According to our recent Customer Service Priorities Survey, one of companies’ top call center priorities for 2020 is capturing and analyzing data to find insights. If you work in a customer-centric organization, you’re probably being tasked with using customer data to enhance your customer experience. That’s because that most customer service departments now use CRMs to track interactions, and so customer service has become a data hub providing invaluable feedback to other areas of the business.

In this Part II of our story, we focus on metrics that can help contact centers deliver insights to other areas of the business.

Click here to read Part I of our story, How to Pull Insights from Your CRM – Operational Insights

Product Insights

The customer service team is in the lucky or unlucky position to be on the brand’s front line – lucky if you’re able to spot a crisis brewing in time to do something about it, unlucky when you must bear the brunt of irate customers. Here are a few ways to leverage metrics from your CRM to make you a hero to the product team:

  • Number Cases by Product – This shows how many contacts agents handled for each product over time.
  • Number Issues by Product – If agents handle multiple issues per contact, this metric would be a better way to track issues for each product over time.
  • Number Issues by Location – If you need to know how different locations are performing, this would be a metric you would want to track.

For more nuanced analysis, you could layer in additional details, such as:

  • Sentiment Tracking – A spike in contacts could reflect a defect or quality issue, or record response to a promotion. If you don’t have precise enough reason codes to differentiate between the two, you could drill down into the text of the conversation notes using sentiment tracking, or you could incorporate a post-contact satisfaction survey.
  • Operational Information – Layering in this data lets you normalize results. For instance, if you received 10 complaints each for Product A and Product B, you would think that both products had an equal dissatisfaction rate. But if you knew that you shipped 100 Product A’s and 1,000 Product B’s, then you would be able to see that the ratio of complaints was 10x higher on Product A than on Product B.

Insights in Action

One company’s call center noticed an influx of customer questions about whether its yogurt was gluten-free. By passing that insight on to the product team, they were able to make a packaging change that increased sales.

At another company, when customer service shared feedback on a spike in returns of certain bags, that gave the product team advance notice of a defect that would not have been discovered until physical inspection 6 weeks later.

Marketing Insights

Marketing teams have come to realize that customer service teams are sitting on a goldmine of precious data. But short of having marketers listen in on calls to capture a usable nugget, it can be difficult to share the customer service vantage. Here are some ways to leverage your CRM to systematically transfer knowledge that can be valuable to marketing:

  • Accumulated Goodwill – This lets you track how much you spend to counteract the impact from a negative experience.
  • Topic Cluster Analysis – Machine learning can analyze the language in agent notes to shed light on popular topics of inquiry or confusion.
  • Case Origin by Persona – Instead of tracking how many calls you get by product, try looking at how many calls you get from consumers matching a marketing persona for insights that can hone messaging and tailor more personalized products.

For more nuanced analysis, you could layer in additional details, such as:

  • Purchase Information – When you merge point-of-purchase data or customer purchases from your e-commerce system with your CRM, you can gain new insights:
    • Correlate the impact of promotions on purchases
    • Allocate more goodwill to high-value customers than to low-value customers
  • Rewards and Gift Cards – When you layer this data into your CRM, you can measure the effectiveness of various incentives.

Insights in Action

  • One company wanted to understand the impact from $5 gift cards that customer service was offering to people who called in with a complaint. By tying the gift card tracking numbers with point-of-purchase information, the marketing department discovered that each gift used resulted in an average of $20 in additional spend. This helped re-frame a $2 million expense into a $10 million revenue generator.
  • Are customers confused about the features of a product? Are they asking where they can buy it, and not able to find a nearby store? One company analyzed topic clusters from incoming queries to inform future communications, advertising, and distribution decisions.

Finance/Legal/Quality Insights

The legal, finance, and quality teams are usually tasked with responding to sensitive issues, and in fact have fiduciary responsibility to report on issues of public concern. Obviously, they have a vested interest in getting an early warning about issues that might be brewing. Some CRMs can establish guardrails that send automatic alerts when certain metrics rise above established thresholds, or transfer inquiries to finance, legal, and quality teams as appropriate. Here are some reports that can be helpful to these departments:

  • Escalations – If you have established processes to escalate certain types of questions or concerns to your legal, financial, or QA teams, tracking the number of escalations will give you a good understanding of frequency.
    • Tracking escalation by reason code, issue, product, or action can provide valuable greater detail on the types of issues a company is dealing with, and also early warning about previously unknown issues.
  • SLA Compliance – Most companies have Service Level Agreements (SLAs) that require customer service departments to respond to consumer inquiries within a reasonable amount of time: for instance, a response to an email within 48 hours, or a response to a chat within 30 minutes. An SLA Compliance report analyzes the difference between the time an inquiry was entered into the queue and the time it was accepted for work by an agent to track outliers to SLA compliance.
  • Goodwill – This metric gives the finance team visibility the goodwill being issued for financial planning. Read more: Goodwill Abuse: How Consumer Fraud Can Cost You Big

For more nuanced analysis, you could layer in additional details, such as:

  • Escheatment – Ever wonder what happens to those gift cards or checks that get lost or are simply never redeemed/cashed? Eventually, they are classified as abandoned, and depending on state law, you may have to “escheat” the unclaimed property to the government. By adding codes into your CRM, you can both make sure that you mail required communication to customers, and also run reports to sync data and match records with finance.

