How collecting better data about your customers can transform your business

Understanding the customer engagement hierarchy

This pyramid shows the process every customer moves through as they interact with you – from a single call to a lifetime relationship. At each stage, you have the opportunity to learn something that will improve your business— sometimes dramatically. The higher the customer progresses along the hierarchy, the more you stand to gain from their valuable insights.

  1. Events
  2. Transactions
  3. Interactions
  4. Engagements
  5. Journey

What you'll learn

  • Customer engagement hierarchy
  • Transforming your business
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Events: optimizing your system

Events are the lowest level of the pyramid. An event is a discrete, individual contact between the customer and your company. Most events are short. Every single key a customer presses on your voice response system, call that gets routed to representatives, or order that is taken, all of these represent individualized events.

What can you learn from analyzing event-level data? If any part of your system isn’t working, you’ll find out about it. You’ll also find out which menu items and autoresponders are the most popular, enabling you to reconfigure your system in a way that’s more efficient and intuitive for your customers.

These may be small changes, but when a customer is waiting for help, they can make a difference between retention and abandonment.

While useful, Level 1 data doesn’t teach you about how your customers think and why they make the decisions they do. For that, you need to travel further up the hierarchy.

Transactions: learning where to automate

A customer can reach you in multiple ways: a call, an email, a web form, a social media entry, or through a combination of channels. Each channel or system the customer uses within a single session counts as a customer transaction. For example, using an interactive voice response menu (IVR) to connect to an agent and then speaking with that agent counts as two separate transactions even though they originated from one call.

Collecting data at the transaction level helps you improve efficiency. Many vendors provide reporting and analytics for Level 2 data that you have likely worked with. Their information may have shown you how automating specific processes would save you time.

But not everything benefits from automation. Is customer self-service cancellation a good idea? Not if your best agents can salvage 30 percent of cancellation requests.

Automation works well for some functions, but how do you know when to leverage it? There’s a great deal more insight that today’s technology can provide to help determine when and where to automate.

Interactions: learning to provide better service

Customer interaction includes all the transactions a customer has during a single session. For example, they may start with your voice system, then switch to a webchat, talk to an agent, or all three. Everything they do in that session constitutes one interaction.

To analyze data at the interaction level, you need to “follow the customer” from system to system and join all those transactions together.

This type of analysis is valuable and it is where you can gain the information that will improve your customers’ experience and ultimately boost sales.

Engagements: personalizing customer service

Engagement is the entire series of interactions a customer goes through to resolve a problem or purchase a product or service. It stretches through time to include calls to the contact center, conversations with an agent or with multiple agents, emails and web chats—everything a customer does in the chain reaction that eventually results in a closed ticket or a closed sale.

Level 4 data gives you important insights about individual customers that can boost retention and sales. Here are some examples of what you can do with it:

  • Determine how many actions it takes for customers to accomplish their goals.
  • Learn which path people typically take to resolve an issue. Use this knowledge to reorganize your systems so that people find a solution closer to their first step.
  • Discover which channels customers prefer for various types of contacts. For example, do people call to get support? Do they prefer to order products online?
  • Learn which touchpoints contribute to a sale or a problem resolution. Normally, the representative at the last touchpoint gets the credit, but in reality, earlier calls or web chats might have been more important to the customer. Determining the relative value of touchpoints can help you maximize the effectiveness of your sales and support operations.
  • Learn how to measure the relative performance of agents when multiple people help a customer.
  • Determine which agents work best with which types of customers and which are good at resolving particular issues. Armed with this knowledge, you can route calls based on agents’ abilities and success rates rather than availability. That could have a direct impact on your close rate and your bottom line.

The customer journey: benefitting from cumulative knowledge

The final stage of the customer hierarchy is called the customer journey. It includes all the engagements a customer has with your company and can take place over many years.

Analyzing data at this level gives you insights that correlate customer behavior with your sales and business processes. You can quantify customer satisfaction, calculate ROI, and make strategic decisions about which products and services you should develop to best cater to your customers. Here are some examples of what you can do:

  • Calculate the estimated lifetime value of each customer.
  • Improve the customer experience throughout the journey.
  • Provide superior service and support.
  • Become an easier company to do business with.
  • Increase customer loyalty. Discover which customers are considering switching and stop them in their tracks.
  • Discover which customers are likely to upgrade to premium offerings.
  • Increase the number of customers willing to promote your products and services to others.

Transforming your business

As you can see, collecting and analyzing customer information can take your customer service and sales to new heights, especially when you get to Levels 4 and 5.

But integrating the data among systems—an essential part of the process—is tough to do at many companies. Departments are often compartmentalized and siloed, and systems don’t “talk to” one another. The problem can be especially acute at call centers, which are often outsourced and widely geographically dispersed.

Until recently, mapping data across business units has been the province of big organizations with the resources to build complex data warehouses and keep them updated with the latest technology.

But things are changing rapidly. Today, organizations of any size and budget can gain invaluable insights into customer behavior at a realistic price point. Thanks to Big Data and the cloud, even your most far-flung contact center can have access to a customer’s entire engagement history with every call.

You can receive regular reports revealing what your customers like and don’t like about your service and how each representative is performing. You can customize your service to fit individual customer’s hand-in-glove, impressing them and increasing the probability of sales.

If spreadsheets make your eyes swim, you can view data in creative visual presentations that make correlations jump off the page. You can analyze all this information to make statistically valid predictions about what your customers are likely to do next.

You can now do all this and more without big, complicated data warehousing and thorny data extraction processes. Without a big IT budget or staff.

We’ve passed the age when technology simply made call centers more efficient. By providing unparalleled insights into your customers’ behavior, today’s technology can optimize systems and processes, dramatically improve customer service, boost sales, and guide your strategy for the future.

As it accumulates, customer data can truly transform your business.

Is your contact center tracking the metrics that matter most?

More and more companies have multiple systems and initiatives underway to automate the data transport between disparate systems, yet dissatisfaction with these strategies has INCREASED

Many organizations are decreasing emphasis on weekly reporting, finding that real-time and daily reporting is the only way to truly keep routing and call handling strategies aligned with customer demands

Learn how a Masergy Cloud Contact Center powered by Cisco Webex can help you deliver better business results today: