Untapping the value of unstructured data to improve customer experience

AI can help make sense huge amounts of unstructured customer data

Poor customer service is a leading cause of customer churn, yet many businesses have little understanding how or why a customer might chose to end communication with their organisation. Understanding the full your experience journey of your customers is essential in improving customer satisfaction and building brand promoters in achieving business growth.

A missed opportunity for many organisations is in tapping the value of huge amounts of unstructured customer data in the forms of voice recordings, live chat logs, chatbot conversations, and social media interactions. To capture this opportunity organisations need apply tools powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to understand and determine intelligent insights across these various customer engagement channels. By analysing unstructured data, we are increasing the number of customer communication channels analysed provides better visibility of all brand interactions, including unique customer insights not previously identified through apply analytics to structured data.

Invest in technology for better customer experiences in the future

Despite the need to employ better use of analytic tools, Forrester has outlined one of the key strategies customer service departments are employing in order to manage the increasing number of communication channels and resulting increase in headcount. According to the report, 46 percent of global contact centres expect to increase agent seat numbers by 5 to 10 percent, with a further 14 percent expecting a growth of 10 percent or more.

The Forrester report explains that instead, businesses should invest resources in automation technology such as prescriptive Artificial Intelligence (AI). The report explains that 2018 will see companies “use AI for efficiency gains and to deliver better experiences.” Prescriptive AI removes administration tasks such as collating and analysing data and freeing up team member time to focus on delivering a human experience through personalisation and empathy, and allowing management more time to oversee operations. 

In addition to productivity, a key barrier for many businesses is actioning the data provided through analytics tools. According to the Frost and Sullivan report Beyond Data and Graphs, businesses aren’t able to generate value from the insights captured through many analytic platforms because they are unable to process and communicate the information in a comprehensible manner.

Simply put, many Australian businesses are overcomplicating customer monitoring practices and as a result, are missing out. The first step in generating actionable insights is ensuring that you have the right analytics platform in place, monitoring engagement across all channels, and producing insights that are relevant, clear, contextual, usable and understandable.

Work smarter, not harder

Understanding your customer journey, requires information from a range of sources available in operating environments today. Creating opportunity from data has become a business strategy many organisations are looking to implement, but how do you optimise information so that it is “smart”, in order to drive increased efficiencies across the business and improve customer relations?

Smart data takes into consideration operating environments and industries that may impact the customer’s behaviour. It provides insights into all the interactions a business may have with a customer and delivers a better understanding on how customers feel towards their brand. 

A robust omni-channel platform is ubiquitous across all channels and provides intelligent insights presented in real-time, through an easy to operate interface. For example, one insight that might be monitored is customer sentiment. Omni-channel platforms can monitor this in real-time and alert your business to prospective proactive and agile customer service opportunities, creating value for the business and improving sales and the Customer Satisfaction score (CSAT) potential.

Digestible insights deliver results

Equally important to delivering real-time results, an omni-channel analytics software. This can help to improve efficiencies across contact centre operations through data visualisations in tracking KPIs and agent performance.

Omni-channel analytics can also ensure business needs such as security and compliance standards, are consistently met though agent monitoring and real-time alert services. Customer transactions are often cited as a key vulnerability when it comes to fraudulent activities. Through continual analysis, agents can be notified of suspect activities and are provided with guidance on how to move forward with an investigation.

Smart, AI-based, analytics provides more opportunities for customer service departments to improve staff efficiency, while also delivering a more personalised customer service offering. While there are many platforms available, most do not offer intelligence that can be easily interpreted and most importantly, actioned upon. Look beyond the graphs and diagrams, you need information that is relevant, digestible and useable to transform your customer experience.

Robert Schwarz is Australia and New Zealand managing director of enterprise at Nuance Communications.

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