Cultivating the Contact Center to
Grow your Asset Base

by Dr. Jodie Monger

It’s true – not all customers are created equal. We derive the majority of our profits from a subset of our customer base. Essentially we are gardeners who must tend to the roses and cultivate the potential roses without spending too much of our resources on the weeds. Weeds never turn into roses.

All customers are not the same and should not be treated the same. Have you successfully implemented a process to stratify your customer contacts? Does the effort pay off? Logic does play out in this scenario for call centers that have successfully created different service strategies based on the type of customer as defined by value or potential value to the organization. In essence, leverage your center with your premier customers.

Deeper, more profitable customers should receive preferential treatment – quicker time to the CSR, access to more senior CSRs with better problem solving skills and relationship deepening cross-selling skills. Premier customers should interact with CSR who have more leeway to do what it takes, what is right for this rose of a customer. Why shouldn’t customers who cost the company money have to wait longer? “Weeds” do not deserve disrespectful treatment, just not the “Rosey” premium service.

Providing premium service does not come without effort on your part. It does require a focus on staffing levels since all calls are not routed from the aggregate pool of calls. But, are these efforts to provide premium service evident to your top-tier customer? Our research indicates that it is.

We collect more than 40,000 pieces of real-time customer feedback each month for our clients. In reviewing the evaluations for customers who are differentiating their CATs customer evaluations based on Premier versus Basic status, the effort is paying off. The ability to set category-appropriate service delivery goals is an invaluable resource. All CSRs can be coached on opportunities, accolades are collected and, importantly, management can quantitatively prove that the strategy is working.

CAT survey responses are not only higher for the CSR portion of the evaluation but for the company in general as well. The CSR has an effect on the company perception (good and bad) which underlines the need for the Roses to receive relationship deepening service. Our results highlight that 5-12% more customers fall into the Delighted category (top box score) for the Roses when examining overall satisfaction with the company and with the CSR specifically.

What does this mean for your bottom line? Delighted customers are corporate assets. Knowing the Customer Lifetime Value of the premium customer group allows for the quantification of the loyalty effect. Using a valid measurement strategy allows for you to generalize the survey results to your entire call population. You take 100,000 calls per month. Your roses have a CLV of $500 and 60% are in the Delighted category. The asset is valued at $30 Million. In this example, 1% is worth half a million dollars. Most call centers take more than 100,000 calls per month and most roses are worth more than $500 over the lifetime of the relationship so your 1% is likely to be worth more than half a million dollars. The numbers get very large very quickly.

It is definitely worth focusing on the roses (and potential roses). Your call center affects an important corporate asset.


Dr. Jodie Monger, PhD is the President of Customer Relationship Metrics, LC (www.Metrics.net). Prior to joining Metrics, she was the founding Associate Director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality. Her expertise is working with Fortune 1000 companies to help them quantify the Voice of their Customer.

Many more articles in Customer Relationship Management in The CEO Refresher Archives

   


Copyright 2003 by Dr. Jodie Monger. All rights reserved.

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