Do You Know Why Your Customers Called You Yesterday?

These days it seems you can’t buy a cup of coffee without being asked to fill out a customer satisfaction survey.

But, despite companies’ well-intentioned efforts to get customer feedback, having so much data is like having too much of a good thing.

That’s particularly true for companies that have millions of customers. The sheer volume of data that comes in every day as customers are surveyed time and again makes analysis a slow and laborious process. And, in the end, it’s hard to get insights.

Why did you call me?

This becomes a huge problem for companies that are accelerating their move to the online world and the cloud in response to the pandemic.

The questions they should be asking are: How is our customer satisfaction rating now that our people are working from home? When our stores are closed? When we had to limit their choices to accommodate deliveries?

During the course of my career, I’ve run call centers and have been responsible for customer support for millions of customers domestically and internationally.

In my opinion, running a call center is one of the most challenging jobs you can have in a company. You have to deal with customers, employees, metrics, product and pricing changes, not to mention unforeseen circumstances like service outages and natural disasters. That is why during my career I’ve helped guide upcoming executives through a path that would have them run a call center to gain leadership experience.

One of the big challenges in running call centers has always been how to analyze trends and understand the root cause of why customers are calling you.

But today, there are tools that allow leaders to listen, in a virtual way, to what their customers are saying and get actionable insights. These insights can help leaders make their customers’ experience “effortless”.

We’ve been looking at it the wrong way

In his bestselling book “The Effortless Experience,” Matt Dixon explains that we’ve been looking at customer loyalty the wrong way.

He argues what the customers really want is an effortless experience.

So effortless they don’t even need to call.

Dixon’s premise is a radically different way of looking at customer service.

Almost as radically different as the way Tethr*, where he serves as Chief Product and Research Officer, approaches the measurement of customer satisfaction.

Forget the surveys

To begin with, Tethr does away with post-call surveys.

Instead, it takes the recorded words, digitizes the conversation using natural language processing, and then applies analytics on those digitized words to dissect the call, figure out what is giving customer trouble in doing business with you, and then rates the call so you don’t need a survey.

And it provides actionable insights in hours, not days or weeks. This enables leadership to take actions right away instead of spending time analyzing voluminous data.

These actionable insights enable client companies to pivot quickly in response to the voice of the customer. For example, to smooth out a point of friction such as when a new product or upgrade is causing problems for a select group of customers.

JD Power, the standard in recognizing excellence in customer service, recently announced a collaboration with Tethr to launch Conversation Analyzer, a new diagnostic tool that can help companies explore and pinpoint the specific areas needing attention so they can improve their customer experience.

As a loyal user of JD Power services for many years, I am excited about this announcement.

Newer, faster tools

The way companies have pivoted their operations as a result of the pandemic is nothing short of amazing. Many have implemented in a matter of weeks what otherwise might have taken them months, if not years.

Still, they must not lose sight of what those changes look like through the eyes of the customer. Now it is more important than ever before to understand what customers like and dislike about a change in your operations, and what may strengthen or weaken their loyalty.

What’s more: they must know that quickly, in a matter of hours or days instead of weeks or months, so they can take appropriate, immediate action to provide an effortless experience.

In this context Dixon and his effortless customer experience paradigm are right on. And there is no better process than what Tethr has developed to ensure you and your company are providing effortless service.

Bottom line: if you don’t know why your customers called you yesterday and your tools don’t give actionable insights in hours without the need for customer surveys, I strongly encourage you to look at the newer tools available. Some new innovative tools like Tethr and Qualtrics work great together to help customers manage their user experience from beginning to end.

In today’s environment, your measurement tools must be as agile as the operational changes you are working so hard to implement.


* Full disclosure: I’m an advisor to and an investor in Tethr.

The Power of Purpose
Don’t Reskill for Tomorrow Using Yesterday’s Tools