Insights in Action

  • One company built an escheatment process into their CRM system. They created goodwill codes, upload daily check cashing reports from the bank, automated the process for sending reminder letters to customers, and run reports regularly to share with finance. In fact, their finance team couldn’t find a better way to manage the process, and so all escheatment cases are now processed through the consumer relations department.
  • Another company used threshold monitoring in its CRM system to identify a quality issue very early on. After the problem turned into a recall issue, the company set up a chatbot on its website that allowed consumers to enter the UPC code of the product they purchased to see if they were impacted by the recall. Read more: Recall Management Best Practices

Customer Experience Insights

Quantifying the relationship between customer satisfaction and financial impact helps justify your customer experience (CX) investment, and gain attention and support from leaders and peers. Yet according to Gartner’s CX in Marketing Survey, more than 50% of companies don’t know the relationship between customer satisfaction and business impact.

For instance, if you improve the availability of customer support agents, you know how much it is going to cost. But will it improve the customer experience in a way that also has a positive impact on the business? Most companies aren’t measuring that.

When it comes to feeding insights to your CX team, consider the feedback provided by your customers as a boon – many more customers who feel the same way are in the silent majority. The best way to help support your CX initiatives is by combining customer sentiment with operational data to correlate the relationship between customer satisfaction and key business and financial results for your organization. Here are a few ways to use your CRM metrics to help your CX team prove the value of your initiatives:

  • Compare customer satisfaction scores tracked in your CRM (Net Promoter Scores, post-contact surveys, etc.) with retention rates (or churn)
  • Compare satisfaction scores to number of recommendations on social media or ratings and reviews
  • Compare satisfaction scores to number of complaints and product support cases
  • Understand the drivers of promotion or detraction through text analysis of your agent conversations, then compare changes in those drivers to changes in customer satisfaction scores

Insights in Action

One restaurant’s customer experience team layered in contacts by time of day data to create a heat map of when customers were contacting them. What they learned was that their busiest hours were Thursday and Friday evenings between 6 and 8 pm, when the contact center wasn’t even open. Shifting the contact center’s hours slightly would provide a much better customer experience.

Your CRM’s Contributions to Advanced Analytics

Today, artificial intelligence and machine learning are being employed to improve our understanding of interaction and intent across multiple communication channels. Many companies now have teams dedicated to the autonomous processing of data using sophisticated tools – solely for the purpose of discovering insights and making recommendations that enhance customer value. Customer service analytics should contribute to the centralized hub of customer data. Your CRM should be flexible enough to provide data the way you want it:

  1. Give you your raw data – This is best when you have a data warehouse and in-house expertise in building reports using a reporting tool (like Tableau or Power BI), and you want your data from your CRM to sync into your warehouse.
  2. Provide you with a data warehouse – This is best when you have in-house expertise in building reports, but need a data warehouse so that you can run your own reports.
  3. Provide you with automated reports – This is best when you don’t have a data warehouse or expertise in advanced tools, but want to run your own reports using a non-technical interface.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to assign a unique identifier to each consumer if you want to analyze data at the individual level without regard to the source. To comply with privacy laws, your CRM should also allow for personal information to be redacted or deleted for privacy without losing non-personally identifiable case history for analysis.

Insights in Action:

  • One company created a custom report in their CRM to map the dollar amount of claims submitted by state for a quick visual view, with the ability to click to drill down to details. Other companies have created similar views showing number of brands sold per state.
  • One company edits their CRM dashboard with various controls and filters, then exports the data into their own data warehouse for more advanced analysis with Tableau.

Today’s CRM systems leverage vast amounts of interaction, behavioral, and transaction data to empower agents to provide good customer experience and support customer interactions over a range of channels and stages of the customer journey. Analyzing that data helps the entire business deliver continuous improvement on experiences that add value to the customer and preserve the value of the company’s brand.

Connect with Astute for a demo of how a customer service-focused CRM can enhance operational efficiencies as well as contribute insights to all areas of your business. Let Astute help you establish analytics to support your KPIs, and benchmark your customer service performance across your industry to see how you stack up.