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How Analytics Can Improve Sales in the Contact Center

In the last post, we took a look at how to design contact center processes to benefit from analytics.

In this post, we’ll explore how cx analytics can be used to increase sales by matching caller intent to improve the customer experience.

As was pointed out in the last post, small data can be insightful and more quickly used to take action than trying to boil the ocean of data for incremental improvement to systemic issues that will collectively have a higher impact and return on investment. The point is that data will do nothing for you if it’s not distilled into insights that can drive action. Your approach to data is pivotal to the outcomes you can gain. The questions or hypothesis you pose to data are critical to the insights you uncover.

With inbound contact centers taking on a sales role for customer retention and increasing account spend, data analytics can play a key role in improving both revenues and the customer experience. The trick is in how you use the data to approach process improvements that lead to more relevant conversations based on the customer’s intent.

Because selling can be a major dis-satisfier, if done at the wrong time and in the wrong way, using data analysis to help agents respond to customer intent can help to improve the odds of creating a better experience. When selling can be received by customers as a magnanimous service, rather than a selfish promotion, customer loyalty becomes stronger.

Instead of focusing on the call type, as defined in the traditional workflow processes of the contact center, focus on the caller’s purpose. By doing so, companies will find that customer retention rates rise, along with lifetime customer value.

From our analysis of customer purpose in a variety of inbound call center situations, we’ve identified the following common set of three customer buying modes:

  • I know what I want.
    This customer has already done their research and knows exactly what he wants to buy. There is no selling needed. By acknowledging the customer’s intent and taking the order, the customer service representative (CSR) is helping the customer to get what they want in an efficient manner. This responsiveness cuts out unnecessary selling, shortens call time and results in the delivery of an experience the customer will value. Average conversions range from 65% to 85%.
  • I’m looking for advice.
    In this case, the customer is looking for guidance and information that will help them to make a decision about which product to buy. It is critical for the CSR to understand this intent quickly and ask the right questions to probe for customer needs. The outcome of the conversation is for the CSR to recommend the service that best fits the customer’s needs, while helping them to build the confidence to make the decision. Average conversions range from 20% to 30%.
  • I’m just collecting information.
    From a sales perspective, there is a big difference between a customer who is looking for advice and one simply collecting information. In this situation, the customer’s intent is not to buy, but to become better informed about a product or service they may be considering. The service experience is the priority. CSRs need to understand that pushing for the sale here will derail the experience because it pushes beyond the customer’s intent when they placed the call. The average conversion rates of 2% to 5% serve as evidence.

By using data analytics to discern customer buying modes, as well as indicators your CSRs can use to identify a customer’s intentions from the outset of the call, experiences delivered can result in higher customer loyalty. With this focus on matching the conversation to the intent, CSRs will also be able to earn the right to recommend other services that might also be useful or beneficial to the customer.

Rather than focusing mainly on the inside-out KPIs based on call center efficiency, it’s wise to incorporate analytics in a way that allows customers to achieve the purpose of their call in an efficient manner. The difference may be subtle, but the experience will be recognized and appreciated by your customers.