Speech Technology Magazine

Creating the 'Wow' Factor for Customer Retention

Intelligent automation puts the sizzle back in self-service.
By Scott Manghillis - Posted Aug 27, 2009
Page1 of 1
Bookmark and Share

This point in time will not just be remembered as the global recession, but also as the relationship economy. Never before has it been so important to protect customer relationships. The need to acquire new customers has evolved into the need to increase loyalty to retain existing customers. 

What better way to retain customers than by enhancing customer service channels with a “wow” factor—deploying an intelligent automated solution comprised of an enterprise policy management engine integrated with an interactive voice response (IVR) system/voice portal—to take personalization to the next level?

Consider the following customer inquiries. While the responses may be obvious, let’s create a wow factor by taking them to the next level.

Scenario #1: A mobile customer with high mobile Internet use sends a business message with a multimedia attachment, but the transmission fails. Response: A network monitoring system detects the failure, and an intelligent solution instructs the network to resend the message until it is  delivered, followed by a confirmation message. 

Scenario #2: A healthcare customer calls her provider to inquire about her standard medical benefit updates. Response: When she calls, the intelligent solution recognizes her, determines that her brand-name arthritis medication is due for refill this week, and prompts the following message while she is in the IVR queue: We noticed your brand-name prescription is due for refill. Do you know that several generic brands are available at a significantly lower cost? If you would like a list of generic drugs, press 1. After the message, she is returned to the queue.

Scenario #3: A high-value cable/Internet customer with a history of service problems suffers an Internet service outage. A lower-value cable/Internet customer is having the same issue. Response: An intelligent solution initiates a credit to the high-value customer’s account and generates an email and outbound call apologizing for the outage and notifying the customer of the credit. The low-value customer receives only an email apology for the outage.

In the scenarios above, an intelligent solution allows the interactions to focus on developing relationships with customers to improve retention and loyalty. 

Considering that attrition is the new customer feedback, proactive retention is needed more than ever. Convergys research shows that 40 percent of consumers are willing to leave a company after one bad experience and never tell the company about it. Eighty-seven percent of customers tell friends and family about their bad experiences, some using social media to reach thousands of potential customers.

The challenge of automating retention is  aligning the right business policies with the right actions based on real-time intelligence across all back-office systems. Policy actions can automatically dictate incentive offers, upsells, and cross-sells, or priority route to a save desk.

Following are questions to ask when looking for an intelligent solution for effective automated retention: 

  • Does it centralize and simplify business policy management across sales, marketing, and the contact center?
  • Does it drive consistent customer experiences across all channels?
  • Does it drive proactive, automated, and simultaneous real-time service, sales, and retention actions?
  • Does it support contextual, personalized interactions and closed-loop self-learning?
  • Does it leverage—but not replace—existing IT and infrastructure investments?
  • Does it automate updates to back-end systems?
  • Does it support intelligent device management, such as cable and satellite set-top boxes?
  • Does the engine include sensors that can capture customer events and the ability to specify responses to those events?
  • Does it recognize customer actions or circumstances associated with a high likelihood of attrition, and drive real-time, personalized responses designed to avoid a customer’s departure?

Finding the right intelligent solution could provide a competitive edge by creating the wow factor to deliver a valuable customer experience and retain customers. The biggest benefit is the opportunity to reach new heights of personalization, which allows you to cultivate lasting relationships with customers and build long-term loyalty.


Scott Manghillis is a director of hosted contact center technology and business development at Convergys. He can be reached at scott.manghillis@convergys.com or 972-454-8344.

Page1 of 1