Vocalabs Newsletter: Quality Times


In This Issue

Vocalabs Teams with Listening Methods to Measure Self-Service Effectiveness

We've recently teamed with startup Listening Methods to give our clients some unique new tools for measuring and improving the effectiveness of speech and IVR systems.

Listening Methods' technology passively listens to customer calls and automatically tracks what happened during each call. For example: did the customer hit zero at the first prompt; did the customer get caught in a loop; were there multiple recognition errors during the call; or did the customer successfully use self-service.

Using this call-by-call data, we can categorize each customer's experience and target immediate in-depth follow-up interviews within a few minutes of the end of the call. This lets us select just the customers who had particular kinds of service experiences, and measure things like:

  • If a customer hangs up before completing a transaction, how often will the customer call a competitor instead and how much lost revenue does this represent?
  • What percentage of customers who "zero out" to an agent could be self-served, and why are they unwilling to try?
  • How much does a negative IVR experience impact top-level business metrics like customer satisfaction or Net Promoter?

Targeting the interviews means that we can answer these questions more cost-effectively and in more detail than with a broad-based customer survey, and the immediate follow-up lets us ask very specific questions about the customer's particular experience. Because the interviews are tied to specific customer experiences we can use this feedback to discover specific ways for our clients to streamline their processes, improve sales, reduce churn, and save money.

We recently published a joint whitepaper with Listening Methods, available for download on our website. This whitepaper outlines the Voice Self-Service Score, a methodology for using the statistical call-event data combined with targeted customer feedback to generate a numerical score for self-service effectiveness.

We're very excited about this, and please don't hesitate to contact us if you would like more information.

Simple is Hard

If you hang around user interface designers long enough, eventually you will hear the phrase "Simple is hard."

Designing an intuitive, easy to use system is surprisingly difficult. Under the surface, today's technology is overwhelmingly complex. The only reason mere humans can use something like, say, an iPhone, is because almost all the complexity is hidden by the user interface.

To make this appear simple, the user interface designer has to figure out how to communicate all the functions to the user (or at least the important ones) in a way which seems obvious, but without overwhelming the user with all the unimportant stuff. It's a tough challenge, not least because most UI designers (many of whom are programmers) don't think like users.

The same thing is true for customer service. In many ways a company is like a very complicated machine, and customers are like the users. A company's web site and contact centers are the interfaces through which the customer tries to accomplish something, just like the touchscreen is the interface for doing stuff on an iPhone.

We want the customer to feel that the company is easy to do business with. Customers should not need to learn how a company's internal processes work, or spend time coordinating different parts of the organization.

This is hard to accomplish. It means designing customer service processes to hide all the internal complexity of a company, clearly communicate how to do those things customers probably want to do, and making sure that a customer's needs are properly coordinated inside the company.

But it can be done.

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