Accenture: Data-driven-insights optimize-service-experience


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Accenture: Data-driven-insights optimize-service-experience

  1. 1. How Data-Driven InsightsOptimize the Service ExperienceKey Findings from 2012 CustomerTolerance Research
  2. 2. Executive Summary/AbstractAll too often, customer service executives trust their gut around customertolerance when managing their organization’s customer service operations, andspecifically contact centers. They speculate about where to invest and whichservice attributes to adjust. But there is a downside to this guesswork approach.In the rapidly changing service transformation industry, pulling one lever too farmight result in an unexpectedly negative impact to customer satisfaction—onethat is hard to recover from and may result in churn.In 2012, Accenture conducted primary customer tolerance research to provideinsight into the pivotal question about how much customers will put up withbefore loyalty slips—and what organizations can do to effectively recover fromservice failures.With this groundbreaking research, customer service executives can stop relyingon hunches. Instead they can understand the factors behind customer toleranceand make data-driven decisions about which service attributes to emphasize,such as first call resolution, overall wait time, overall handle experience,number of handoffs or offer effectiveness. The research results can also helporganizations to identify industry-specific issues that trigger customers to call infor service, such as billing issues or incorrect reservations. With this knowledge,companies can proactively apply the correct service recovery tactics to maintaincustomer loyalty.Finding the right balance of these two critical service elements can directlyimpact an organization’s ability to increase satisfaction, improve retention, andultimately optimize the customer experience. In time, this action can also drivegrowth since the customer base will be more stable.Page 1
  3. 3. In the rapidly changing customer service These attributes were: Customer Toleranceindustry, organizations are challenged dailywith making the right customer service • First call resolution (FCR) rate—to a Multi-Dimensional determine how much customers valuetradeoffs to balance service levels with resolving their issue when they first Characteristiccustomer care costs. Should customer initiate contact via a phone call versusservice executives invest in an interactive Customer tolerance is a critical calling in multiple times.voice response (IVR) system to quickly • Overall wait time—to determine the area for an organization’s customeridentify customer problems and routeaccordingly? Should they increase customer impact of putting a customer on hold one service function to understand.service representative staffing to reduce minute, three minutes or five minutes Accenture defines customercall wait time? Or should they modify their before speaking with a customer service tolerance as a three-dimensionalorganization, processes and technology to representative, and the point beyond characteristic that describes:allow the first contact customer service which customer frustration rises.representative to complete resolution • Overall handle experience—to determine • The ability of a company to recoverwithout handoffs? which factors most contribute to from a service failure.To address questions like these and better customers losing patience, such as • The impact of complex serviceunderstand the nuances around customer handing them off to another customer service representative or putting them on trade-off choices on customertolerance, Accenture conducted primary hold during resolution. retention.research in January 2012 in the UnitedStates and Mexico. The Internet survey • Number of handoffs—to determine how • The impact of service experiencewas designed to test tolerance across three many handoffs are acceptable before on customer satisfaction.dimensions (see sidebar “Customer Tolerance satisfaction lapses.a Multi-Dimensional Characteristic”) and • Offer effectiveness—when a problemthereby to infer the critical service elements cannot be resolved, to determinethat most impact tolerance across five key if an organization can atone for aindustries. These industries were gas and service issue by offering the customerelectric utilities, retail banking/financial something of providers, telecommunicationsproviders, consumer goods retailers, and In total, 1,510 customers responded totravel and tourism providers. the Accenture survey—1,000 customersThe survey asked questions around customer from the US, and 510 customers fromsatisfaction and required respondents to Mexico. The results provide data-drivenassign points in a series of paired comparison substantiation of customer tolerance levelstests. The survey also presented respondents around specific attributes of the servicewith scenarios that tested trade-offs that experience.customers make in a complex service Customer service executives can use thissituation, and then measured the impact of research to make more informed decisionsvariations on five key service attributes to to help drive an optimal experience foroverall customer loyalty. customers, while cost effectively managing the complexity of their customer service operations and maximizing the productivity of customer service representatives. Page 2
