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Prepare and Create Data to Support Customer Self-Service

Preparing and creating as much data as you can will help you build for the future and support more self-service efforts.

I’m inviting you to think about customer data in a different way. Let’s face it, for years we’ve been using data for operational reporting and determining the health of our systems. It’s worked well, and been very routine. We wake up in the morning, log in, and look at reports from yesterday. Then we take action. The information helps us decide if today needs to be better, and how. It’s pretty tactical.

Many other groups in the organization are also pulling customer data from disparate systems. They work hard trying to normalize it, typically for leadership consumption. It is labor intensive to create these and still, for the most part, operational. Some may use this data for marketing purposes. If you’re in that group, I say, “Hooray!” If you have data analysts on staff, you’re ahead of the curve.

So why is there such a need to prepare and create data? The data you’re capturing today will be extremely valuable in the future. What you have is a goldmine of customers’ needs, desires, and struggles. Mining that data can provide valuable insights into customer behaviors, propensity to buy new products, and churn. It can also help you along a path of creating some rockin’ self-service.

This information can help feed Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) today. It can provide the vocabulary necessary to assist customers in all sorts of ways. It can also determine the path customers take when trying to get their questions answered or their issues resolved. It involves much, much more than just sending the data to marketing. About 70% of consumers say they prefer messaging over calling for support, and 67% prefer self-service over speaking to a company rep. Those are some compelling numbers, but the best part is that you’ve helped your customer more quickly and consistently. This saves agents time, which is always a plus right now, when many companies are struggling with high volumes and low staffing.

Step one was taking the data and feeding an IVA as described above, just to get it started. Step two is taking the data and allowing an automatic feed into the IVA, with confidence levels and sentiment analysis to determine if the answers are appropriate to the questions asked or if the issues are being resolved the way the company would want them to be.

If not, and the customer still needs to speak with a human agent, all that information can be sent to the agent to provide a richer customer experience (typically within a shorter amount of time).

Whew—that’s a lot to try to get our heads around. The key takeaway is that if you’re trying to prepare for the future, make sure to keep those data lakes. Structured and unstructured data can be analyzed and normalized for IVA consumption both now and in the future.

Digital transformation is happening. One of the best ways to embrace it is through the data. Data is the new oil, gold, or any other metaphorical precious resource of your choosing.

Continue reading the other posts in this blog series:

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About the author:
As the Senior Director of Customer Experience Strategy for ConvergeOne, Kathy Sobus leads a team with extensive experience in the contact center business and drives strategic alliances and partnerships with various vendors and providers. She is an expert in the area of customer experience and helps clients enhance their contact centers to more effectively respond to their customers’ ever-changing needs.