom line and its future.  Thankfully, specialized CX analytics can now ingest unstructured interaction data from every channel (along with its accompanying, structured metadata), normalize it, classify it, and provide deep analytic capabilities to identify and solve friction points.  With the right tools, companies can make sense of its treasure trove of customer data, reduce and eliminate friction and deliver great customer experience. 

About the author:  Chris Tranquill is CEO and co-founder of Topbox, makers of cloud-based customer experience analytics software. An experienced executive, Chris has been responsible for organizations with P&L of $1 billion+ and 50,000 employees. Prior to Topbox, he was Group President at a leading BPO provider where he led the customer care division to "industry leader" status from Gartner and Everest.

Edited by Erik Linask