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Call Center Week: How Analytics, “Personal Emotional Connection”, and Video Chat Can Help Improve Customer Experience Management

NelsonHall recently attended Call Center Week in Las Vegas. 2014 was the 15th year of this event, which had 1,800 attendees and 120 booths. It’s hot in Las Vegas in June - and the event covered some hot topics!

Using Analytics to Improve CSAT

I participated in two well attended sessions on analytics, which took different approaches to the same topic.

The session sponsored by TeleTech took the form of a workshop on understanding drivers and how to extract and make big data actionable to improve CSAT and increase revenue. Companies using contact centers discussed their pain points and were given guidance on how to utilize analytics tools as solutions. This was thus based on actionable points - some audience members took photos of some of the slides, so impatient were they to receive the deck.

The session sponsored by Convergys session was a presentation by a client, Comcast. Graham Tutton, VP of Customer Insights at Comcast shared how things were not pretty from a CSAT perspective when he joined the company in 2011. Tutton has been a part of a turnaround initiative and shared how Comcast looked to other industries for guidance and is learning from the actions of companies such as Southwest Airlines, Zappos,, L.L. Bean, Westin, Harrah’s, and Nordstrom. Comcast has been working with Convergys to conduct and analyze 11m customer feedback surveys annually. The surveys, conducted primarily through phone/IVR with a few through email, revealed that the major issues were in its ordering process, account management and the repair process. Comcast also found it was under-utilizing the internet for its onboarding process; now it is better utilizing this channel, it has seen reduced customer churn. Its CEO and execs from each region have been riding in company trucks and taking calls in the contact center in an effort to uncover changes that are needed. The contact center is pivotal as it is where issues created by sales, marketing, network, product care, and technical operations are often resolved. Comcast has now developed CSAT metrics for these areas of the company and tied these metrics to employee bonuses. It was encouraging to see the cross-industry learning, increased channel usage, and senior exec involvement applied to this key initiative to improve the customer experience.

How the "Pursuit of Happyness" Can Support a Business Model

Jenn Lim of Zappos, now part of, was the keynote speaker. She discussed being involved in the creation of Zappos and how happiness (both employee and customer) can be used to support a business model. Personal Emotional Connection (PEC) with customers is a focus at Zappos - it does not use call-time KPIs or scripts. The longest call an agent had with a customer was 10 hours and it resulted in a $49 order of shoes – somewhat amazingly, this is alright with Zappos because it is aligned with the culture where PEC is a priority. Zappos hires and fires based on culture and skills, with a 50/50 split between the two. At the end of the first year of employment, an offer of $4,000 is made to employees to quit. This has been done because the company wants employees to align with its values and culture. She claims this has actually saved the company money because the financial offer is rarely accepted by employees, and it has reduced the cost of employee turnover. Zappos wants its employees to “be themselves” by showing their creative, fun, and even weird sides.

Video Chat: How it Can Help Drive More Business in Specialist Retail

Doug Sash, SVP, Customer Experience for Experian, and Rich Brecht, Executive Leader, Contact Center and Retail Operations for J&P Cycles, led a discussion about the use of video chat.

J&P Cycles decided to use video chat because it only has two show rooms and is able to broaden its customer care. It currently has a virtual agent counter using voice and web chat, but is on the verge of moving to video chat. With the use of video chat, agents will be able to select parts for motorcycles in its customers’ garages. Its agents are particularly well qualified to do this, as they are primarily keen former motorcyclists. J&P sees several challenges in being a pioneer in using video chat, including how the videos will be stored and the size of the files. It is using one-way video initially, until its customers are ready to use the channel. J&P is using an Interact IQ platform. AHT is not a focus for J&P: its calls average ten minutes because of their technical nature. It expects video chat will reduce AHT but this is not a priority: rather it wants to drive more customers to its website. It has 170k products and customers need help navigating the website; the use of video chat should support agents in doing this, also in cross-selling other products.

Experian, being in the financial services industry, has to comply with many regulations, so video chat is several years out, though it is following the video chat usage of companies such as J&P in other industries with interest. 

Video chat, a new kid on the multi-channel block, is particularly well suited for specialist retailers like J&P (and the consumer electronic sector) that have high value goods and/or a complex product catalog. It provides the potential to increase sales by supporting customers on website navigation and cross-selling. Expect to see some innovative applications of video chat in other sectors as well as this channel evolves.

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