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Framework for Actionable Customer Analytics : Q&A with the Experts

Customer care pressures are continually pushing analytics to next-level, with adopters reaping the results. As just one recent proof point of the real outcomes analytics can drive: HGS recently employed analytics to reduce costs, for one client, by $1 million during the company’s challenging open enrollment fluctuation.

This is the new reality, as supported by research. In fact, according to Gartner, 89 percent of companies plan to compete on customer experience in 2016, but only 8% of customers think companies are actually doing a good job today. Attendees at the December 9 HGS webinar “Framework for Actionable Customer Analytics” gleaned new insights from Everest Group expert Katrina Menzigian, VP, Research Relations and Parikshit Kalra, HGS SVP, Solutions and Capabilities on what makes customer analytics actionable. From trends shaping CX management to optimal customer analytics adoption and launch, our experts addressed several challenges and opportunities.

Framework for Actionable Customer Analytics

Increasingly organizations are finding the benefits and applications of customer analytics including:

  • Increased conversions of online sales
  • Intelligent agent support applications
  • Consistent multi-channel customer experience
  • Sales support through video chat
  • Enhanced self-service portals
  • Effective social media monitoring and responses
  • Closed-loop real-time customer satisfaction surveys

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As part of the webinar, HGS conducted of a poll, “What challenges are you experiencing in implementing analytics?”

The majority of our attendees, 61 percent, stated “an immature internal data environment,” with a tie for second place: 39 percent responding “lack of roadmap” and 39 percent citing a shortage of analytics and social medial skills. Additionally, 26 percent referenced stakeholder alignment and 22 percent cited channel integration.

Here’s a summary of the Q&A at the webinar’s conclusion:

Q1: Analytics requires specialized technological capabilities. In your experience, are service providers building out on their own (through proprietary applications) or using commercially available software?

K A: It’s a little bit of both. Some providers have strength and background in analytics, maybe as part of the organizational skill set in building and designing and applying those to their analytics challenges. Others are looking for best-in-breed analytics capabilities and are working those into solutions they present to clients. But, the question buyers need to ask is how does the service provider perceive the challenges and how do they bring the tools to those challenges? Is the service provider creating analytics tool sets and platforms intending to tackle certain kinds of challenges in customer care? The provider may bring together a combination of proprietary and off-the-shelf technology they integrate to create best-in-breed practices based on their perception of how to do this most effectively and this becomes their own brand of how to use technology to adjust analytics.

PK A: This is where a lot of organizations get hung up. Many first invest in a tool and then check its use. I think it’s very important to see if the tool we’re investing in is for one-time use or something that can be used on an ongoing basis. Some of the tools I shared are not tools that have to be built by you, because there is a lot of really good off-the-shelf technology built by companies that may not specialize in extracting data but specialize in building tools. You need to have the right skills to use the tools beyond just at the clicking a button or purchasing a license – this is what a lot of vendors are moving toward.

Q2: How does the maturity of customer analytics adoption vary by industry?

K A: The issue isn’t much about maturity. It’s more about the application. There are different kinds of analytics challenges faced by different industries. One challenge everybody faces is channel integration related to analytics or social media analytics. For example, the analytics that comes from regulated interactions in the healthcare industry are subject to stringent regulations that create the requirement for a certain kind of data. The question becomes, how do you use this kind of data?

In comparison, retail as an industry is less standardized or less mature. The nature of the data in this industry is different. It’s more about customer behavior patterns and how long a customer is doing business with your company and what kind of history they have. This data is not always well captured in retail because it is not regulated and every company’s style of interacting with their customers differs.

Q3: Our organization is struggling to identify first steps in building our analytics program. Any advice?

PK A: It’s about how much of an investment are you ready to make. Is analytics something that is a necessity now or is it more of a long-term future project? For example, healthcare or financial services companies may find that analytics is an immediate necessity. What is the driver of your analytics investment today? Is the need driven more by the desire for information or because you need to mitigate risks? It is also important to look at either the cost of quality or cost of poor quality in the organization. Develop a business plan addressed to the right stakeholder or sponsor in the organization and assess how much the cost of quality or poor quality needs to be recouped or improved. What kind of investment is required? To bring in the right kind of skill set, people with a good mix of theoretical and practical experience is extremely important. Many organizations first invest in a tool and then see what needs to be done with it. You need to avoid all this by looking at the business need, the operational design, and getting the right stakeholders and sponsorship.

 

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