The arrival of the pandemic had a dramatic impact on credit card usage. For one credit card company, contact center volumes not only dropped by 20%, the type of calls changed. To continue to deliver world-class customer service, the client was forced to shift from in-office to work-at-home operations despite compliance and security reservations. Combining speech analytics with work-at-home execution provided the client with uninterrupted service and security compliance for the client’s customers, as well as an NPS® increase from 67% to 70%.
The client is an American financial services giant operating one of the world’s top five credit card networks. The company offers multiple tiers of cards to consumers, small businesses, and corporations and supports those customers through a network of 10 business process outsourcers (BPOs). The client turned to HGS in 2001 to provide inbound, 24/7/365 customer care to its US cardholders. From Philippines (Manila, Iloilo City), US (El Paso), and work-at-home locations, a team of 550 HGS agents now handles voice-based balance and fee inquiries, disputes, payments, replacement cards, activations, renewals, and rewards.
Customers choose this card for its prestige. Loyalty and satisfaction are a key focus. So, when payment-related calls increased during the pandemic and new card activations decreased, the client had to fully understand how and why customer behaviors had shifted.
Prior to the pandemic, all customer service agents worked in highly-secure office environments. The concept of working from home was entirely new. Facilitating the agent work-at-home migration required major operational and technological changes.
Payment card industry data security standards (PCI-DSS) were ongoing concerns in early 2020, particularly as government officials warned of increased malicious cyberactivity. With a widened organizational attack surface and agents handling personal data at home, the client was understandably nervous.
Internal and external applications of a speech analytics tool, Nexidia, addressed the client’s concerns about agent work-at-home security and customer satisfaction during the pandemic.
- Speech analytics for privacy, security, and compliance: To facilitate work-at-home, the client first needed to upgrade several contact center systems. Once updated, HGS supplied employees with WebEx, webcams, training, new policies and procedures, two-factor authentication, and more to ensure a consistently high level of compliance, privacy, and security. Many of these items were new. Combining speech analytics with webcam audits ensured agent adherence, data security, satisfaction, and home-office hygiene (i.e., no paper, pens, cell phones, eavesdropping family members, etc.). Queries were also developed (e.g., background noise, disturbance in the line, muffled voice, sound is not clear) to evaluate technical aspects of home office configurations. Targeted support based on speech analytics findings made agents — and, in turn, customers — feel heard. Attrition and churn numbers decreased.
- Speech analytics for business continuity, agent health and safety, and agent reorganization: HGS business analysts created multiple Nexidia queries to understand COVID-driven customer sentiment and call-mix changes. Using carefully selected keyword search strings (e.g., COVID nineteen, pandemic, coronavirus, lockdown, relief plan), HGS analysts were able to share real-time voice of the customer data with decision makers.
Findings revealed that customers were calling about fee credits, loans, payment extensions and options, limit increases, disputes, and annual fee reductions. Normally these more complex inquiries represent 2‒3% of calls, but they increased to 16‒18% during COVID-19. This prompted HGS to assign some agents to alternate queues as everyone transitioned to work-at-home.
- Speech analytics for quality and customer satisfaction: The client uses Nexidia to better understand and serve its customers. Customer complaints are typically the focus of the queries. Findings led to improvements in training, coaching, and scripts, for example. The entire management team has access to speech analytics.
When agents started work-at-home, instead of relying on traditional quality and performance monitoring (i.e., retroactive call samples), HGS mined 100% of real-time interaction data. Using speech data enabled the team to make dozens of tweaks to the operational approach, to maintain service levels, and to improve customer satisfaction.
The pandemic brought much uncertainty, but speech analytics inspired confidence in decision making. Data helped the client to keep agents safe and to deliver excellent customer service.
- 0 days of downtime while migrating 75% of agents to work-at-home due to the pandemic; agents were never unavailable to address customer concerns
- 100% of service and quality levels achieved despite a reorganization to address volume shifts and agents’ own COVID-19 concerns
- 100% work-at-home agents monitored for security compliance with speech analytics
- +3% increase in NPS® despite a major shift in call types due to the pandemic
- 100% of real-time customer interactions reviewed with speech analytics to gauge satisfaction and learn from the voice of the customer (compared to the original approach of sampling ~20% of calls retroactively)
- #1 in first-call resolution among the client’s enterprise network of 10 BPOs due to effective use of speech analytics
- #1 fastest BPO (of 10 BPOs) to deploy work-at-home for this client; agents were migrated within 2 weeks of gaining the client approval, which was made possible through unique applications of speech analytics
- 3000 hours of overtime in one month to address calls that other enterprises in the network couldn’t handle; the network flexed and worked together to serve customers