  4. 4. Key Findings from Finding 1: Recovering from values. Possible interventions include discounts, fee waivers, special benefits, or Service Issues or Failuresthe 2012 Customer The Accenture survey results showed other complementary products or services. Although these negative and positiveTolerance Research that prompt issue resolution was the recommended way to recover from a data patterns were consistent across the industries surveyed, the best recoveryAnalysis of multiple data points in the service issue and retain a customer’s offers should be tailored to the serviceAccenture 2012 Customer Tolerance business. In fact, survey respondents across context and industry. An interventionResearch revealed specific insights in three all industries indicated they had a very low that works for one organization may notareas related to how organizations can tolerance for delays and lapses in service necessarily work for another.improve the customer experience. These resolution. However, when the resolutionfindings were: process caused some aggravation to the It is important for customer service customer or the issue could not be resolved, executives to note that the Accenture• Companies can recover from service research tested generalized service triggers, issues or failures if resolved quickly and the Accenture survey results showed that organizations could still make interventions defined as reasons customers call for appropriately with an offer valued by the support, by industry. While the results customer. to recover from a service failure. provide clear indicators on which actions• Customers want first call resolution; To illustrate this finding, in one scenario are effective to respond to a service failure however, wait times that are longer than tested in the survey a hypothetical gas and which will only exacerbate the issue, it three minutes quickly outweigh first call and electric utility risked customer churn is imperative for organizations to identify resolution benefits. of 70 percent when the customer service the specific service triggers for their representative indicated they could not industry, and product or service lines.• Customers are willing to be transferred reverse overcharges on a customer’s once to resolve a problem, but satisfaction With these defined service triggers, an monthly bill. Conversely, the same declines rapidly if they experience organization can then decide how to solve organization recovered nearly 60 percent additional transfers or other hassles. the most common customer problems. of customer satisfaction when a customer service representative acknowledged the Most likely this will require establishingThe sections below take a deeper look at problem, corrected the statement for the new processes to give the contact centerthe data points to help customer service next billing cycle and offered a five percent clear ownership in resolving the issues. Itexecutives make more informed decisions discount on the next bill (see Figure 1). will also be necessary to equip customerabout which service attribute levers to service representatives with offers thatadjust—and why. As this example shows, organizations are valuable to a customer base. To design can salvage customer relationships by these offers, organizations can use direct providing a relevant and effective offer customer input as well as customer that the particular customer segment segmentation to articulate customer priorities, values and propensities.Figure 1: Companies Can Reduce Churn by Offering Something the Customer ValuesGas and Electric UtilitiesReceived the correct monthly bill and Billing department says there is nothing You get through to a rep who can correcthave no need to contact the company they can do and you are required to pay your statement the next billing cycle. For the quoted amount the inconvenience, the agent offers a 5% Overcharged on discount on your bill for that month your monthly bill 84% 70% 11% 9% 67%Accenture 2012 Customer Tolerance ResearchPage 3
  5. 5. In addition, organizations will need to Across all industries, results showed that However, when wait time exceeded theweigh the financial costs of the offers customer satisfaction was definitely in three minute margin, and particularly ifand determine how much they are willing peril if the call wait time went beyond it involved being put on hold or beingto spend to retain customer loyalty. For three minutes. Given this finding, transferred multiple times, the surveyexample, if customers call a mobile phone organizations should generally strive to showed that customer loyalty declined 18provider about an incorrect bill, a company connect customers in three minutes or less percent with a five minute wait time but nomust decide if it can feasibly offer a free to customer service representatives who transfer, and 29 percent with a five minuteservice or a discount on the next bill can fully resolve their requests. Regionally, wait time and a transfer—even if customerswithout cutting too deeply into revenues. Mexican customers showed a slight received first call resolution (see Figure 2). variation, indicating they were more willing The message from customers was clear. to trade off first call resolution for shorterFinding 2: Limiting Wait wait times if the wait was limited to one to If companies make them wait, it betterTime to Three Minutes three minutes. be for a valid reason, namely connecting them to experienced customer serviceAccording to the Accenture survey, To