Too many contact centers are considered ‘Cost Centers’ and the majority of senior executives don’t understand the value of these departments that serve their customers. Every department has a value; managers of contact centers need to be able to document and demonstrate their worth.
What are the four primary components of an ROI formula to consider?
One of the primary components to analyze when determining the ROI of a contact center is how the interaction affected the customer’s future purchases. There are basically four possibilities:
1. The call INCREASES customer loyalty and/or sales
In this scenario, the customer might purchase more of a particular product because they learned something new during the interaction or because the representative with whom they communicated built a stronger relationship that resulted in the customer purchasing more from your company than your competitors. (This has a positive impact on ROI)
2. The call persuades the customer to stay despite a negative experience
Perhaps the customer purchased a product that did not last as long as they expected and they were thinking they would never buy that particular product again, but because the call rectified the issue quickly and satisfactorily, the customer remained loyal. This would be considered a “saved” customer. (Again, this has a positive impact on ROI)
3. The call goes poorly and the customer chooses to purchase from your competitor instead
Customers may stop purchasing the brand altogether if they feel they are not treated appropriately by the company representative or do not like the company’s policies. Instead, they may choose to purchase similar products from a competitor in the future. (This has a negative impact on ROI)
4. And sometimes the call has no effect, positive or negative, on the customer.
Interactions may not affect the purchasing behavior of the customer at all. Ideally, this is because the customer loves a particular brand so much that no matter how the interaction is handled, they continue to purchase. (This produces no change in ROI)
How should the data be collected?
By surveying a representative sample of customers that communicate with your contact center from five to ten days after the interaction, you can establish the effect of the transaction on the customer’s future purchasing behavior. It’s important to wait at least five days since most customers will not be able to truly reflect on their experience and it’s affect on their buying patterns immediately after the interaction. This is especially true when the customer is expecting promised fulfillment, or other information that will resolve an issue or answer their question and that action occurs a number of days after the contact.
How does word-of-mouth affect the worth of the department?
Word-of-mouth is also a critical component of the department’s value. While the dollar value of word-of-mouth can’t always be accurately assessed, you can uncover, via a random survey of customers, what percentage told others about their experience with your company. You can also identify who they told; neighbors, friends, business associates, etc. and which medium they used; traditional word-of-mouth or social media sites. Waiting at least five days to conduct this type of research is necessary to give customers time to spread the word. A significant component of a department’s worth is based on word-of-mouth behavior. Customers who interact with your company’s contact center need some time to tell others about their experience. If your department primarily collects satisfaction and loyalty data immediately after the contact, you are missing an important ingredient that could significantly raise the perceived perception of your department’s impact on the bottom line profitability of the company.
From my personal experience, a large majority of contact centers do not take the time to compute their ROI by determining how their department’s support and service affect the future purchase behaviors of their customers. This information, coupled with data on the word-of-mouth actions of your customer base, can provide your department with an important tool to wield during budget negotiations and when requesting dollars for staffing, training and technology.
Every department has an ROI, do you know yours?