Using Metrics, Analytics with Multi-channel Customer Communications
In Three Ways to Use CCM Metrics, Analytics to Improve Customer Experience, one of the three methods I mentioned was multichannel contextualization:To apply analytics to a multi-channel or omni-channel communications environment, you have to ask how communications sent through one channel impact communications coming through other channels. What is the most popular channel through which people want to see this particular communication? Optimize that communication for that channel so you can deliver the right communication over the right channel at the right time. Over which channel are people more likely to act? Are they more likely to respond to email, SMS, direct mail? Through which channel do they pay their bills fastest?
In this follow-on post, I take a closer look at this topic and how to improve the effectiveness of your cross-channel customer communications.
Measure Engagement with Individual Communications
In order to improve overall customer experience, you have to examine the effectiveness of individual communications. You can only go so far at the mass communication level. These days, it’s all about personalization, relevance and channel optimization – sending the right communication to the right person at the right time for the right reason. The only way to know that you’re accomplishing that is to measure results at the individual communication level.
Are your customers engaging with your customer communications?
A lot of information can be gleaned through the channel over which customers are receiving communications. You can use such metrics to inform your budget decisions and ramp up spending on the most-used, most effective channels. For instance, you may find that an email with a link prompts more investors to visit their online portfolios than a direct mail piece does. Rather than spamming customers with messages from every channel, focus your efforts and resources on the more effective channels instead, or find ways to use one channel to drive users to another channel, like from the call center to a (less costly) self-service web portal.
Using Data and Analytics within the CCM Environment
Start by connecting your customer communications management (CCM) solution to some analytics software such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics. What you get when you connect your CCM and analytics tools is the ability to measure engagement with each communication.
Once a customer tells you they want to receive a particular type of communication, like a bill or monthly statement, over a particular channel like print or email, you can begin to measure and report on that. You can track which service-oriented communications are being acted upon, just like you do with your marketing communications.
For example, did your customer receive and then open your email, click on the link you provided, and visit your web portal? Does a given customer ever click on links in SMS reminders? If not, maybe you need to stop sending her SMS reminders or change the email’s subject line, wording, or call to action in some way.
This data can help you identify individual communications that you should optimize to increase customer engagement with each communication you send. There’s a lot you can glean about people’s consumption habits and whether or not you should consider starting or stopping types of communications (notifications, correspondence, regulatory notices, statements, etc.) over specific channels.
You also want to look for opportunities to optimize engagement across channels. The analytics tools from Google and Adobe also include functionality around tracking cross-channel behaviors to link data across channels. For example, you can see if a customer started an interaction on one channel and moved to another. That’s valuable information.
Why should you care? It costs you money to send emails, SMS notifications, printed mail, etc., and that gets multiplied by tens of millions of communications per month for many large companies. But there’s also the customer’s side. Do they feel like they’re getting “spammed” by redundant or irrelevant communications? Would they prefer a different channel or frequency of communication? Or are they just not that into you? Start with the quantitative measurements, and then ask your customer for qualitative feedback
An Illustrative Example: A Pediatric Dentist’s Appointment Reminder System
I have a friend in Austin, Texas, whose daughter’s dentist uses multichannel communications to send out appointment reminders. She gets a text reminder about three weeks before the appointment, prompting her to reply “C” to confirm the appointment. Then she gets another text reminder and an email one week out from the appointment, with another chance to confirm. And then she gets a phone call one business day before the appointment as a reminder.
She told me the first time she got the SMS reminder, she was thrilled at the efficiency and convenience of it, promptly texting “C” to confirm and checking her calendar to make sure the appointment was correctly entered there. The next time, though, she knew more emails, texts and calls would be coming, so she ignored the first text and did not reply to confirm.
The third time, she got the text reminder and realized she needed to change the appointment. She couldn’t do that through SMS, though, and was instructed to call the office instead. She had to wait until the next business day since she got the reminder in the evening. She forgot to call the next day, though, and didn’t remember until the next email came a week before the appointment. This time she was able to call and change the appointment. After the call, however, she received a SMS text reminding her of the old appointment time. So, she had to call the dentist’s office again the next day to be sure the old appointment had been successfully cancelled so she wouldn’t be charged a late cancellation fee.
Now, the SMS reminders from the pediatric dentist’s office are starting to feel like a spammy nuisance rather than a convenient and helpful service. She’s annoyed that she can’t change her appointments directly upon receiving the reminder texts, and she’s annoyed that when she does change the appointment through one channel, the other channels still send out automated reminders for the cancelled appointment and for the new appointment.
Obviously, the dentist’s goal is to make sure patients are in the chairs at the designated time on the designated day. Empty chairs are lost revenue. So they invested in multichannel notification systems to reduce the number of times chairs sit empty due to no-shows. That’s a great idea. The problem is that they apparently haven’t looked at their metrics to see if and how patients’ parents are responding to the communications. If they had, they might see that my friend (and likely many other parents as well) had a steep dropoff in her utilization of the SMS reminders after the first or second time. And if they were to ask her directly, she’d cheerfully inform them about how annoying it is to have to switch to another channel to change appointments and how overwhelming the repetitive and redundant reminders quickly became. She opted into the text reminders originally, but it’s not as easy to opt out, so she just ignores the messages that the dentist’s office is having to pay to send.
This dentist’s office should check their customer communications metrics to see how the notifications are working, channel by channel and patient by patient. They need to determine how well the system is serving customers. Perhaps the business goal of reducing no-shows is being achieved, but at what cost? If it’s annoying the heck out of patients in the process, they may go looking for another dentist next time instead.
My friend’s experience struck me because, even though it’s a small pediatric dentist’s practice in Austin, Texas, its lessons absolutely apply to companies of all sizes. Customer experience is all about ease, effectiveness and positive emotions – that’s the experience customers really want. For the best experience with customer communications, your CCM solution should integrate with a customer channel preference management system and cross-channel data analytics tools.
We’re going to continue exploring the potential for CCM tracking and analytics in greater detail in future blog articles. Be sure to subscribe to the blog for updates.