Analytics alone won’t improve your customer experience – introducing The Cortex

Analytics alone won’t improve your customer experience – introducing The Cortex

As digitalisation continues to shape the way we live and work, data is one of the most valuable assets to businesses and organisations today; and unlocking the value of this data is key to providing positive customer experiences and remaining relevant and competitive. As businesses continue to produce increasing amounts of data each year – according to IDC, 175 zettabytes of data will be generated annually by 2025 – being able to analyse and, in turn, unlock the true value of data is indispensable to driving success, especially in an environment such as the contact centre.

Analytics alone, however, will not fuel business improvement. In a bid to use data and analytics to provide real business intelligence, Merchants have developed the Cortex. This set of support services, named after the area of the brain responsible for thinking and processing information from all five senses, enables businesses to simultaneously reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase revenue and deliver exceptional customer experiences. The Cortex is broken down into three solutions (offered as Solutions as a Service) that work together to ensure the contact centre is constantly evolving to secure future relevance: Workforce Management (WFM), Quality Management (QM) and Analytics solutions.

Workforce Management – proactive workforce planning and maximised productivity levels

Couple a challenging economic climate with the fact that most industries are in the throes of rapid digital evolution, and it is a little wonder that reducing costs and driving efficiencies is on top of every executive’s wish list. A large percentage of contact centres are still not making use of solutions aimed at maximising workforce efficiency, even though global research indicates that efficient service plays a pivotal role in a customer’s overall level of satisfaction.

Using data-led insights, an effective Workforce Management system will optimise productivity in the following ways:

  • Ensure the contact centre has the right amount of staff at any given time and for any given period. 
  • Maximise staff productivity levels, which assists in cost saving.
  • Assist with proactive workforce planning and mitigate challenges presented by political, economic and environmental impacts. 
  • Seamlessly manage an omni-channel environment to ensure maximum efficiency.

For one client in particular, the implementation of WFM solutions lead to an overall improvement of average handling time in the contact centre across multiple lines of business, resulting in an opportunity value of R5,7 million that could be realised by the client.

Quality Management – optimised customer experience across all brand touchpoints

Effective Quality Management (QM) is about creating the perfect synergy between the people, products, processes and technology in a business. The goal of QM is to optimise the customer’s experience when interacting with a business through various brand touch points that are designed to create opportunities to attract new customers, deliver services or to resolve service delivery failures, across the customer contact centre and digital channels.

The way businesses interact with their customers to solve their needs against expectations will determine customer loyalty – a key objective for many businesses. If the creation and maintenance of customer loyalty is indeed an objective, then a business’ QM system must provide insights that allow for continuous improvement across touchpoint interactions with customers.

The QM solution looks to guide the hands and feet of the contact centre towards the achievement of both customer and business objectives, for example, through the use of insights collected from listening in on customer interactions.

The cost of interacting with customers is expensive; Merchants realises that it is therefore imperative that every interaction results in either:

  • Reducing the need for the interaction by addressing the root cause of the customer’s issue, resulting in new opportunities that can be presented to customers.
  • Reducing the interaction time, allowing the contact centre agent to essentially do more with less by focusing on an operational improvement plan that ‘’saves seconds” by reducing the effort to resolve customer needs through the use of engaged staff that are able to win the customer’s trust. As an example, Merchants SA achieved a 20% reduction in average handling time for an insurance client by using the quality outcomes to improve customer interactions. 
  • Improving the contact centre agent’s ability to communicate effectively at all touch points throughout the customer journey, resulting in setting clear expectations and meeting customer needs effectively. As an example, Merchants SA achieved a 40% improvement in quality outcomes for a financial services client, which impacted the overall customer satisfaction feedback scoring.

The Cortex offering not only gives an in-depth view on agent performance, but provides insights on how to improve a business’ products, processes and technology beyond the contact centre, which results in the business delivering an outstanding overall customer experience.

Analytics – translating data into actionable improvement opportunities

Businesses need to know what their customers are saying, and the analytics solutions within the Cortex aim to use the best technology to deliver real-time business insights about the brand, trends, products, costs and revenue drivers. By analysing all multi-channel interactions – including voice, email and social media – Merchants is able translate the data into actionable improvement opportunities for the business.

Contact centres create and deliver reams of data each day. By delivering accurate, granular and unbiased findings across all channels, Merchants allows its clients to use the data to identify important success factors, such as brand insights, cost and revenue drivers, fraud, trends, and process and product strengths and weaknesses.

The analytics service offering has been successful in identifying the following return on investment opportunities for Merchants SA clients:

  • For a financial services client who was migrating their card portfolio’s voice channel, the solution was used to detect negative social media threats. This enabled the contact centre agents to reach out to customers proactively, and mitigate any negative impact. 
  • The quality enhancement product was used to analyse 100% of call volumes for one client, which provided objective insight into pain points or issues, and was then utilised to improve coaching conversations with contact centre agents. This resulted in a 15% improvement on soft skills among the team.
  • Improved inbound sales results were achieved for a client when the solution was used to analyse call data to better understand customer objections.  The findings were used for agent coaching and scripting and the result was a 23% increase in new product conversion rates.

Deployed as a solution as a service, the data analytics solution has already identified opportunities for Merchants SA clients, providing them with insights related to:

  • Reduction in sales verification processes by using analytics to confirm the successful achievement of a sales opportunity that complies with all the required compliance requirements being met.
  • Identification of client satisfaction and dissatisfaction drivers across all interactions, providing specific input that supports identification of areas that result in positive outcomes that can be achieved.

As a whole, the Cortex works by analysing contact volumes to determine the right number of people to be deployed in the contact centre at any time to meet a business’ customer interaction requirements. This data is then matched with the outcomes of the QM and Data Analytics insights that provide root cause analysis to improve the customer experience by resolving issues on the first contact from a customer, or to create a revenue generating opportunity for the business.

Merchants is the first and only Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider in the country to be complaint with ISO 18295. The standard specifies service requirements for customer contact centres and aims to assist in providing clients and customers with services that continuously and proactively meet or exceed their needs. This commitment to improving the customer experience is key in improving business performance, and the Cortex can enable your business with the required insights to unlock opportunity value and provide positive customer experiences, ensuring your business remains relevant and competitive.

Find out more about the Cortex today.