Making the Most of Imperfect Data to Improve Customer Service at a Lower Cost

Our B2C Retail client runs a Multi-Channel Contact Centre to handle upwards of a quarter of a million customer interactions a year. Each call, email or letter is logged in the system to keep track of the interactions. Customer engagement is one of four main pillars of the company’s strategy, so monitoring and managing down the rate of complaints is an important component and receives much focus.

The Contact Centre team produced basic reporting each month for the company’s Board, but with a lot of manual effort. Their system’s in-built reporting tool was not fit for purpose: the system had been patched and new elements added to meet the increasing demands over the past few years. As a result the system could handle simple queries, but was not capable of identifying trends, reporting anything that had not been expected in advance, or enabling other data to be integrated for analysis. Categorisation of contacts (issue tagging) had evolved and Admin activities had also changed without system alterations to match, resulting in widespread duplication of contact records (workable from an audit perspective, but clouding the waters for reporting & interpretation). To put it simply: the mapping of actual customer-agent interactions to the system’s contact records was no longer clear.

The starting point then was to reverse engineer the process, in other words to work back from records in the system to the reality of interactions, so as to remove duplicates and correct inaccuracies. Stillae worked out algorithms to interpret the system data via forensic analysis. We validated the findings with Operations management and against other data streams. Confident that the new reporting structure reflected the reality accurately, Stillae was engaged to produce upgraded monthly reports for the year.

“The new reports are going down so well. I have been inundated with queries and requests for the content behind the complaints. They are the new buzz of the business and I am delighted! Thank you for taking my vision and bringing it to life. You have also made me see new ways in which I can use our data to bring value to the Business,”
, said the Head of Customer Services

Besides addressing the inaccuracy of data, Stillae identified additional reports which made the KPI actionable, including handling time per interaction to schedule resources better, an indexed view of complaint rates by bringing in footfall counts to allow comparisons between locations, and an accurate recording of Admin activities to improve governance. Monthly reporting now includes location and region rankings, identifies trends in issue tagging, and flags locations which require specific attention.

In addition the data can and is now used in broader analyses, providing an additional KPI which adds value to the evaluation of product tests, operational management of locations, marketing campaign ROI evaluations and proposition trials, and consumer research more generally. Complaint rates in particular have proved useful, and have been validated against customer satisfaction and retail sales KPIs.

Besides the improved quality and actionability of reporting, our client saved 50% against the cost of producing their own manual monthly reporting over the year (& much more compared to the development costs of upgrading their system)

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