illustrate these findings further, in a representatives who can take care of theirwhen customers initiated contact with scenario comparing the optimum balance requests. In fact, according to recenta company, they placed a high priority between wait time, transfer, put on hold Accenture consumer research, one of theon having their issues resolved on the and first call resolution, the results showed service characteristics that customersfirst call. This finding was tempered, that customers of a hypothetical financial value most was being able to talk withhowever, by a corresponding statistic service provider were reasonably tolerant knowledgeable, well-trained and politeindicating customers did not want to wait (56 percent) of wait times of up to three customer service representatives. And morean extended period of time to speak to a minutes as long as they resolved their issue than one-third (36 percent) of customerscustomer service representative. on the first call, and were not put on hold cited a lack of knowledgeable customer or transferred to another customer service service representatives as a top reason to representative. switch providers.1Figure 2: Organizations Face Trade-offs in Balancing First Call Resolution with Wait TimeRetail Banking/Financial Services ProvidersWould definitely want to do businesswith that company Overall US Mexico FCR vs “Wait Time” trade-off FCR vs “Wait Time” trade-off 89% 73% 56% 41% 39% 41% 38% 27% 21% 22% Scenario 12% 14% Elements Wait time Least Least Least Least Escalated Escalated Escalated Escalated Escalated Escalated Escalated Escalated (1 min) (1 min) (1 min) (1 min) to 3 min to 3 min to 3 min to 3 min to 5 min to 5 min to 5 min to 5 min Transferred/ No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No Put on hold Call First call First call Follow Follow First call First call Follow Follow First call First call Follow Follow resolution up call up call up call up call up call up callAccenture 2012 Customer Tolerance Research Page 4
  6. 6. Additional survey results of interest marginal customer satisfaction may not to each subsequent customer serviceincluded the findings that 1) there were be worth it to some organizations if they representative. Instead they prefer tono tangible benefits to connecting have to spend considerable funds. Likewise, have customer service representativescustomers in less than one minute unless a an organization may determine that know their history based on informationcustomer service representative answered attempting to answer customer calls in less previously provided.2 Multiple transfers canimmediately upon the first ring, and 2) in all than one minute is not a tradeoff they wish also increase overall wait time and furthercases, being transferred or put on hold did to make in terms of budget and resources. degrade the customer experience.not make a difference if a customer did not To make wise use of the one transfer limit,receive first call resolution. Finding 3: Reducing Multiple organizations should reevaluate theirWith this data as a guide, organizations Transfers and Other Hassles handoff processes and consider wayscan assign a monetary figure on retained to route calls more efficiently, prepare According to the Accenture surveysatisfaction and make more calculated successive customer service representatives respondents, being transferred once haddecisions about additional technology or with the customer history or smooth the a relatively low impact on satisfaction,operational investments in the contact transfer process using computer telephony but multiple transfers led to a significantcenter or other service channels, such as integration. Another option is to reorganize decline in satisfaction. One likelyWeb, chat or IVR. Setting a service level the contact center into groups or tiers reason for this drop is a correlatedrequirement to resolve customer inquiries in with customer service representatives who finding that customers dislike havingless than five minutes without any transfers specialize in handling common customer to repeat information about their issueor holds to gain a 22 percent increase in inquiries.Figure 3: Transferring Customers Can have a Marked Impact on Customer SatisfactionResults based on: Gas and Electric UtilitiesSatisfaction with companies respondents Retail Banking/Financial Services Providerscurrently do business with Telecommunications Providers“very satisfied” used in analysis Consumer Goods Retailers Travel and Tourism Providers 69% 70% Average 64% 63% 61% 63% 60% 58% 62% 59% 59% 58% 52% 54% 51% 47% 38% 37%No Yes, Once Yes, more than onceAccenture 2012 Customer Tolerance ResearchPage 5
