Building a customer experience hub with customer journey analytics

Contact centers are no longer just about handling customer complaints. In today’s experience-focused world, they have the potential to be a genuine business differentiator. To achieve that, understanding the customer journey is vital.

Contact centers today go beyond sorting out customer issues. They are expected to simultaneously increase customer and employee satisfaction, enhance performance and cut the cost to serve.

They are effectively customer experience hubs. Or should be aspiring to be one.

The challenge is that today’s contact centers deal with a complex ecosystem of calls, chats, interactive voice response (IVR) and more. They generate data that often sits in silos, making it harder for businesses and their employees to build a comprehensive map of the customer journey.

Understanding that journey is critical to creating frictionless, connected experiences across all channels. The businesses that achieve that are the ones most likely to succeed. As McKinsey notes, “80 percent of the value creation achieved by the world’s most successful growth companies comes from their core business—principally, unlocking new revenues from existing customers.”

Knowing how customers interact with your brand

So, how do you comprehensively map journeys?

One way is to use what’s known as customer journey analytics (CJA), the science of understanding customer behavior across all channels to measure the impact of the customer experience. Based on data from various sources, including owned digital and non-digital channels, journey analytics can help businesses analyze how customers interact with their brands and identify what performs well. More importantly, it can determine what’s not working properly.

But wait, many will say, we already have analytics. How is this any different? CJA differs because it generates actionable insights as part of the solution. While that’s achievable with a typical business intelligence application, it requires a lot of customization to see the journeys, and the outputs are only accessible by data scientists.

CJA democratizes access to those vital insights, meaning the wider business can benefit. For instance, a department could use the data to take action on a specific group of customers to reduce churn.

Isn’t that just segmentation? No, because it’s about acting in the moment, not chopping up audiences by fixed parameters and then continually approaching them in the same manner.

Why this matters to contact centers

How does CJA benefit the contact center? There are four key benefits:

  • Improving contact-center performance
  • Increasing self-service effectiveness
  • Helping drive positive experiences beyond the contact center
  • Enhancing escalation management

These areas can directly and dramatically impact cost-to-serve (thereby influencing profitability) and customer experience. We outline four case studies below, where CJA helped achieve these benefits.

Unlocking new levels of contact center performance

One mortgage lender analyzing its contact-center performance noticed a spike in agent-to-agent transfer, resulting in multiple employees being tied into one customer query. This reduced productivity and increased the effort customers felt they had to make to resolve their queries, which harmed their overall experience.

Using CJA, the operations manager found that the highest volume of agent transfers was triggered by calls after mortgage applications had been denied, with most of those queries resolved by the second agent. Customer service teams were fielding calls and then transferring them to the appropriate underwriting agent, who could provide the reason for the denial and potential solutions to aid in re-applying.

These insights informed a change to call routing, so callers receiving a denial in the preceding 48 hours were sent directly to their assigned underwriting agent.

This reduced the number of agent-to-agent transfers, boosting team productivity and helping to increase customer satisfaction by reducing effort.

Better self-service from journey analytics

Increasing self-service can also benefit from CJA. A health insurance provider wanted to improve how seamless the customer experience was by targeting how often its members had to call the contact center. It targeted self-service as a route to achieving this goal.

Using CJA, the provider could identify where customers would most likely exit its interactive voice response (IVR) tool to ask for a live agent’s support. The analysis revealed that most calls to the contact center occurred when members wanted to confirm whether their plan covered their new doctors. Those queries accounted for 11% of inbound traffic at a cost of more than half a million dollars.

The insights gathered from CJA were used to inform bots that could look up a doctor’s name and location to determine whether the member’s specific plan would cover them. The bot offered other relevant alternatives if the doctor fell outside the plan.

The result was increased completed IVR queries, decreased contact center costs and improved customer satisfaction.

Insights beyond the contact center

When it comes to driving experiences beyond the contact center, CJA played a role for one credit card provider. It struggled with a dramatic rise in repeat calls, increasing costs by more than 200%.

The analytics identified that cardholders attempting to redeem rewards were responsible for more than 50% of these calls. These queries were triggered by a faulty mobile app recently receiving an update, stopping customers from redeeming their rewards. So not only were customers frustrated by the mobile app experience, but their effort levels had increased, harming their overall satisfaction.

Thanks to the insights, the credit card provider was able to fix the app, rebuild customer experience levels and drive down the sudden spike in costs.

Effective escalations

With escalations being a critical and often highly charged part of the contact center role, identifying their root cause is vital to their management.

For one retail bank, an individual escalation is not just a case that needs to be managed. It is also an incident that should be reviewed to determine whether the issue affects other clients. For instance, a request for a card replacement might be initiated via the bank’s app, but the customer may escalate if the card does not arrive in the promised timeframe. As they are already frustrated, this query could need to be handled by a more experienced agent or involve management.

Armed with this knowledge, the bank reviewed how many other customers have this experience. It found that nearly 20% of customers who requested a new card called at least once for an update on the status of their card. These calls cost more than a quarter of a million dollars.

This led the bank to implement a self-service update system, allowing customers to track where their card is, reducing inbound call volumes and, as a result, improving customer satisfaction.

Becoming experience hubs

These are opportunities for contact-center operations to generate significant improvements by deploying CJA. Through these gains, they will be better placed to become the customer experience hubs businesses need to compete today.

Alexiane Moor
Alexiane Moor

Alexiane is a passionate CX professional with more than eight years of experience in business development and management focused on customer experience, digital and data, consultancy and go-to-market strategies. Her mission is to help clients transform their customer experience and achieve their business goals by leveraging CX solutions and technologies. She is also responsible for coaching and developing the CX culture within our organization and fostering collaboration with our European partners.