Hey You! Are you Listening?


Hey You! Are you Listening?

By Elaine Cascio, Vice President  |  March 18, 2014

Since this column is called Voice of the Customer, it seems appropriate to talk about whether and how we’re hearing that customer voice. Many of us rely on surveys or Net Promoter Scores. But there are numerous other ways to listen to what our customers are saying.

Social Media

Whether you partner with another department or if your contact center is responsible for monitoring and responding to social media, make sure you’re capturing the voice of the customer as it relates to all of your services. Continually refine what you’re listening for so that you can respond to issues rapidly and before they go viral. If you change a policy, understand what customers like and dislike about the new rules so that your agents are prepared to respond appropriately and consistently.

True social listening isn’t just about capturing what’s being said about your company, but understanding social sentiment (positive/negative/neutral) and what influencers are saying about you. Additionally, you can understand demographic and geographic data such as what areas of the country and in what age groups sentiment is trending higher than others.

Speech Analytics

Speech analytics seemed like a great new toy just a few years ago, but technology advances, combined with more expansive databases and more experience, make it something to explore today.

We talked a few months ago about how speech analytics can be invaluable in root cause analysis and improving process, training, and more. But what is its value for voice of the customer? The ability to analyze every call (often thousands of hours on a daily basis) and categorize calls helps us easily understand what is driving customer conversations. Like social media, speech analytics highlights what our customers are talking about, whether it’s trying to read a newly re-designed financial statement, or navigate our website or voice response system. Speech analytics can combine analytical capabilities with emotion detection, which like social media sentiment, identifies positive and negative conversations.

Companies are increasingly using speech analytics as a real-time tool to improve the customer experience, build loyalty, and identify opportunities to increase wallet share. If a caller discusses a life-changing event like a new home purchase or a marriage, there may be opportunities to offer them additional products or services. Speech analytics can identify key words like wedding or moving, and have the agent receive scripts for potential upsell. Or a customer using a word like bankruptcy may trigger a script for discussing bankruptcy and push forms that the customer needs to complete.

Text Analytics

Customers are doing more than calling and tweeting – they also text, e-mail, and chat. That’s where text analytics comes in. Offered by many speech analytics vendors, text analytics works in a similar way, identifying patterns, categories and sentiment, so you’re able to track customers who are chatting or e-mailing about your website redesign and whether their conversations are positive or negative.

All these tools put us in better touch with our customers and provide valuable information for informing business decisions, as well as improving the customer experience. As with any analysis, one of the keys to success in mining conversations is to clearly define what you’re trying to accomplish, monitor it regularly, and review and refine often.

Elaine Cascio is a vice president at Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net), a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self-service, contact center processes, operations and technology.   

Elaine Cascio is a vice president at Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net), a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self service, contact center processes, operations and technology.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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