  7. 7. In terms of industry variations, the representatives, empowering them to One way to acquire a detailed, fact-basedcustomer tolerance results related to be customer advocates who can resolve understanding of customer intentions is tobeing transferred were most distinct in the problems without handoffs. To achieve leverage analytics based on demographic,telecommunications and utilities industries. this, companies may need to rethink their behavioral and retention data. CompaniesThe sharpest decline happened in the organizational construct, or facilitate can use this multi-dimensional analysis ingas and electric utility industry, in which access to knowledge management systems novel ways to monitor individual customercustomers indicated satisfaction of 63 that make it easier for customer service inquiry histories, as well as to identifypercent if not transferred during a call, all representatives to handle more contact churn “hot spots” related to specificthe way down to 37 percent if transferred types. In some cases, regulations will service triggers and the correct retentionmore than once (see Figure 3). The impact prohibit companies from making these treatments.3of factors such as first call resolution, wait changes.time and being put on hold on customer Organizations also need to understandsatisfaction were also more pronounced in customers’ expectations when they havethese industries. multiple inquiries within a single contact.Yet another way that organizations can Based on how related the customers believeminimize transfers is to reconfigure the inquiries to be, they may be more ortheir customer care processes to less tolerant of being transferred to anotherretain first contact customer service team to resolve the subsequent inquiries. Page 6
  8. 8. Interpreting Customer put on hold. Roughly half preferred a Additionally, being put on hold had one minute wait time, tapering off to an impact on customer tolerance.Tolerance by Industry 45 percent or less for a three to five Across the five industries surveyed,Accenture collected and analyzed minute wait time. the data showed slight declinesdata by five industries—travel and in satisfaction for being put on In reality, consumers make moretourism, consumer goods retailer, hold once. If put on hold more complex assessments of theirtelecommunications provider, retail than once, the decline became tolerance with specific customerbanking/financial services provider, more pronounced with the most service issues. However, a fewand gas and electric utilities. tolerance still being shown for spikes in the industry data stand travel and tourism providers, andOverall, the patterns were out. For instance, in the gas and the biggest decline of 17 percent forremarkably consistent across all five electric utility industry, first call telecommunications, suggesting that these resolution could always overcomewere general patterns of consumer longer wait times, or instances ofmindset that did not vary much by being put on hold or transferred.the circumstance of industry type. According to survey results, positiveIn all cases, the majority (66 percent reactions were lower (25 percent)and more) of customers preferred for first call resolution with a five-first call resolution. Fifty-one minute wait time, then a transfer,percent or more across all industries than for non-first call resolutionpreferred not to be transferred or with just a one minute wait time and no transfer (37 percent).Page 7
  9. 9. Applying Findings in 2. Align processes to strategy 4. Align individual and team and ensure processes are performance measures andYour Organization consistently followed goals with the strategyWhat can your organization do to optimize • Define and improve customer care • Introduce balanced scorecards tocustomer service while controlling processes. Review existing customer care hold customer service representativesoperational costs? In truth, every company processes and eliminate wasted steps. accountable and avoid over-indexing onis unique, and must identify and understand one metric. • Help customer service representatives tothe key tolerance inflection points for follow refined processes consistently. • Make sure customer service executivestheir specific customers. Once this step is • Tie quality management processes can effectively coach customer servicecompleted, you can then make informed to performance measurements to representatives. Conduct targeteddecisions for your customer service help ensure consistent application training for new and establishedorganization that effectively balances and compliance to processes and customer service representatives to helpwhat is good for your customers and your improvement. ensure customer expectations, servicecompany. levels and budgets are met.To get started, Accenture recommends thefollowing steps to help your organization 3. Align organization to • Measure and reward customer service executives based on the performancestrike that balance through an overarching strategy and goals, and of their teams. Define clear metrics andservice strategy that optimizes each area to manage staffing to address goals, and reward using performance-maintain customer loyalty: the goals based compensation practices. • Determine roles to handle contacts and1. Define strategy and goals— assign responsibilities. Define required 5. Continually monitorand stick to them competencies, behaviors and skills for customer expectations and• Understand customer priorities and each role and leverage this in the hiring process to target candidates with the the ability of the organization expectations. Define desired customer experiences within these parameters best chance of success in the role. to meet them while considering how customer- • Forecast contact volumes, taking events • Build robust capabilities around customer centric decisions may impact operations into consideration. analytics by implementing speech (e.g., customer service representative analytics, text analytics, root cause • Monitor status of queues in real time to productivity, engagement or attrition). analysis, voice of the customer responses, keep wait times, handle times and service balanced performance metrics or cross-• Quantify the possible operating costs levels in check. Watch transfer rates to channel analytics. and savings of adjusting different service understand where transferred calls are attributes, such as wait time, handle time going and why. • Assign a dedicated team to conduct or number of handoffs. ongoing analytics, examine trends, • Make immediate and long-term identify root causes of customer contact.