Voice of the Customer
The ‘Voice of the Customer’ is a term used to describe a process of capturing customer expectations, preferences, aversions and reactions to a product or service. These customer expressions are generated in a number of ways; hand written and typed notes, surveys, response forms, email, telephony, web chat (to a real person or a bot) and social media (tweets from the customer to the company twitter account). This process was originally used as a way to better inform product development and innovation, but we are seeing this increasingly used to describe the world of customer complaint handling and call centre management.
These expressions are all unstructured forms of data which, when they are in the form of a complaint, have to be registered, entered onto a database and routed through a workflow and closed. Particularly in regulated industries such as banking, utilities and the public sector, complaint handling has to stand up to audit and scrutiny. Failure to handle complaints correctly becomes a compliance issue and can lead to fines, negative PR and customer attrition.
More positive benefits from understanding the voice of the customer include improvement in the product or service, improved brand reputation and improved competitiveness.
The process of capturing customer complaints has its challenges. Front office and call centre staff currently have to manually take each complaint and if the complaint can’t be closed immediately, register it on a complaint handling system and launch a workflow to escalate through to closure. The fact is that customer encounters are increasing rapidly; people are more vociferous and have instant methods of expressing themselves.
This has led to increasing pressure on finding more efficient ways of handling the voice of the customer. This is also exacerbated by external demands in financial services from the FCA stating that complaints made on social media constitute bona fide complaints.
TheySay’s technologies provide one way of easing the burden and providing an automated process for categorising and ranking complaints.
TheySay provides significant savings to the process by automatically determining the subject matter of the complaint and automatically launching the correct workflow to the correct department.
In addition, TheySay detects levels of frustration and anger, plus potentially red light topics (e.g.racism) in order to escalate the complaint quickly. TheySay’s technologies can also produce errors, just like humans, but dramatically increase processing speed and reduce costs.