By Cameron Hurst, Vice President of Targeted Solutions, Assurant Solutions
Building and sustaining customer relationships is fundamental to business success. With the cost of customer acquisition at an all-time high, understanding customers and finding new approaches to improve service, retain business and increase profitability has become increasingly critical – and ever more challenging.
For many companies, the call center is a primary touch point where one phone call can make or break a valuable customer relationship. Typically, call centers use a skills-based routing system or segmentation approach – which may only take into consideration an agent’s product focus, primary language and availability – to route customers to agents who can help them. For example, a customer calling his credit card company might simply be routed to a group of agents based on his account balance. This approach has proven frustrating to the customer, as often the agent is not the best match to handle the inquiry. It can be equally frustrating for the agent, who must face the wrath of the angry customer if they are unable to handle the call efficiently.
Our experience at Assurant Solutions revealed that the right call center agent can build greater affinity and rapport with a customer, increasing the likelihood of a positive interaction. Seeing this as an opportunity to differentiate and grow our business, we turned to business analytics.
Borrowing a page from successful on-line dating sites, we developed an analytics-based technology known as the Real-Time Analytics Matching Platform – or RAMP – that plays matchmaker between customers and call center agents in real-time.
All call centers regularly monitor the performance of their agents, such as their average call handling time and sales efficiency. Companies also have key information about their customers – including the products or services they’ve purchased, contract terms, record of complaints and average call wait time. RAMP combines the two sets of data to match each customer to the optimal agent, including those currently on another call, based on the highest probability of success.
This combination of customer insight, agent performance and real-time analytics provides individual level decisioning and assignment of calls not available in most call center applications.
At Assurant Solutions, RAMP has enabled our call centers to deliver highly personalized service. Our agents now have an increased understanding of each customer and their issues, which increases the probability of a successful resolution. This has resulted in higher customer satisfaction and retention, increased sales yields, and improved agent productivity and morale within our business.
Within the first year of implementing RAMP, we increased our customer retention revenue by as much as 119 percent and our contact center-based sales revenue by as much as 29 percent. We also improved the total number of saved customers by as much as 49 percent, from a baseline of 15 percent to over 32 percent. These are impressive numbers.
And we believe this just the tip of the iceberg. As more companies across other industries like banking, retail and telco introduce RAMP in their call centers, we’ll begin to see a better connection with customers, improved service and stronger companies with a real competitive advantage. Watch the video to learn more about our story.