• Make sure leadership demonstrates adjustments to staffing levels to address Determine how to eliminate or handle ongoing commitment to organizational service level goals. issues more efficiently. decisions to help prevent the occasional • Measure and respond to forecasting customer complaint from derailing the Following these steps and using the and scheduling accuracy to allow for overarching service strategy. findings from the Accenture 2012 course correction as needed (e.g., plan for recurring events, adjust training Customer Tolerance research can help your schedules to handle unexpected events, organization achieve the optimal balance— get ahead of hiring). one that delivers a positive experience to your customers, more effectively manages customer service operations and improves your customer service representatives’ productivity. Page 8
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  11. 11. Guiding Customer Service Improvements for Clients References 1. Accenture Global Consumer Research, 2011Accenture helped a communications representatives and supervisors. 2. Accenture Global Consumer Research, 2011company to cut costs and improve The scorecards helped the company 3. Maximizing Customer Retention: A Strategicthe customer experience through to evaluate customer service Approach to Effective Churn Management,a 36-month customer care representatives’ interactions with Accenture, 2011.transformation. The strategic customers and measure adherence toplan included a national customer defined organization design, skill In a short period of time, Accenturerationalization and site consolidation, improved yield by nearly 400 minutesand updated telephony and routing per customer service representativeinfrastructure. The plan also refined and resolution rates by 200-300 basisthe company’s transfers and repeat points, which equated to more thanprogram, and customer call handling US$7 million in value. The companyprocesses. also deployed new call handlingFor workforce management, flows for the 24 top call drivers andAccenture introduced performance reduced internal cost per handledscorecards integrated with a variable minute by 7 program and incentives forapproximately 6,500 customer careAccenture conducted a contact • Update knowledge managementcenter assessment to help a North system content and navigationAmerican energy provider reduce to increase access to knowledge.customer wait times and drive • Promote self-service optionsmore consistency into its customer on calls.service experience. Based on theassessment, Accenture identified • Implement clear leadershipquick hit and longer-term changes responsibilities for coachingthe utility could make to improve customer service representatives.customer service representative • Institute a long-range forecastmanagement and customer care and capacity plan.processes. By focusing on the outlinedRecommendations for initiatives, Accenture projectedimprovements included: the energy provider would be able• Implement a customer-objective- to reduce their total annual call focused call control program, minutes handled by 15% while streamline call handling processes improving service level goals. to remove unnecessary steps and implement a warm transfer policy. Page 10
  12. 12. Contact Us About Sales & Customer About AccentureTo learn more about the Accenture 2012 Services Accenture is a global managementCustomer Tolerance research or to discuss Sales & Customer Services helps companies consulting, technology services andways to optimize the customer experience acquire, develop and retain more profitable outsourcing company, with 257,000in your organization, contact customer relationships. We offer a broad people serving clients in more thanStephanie Helland at range of innovative capabilities that address 120 countries. Combining every aspect of the customer experience, experience, comprehensive capabilities including pricing strategy and profitability across all industries and business functions, assessment, customer analytics, direct and and extensive research on the world’s indirect sales force execution, customer most successful companies, Accenture service, field support, customer contact collaborates with clients to help them operations, and retail/branch operations. become high-performance businesses and We use these combinations of skills to help governments. The company generated net our clients accelerate growth, improve sales revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal productivity and reduce customer-care year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is costs—helping increase the value of their customer relationships and enhancing the economic value of their brands.Copyright © 2012 AccentureAll rights reserved.Accenture, its logo, andHigh Performance Deliveredare trademarks of Accenture.This document is produced by consultants at Accentureas general guidance. It is not intended to provide specificadvice on your circumstances. If you require advice orfurther details on any matters referred to, please contactyour Accenture representative. mc341