Business challengesThe client is the UK division of a global digital native, video streaming services provider that serves over a million customers. The company offers a contract-free model that allows customers to cancel anytime, if they’re not fully satisfied. Customers trying to watch live sporting events, or a Saturday-night movie can get quickly frustrated if they face issues while accessing their content. The main goal of their customer service function is to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and retention. The streaming company aims to provide a world-class digital customer experience with NPS in the +50s and +60s and meet customer expectations on speed and first-contact resolution (FCR).
Approach to customer service operations
Four major themes shape our client’s customer service operations: digital, offshore, excellence through analytics, and outsourced model.
- Digital-first: Driven by a digital ethos, the company’s primary service model is self-serve. In line with this, it offers human support only through chat and email. It also makes significant investments to drive frictionless experiences on these channels.
- Offshore support: The company’s chat and email operations are handled offshore in India, saving the company close to $7 Mn annually.
- Analytics-driven excellence: The savings generated from offshore operations are used to fund extensive investments in analytics to further improve customer experience. Currently, analytics is embedded across customer service operations – 50% of chat sessions are routinely analyzed. The resulting intelligence and insights drive continuous process improvements, ensuring truly outstanding customer service.
- Outsourced operations: Lastly, all customer service operations are outsourced. Firstsource provides sole support for all UK-based customers. An offshore team of 210 FTEs handles all chat and email interactions as well as the analytics program.
Aligning associate behaviors to customer outcomes
Our analytics team identified eight key associate behaviors that correlate with higher NPS, FCR and overall resolution. These include behaviors such as “gauges customer mindset”, “clearly demonstrates that they are actively listening to the customer” and “focus is on resolution/next steps and education”.
The eight identified behaviors form a framework that drives the company’s approach to customer service. They feed into associate training, coaching, chat quality, and incentives programs. For example, scoring for chat quality and associate league tables are both based on these behaviors. Team leaders can see which behaviors each associate is performing well on and which need improvement.
This, in turn, forms the basis of all coaching conversations. The framework also drives incentives, with internal competitions based on behaviors such as “clearly demonstrates active listening to the customer” (replaces NPS), and “focus on resolution/ next steps and education” (replaces FCR). Incentives based on these behaviors continue to deliver better outcomes for the client as opposed to incentivizing the outcomes themselves.
Using analytics to identify and reinforce these specific behaviors has added 13 points to the client’s NPS, 25 points to its bottom-quartile NPS, and delivered a 10% improvement in FCR.
Learning from every expression of customer dissatisfaction
Given the strategic importance of providing outstanding customer service, our client was determined to learn from any expression of customer dissatisfaction, however mild or fleeting. Its leadership team wanted to capture and analyze every nuance and compile comprehensive reports to identify friction in customer experience. This meant training associates to pay attention to customer feelings buried in sentences such as “why is this on my credit card bill?” or “it was 30 seconds before my movie started” and identify even minor instances of customer dissatisfaction.
Our team of experts undertook an analytics project to study what expressions of dissatisfaction associates were spotting and what they were missing. We then used text analytics and root-cause analysis to understand common pitfalls and close the gaps. Based on the results, we developed a training program for associates using the principles of gamification to help them spot issues and tag them correctly. Associates were also required to pass a test before they were accredited.
Continuous improvement to the customer journey
Each quarter the team picks two or three aspects of the customer journey and drills into relevant analytical insights and expressions of customer dissatisfaction. Over the years, this has led to improvements in several processes, including the website sign-in and password recovery, refund, cancellations, as well as issues such as chat disconnects and repeat detractors. It has also helped pinpoint how particular promotions, campaigns and aspects of the media streaming service have performed.
This quarterly cycle of continuous improvement has delivered solid results including:
- 6% contact reduction stemming from refund process improvements
- 5% contact reduction by offering more password recovery options
- Reduced customer effort using FAQ bots
- 7% contact reduction relating to seasonal special offers
- 6% contact reduction relating to cancellations
The holistic approach to friction-free customer experience has delivered tangible results:
- Chat NPS up from +30 to +66
- Bottom quartile chat NPS up from -20 to +26
- 45% drop in cost-per-contact – resulting in $16 m cost savings over three years
- FCR up from 60% to 78%
- Outstanding customer save rate