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Are You Listening to the Silent Majority of Customers?

Are you listening to the silent majority of customers?
CX leaders are leveraging advances in AI to analyse every customer conversation and discover what improvements will do the most to drive revenue and customer retention.

Customers never stop talking, and we should be thankful for it.

Every minute of every day customers are having a conversation with businesses, whether it’s to ask a question, make a complaint, or complete a new purchase. These conversations are full of precious insights into the customer experience (CX). CX leaders are well aware of the value of customer conversations and devote considerable time and effort analysing them for improvement opportunities.

There’s just one problem. Most customers never say anything. Although it often doesn’t feel like it, the vast majority of consumers don’t engage with sales or customer service. They have a need, identify a product, purchase it and then leave without a word. Indeed, only one in 26 unhappy customers ever complain, and 91% of these will simply leave and never come back.

For all of their effort and analysis, CX leaders aren’t listening to the largest and most valuable customer cohort - the silent majority. This means that they can only learn from a small minority of customer opinion. These interactions won’t always point them towards the most valuable improvement opportunities.

Fortunately, recent advances in AI are enabling CX leaders to listen and learn from every customer - even from those who leave no feedback. But doing so requires new technology and a very different approach to CX improvement. 

The vocal minority of customers

Before you can start listening to the silent majority of customers, you actually need to master the vocal minority. They provide the starting point, the foundation of intelligence needed to build the complete voice of the customer. But you have to be able to listen to all of them - every conversation at all times. And most businesses aren’t doing this.

To date, most CX leaders have had to rely on a small number of data collection methods for their customer insight. The most popular among these have been customer surveys, sentiment analysis, and manual logging by agents.

However, these methods are slow, expensive and inaccurate. Customer surveys are highly subjective, while manual categorisation and logging are prone to human error and take agents away from their most important work.

Sentiment analysis tools are typically restricted to one form of communication channel, so you’re stuck with a mostly incomplete picture of customer opinion. What’s more, they can only indicate how customers are feeling, but they can’t tell you why.

Ultimately, these methods fail to deliver accurate, measurable and responsive CX improvement. They can’t provide real-time insights, instead offering feedback that can only be actioned after the fact.

CX leaders are trapped in hindsight mode, delivering changes that are poorly informed and which can’t achieve strong ROI. It’s like trying to drive using only the rear-view mirror. 

Communications Mining: Capturing every conversation

Communications Mining can make a major difference, helping CX leaders to capture the complete voice of the customer.

Recent innovations in AI and natural language processing (NLP) now enable machines to reliably understand and interpret human natural language (that is, the informal language humans use to converse with businesses and each other). In fact, the latest AI language models even beat human employees in their comprehension of customer conversations.

These AI advances have come together in Communications Mining - a new class of enterprise software helping businesses mine, monitor and automate their conversations. Communications Mining gives CX leaders the power to analyse and understand every customer conversation and piece of feedback.

The technology uses NLP to convert unstructured communications - both voice and text-based - into structured data that the business can actually use. Communication mining makes it easy to analyse and extract valuable customer insights from this data. In real-time and on a massive scale.

Communications Mining goes much further than simple sentiment analysis. In addition to emotional content, it extracts intent data, revealing the reasons for contact, the pain points they express and the changes they would like to see. This is insight that gets straight to the heart of what customers want.

Such improvements don’t just cut costs and improve efficiencies - they fuel growth and strengthen the customer relationship.

For the first time, business leaders have complete visibility into all customer contact channels. Communications Mining enables them to capture the full voice of the customer, with unprecedented accuracy. Common issues and valuable change opportunities, once hidden in masses of communications, are immediately highlighted.

Hearing the silent majority

Communications Mining captures the voice of every customer that gives your brand feedback. But doesn’t that still leave the silent majority of customers who say nothing unheard? Representing this most valuable cohort requires an extra step - but one that is only possible with Communications Mining.

You start by analysing your customer conversations - your ‘vocal minority’ feedback - with Communications Mining. Extract the root causes of contact, find out why customers are providing feedback, where their pain points lie and what they want to see changed.

Once you have this insight, compare it with your operations data. Does any of the feedback relate to coinciding changes in your ops execution? For example, the roll out of a new service, or changes to the ordering process, may correlate with a drop in customer satisfaction (CSAT).

Operationalising the customer experience

This is operationalising the customer experience - linking the voice of the customer with the operational functions of the business. It’s the process of integrating the customer insight of CX with the data of Operations. Doing so links CX directly to the hard metrics the business cares about the most - retention, acquisition, costs and revenue.

Operationalisation is the process of taking what you know about your vocal minority of customers and mapping these lessons onto your entire customer base. If vocal minority feedback aligns with operational changes then you can estimate with confidence how the silent majority of customers has been impacted and how they view their CX.

You now have your CX improvement priorities - no more guesswork or obsessing over what the vocal minority wants. You know what changes will delight the silent majority of your customers. You can see the changes that will have the biggest impact, what will do the most to improve CX, strengthen loyalty and customer retention.

Download our free guide to see how leading CX practitioners are leveraging AI to operationalise the customer experience and capture the voice of the silent majority of customers.

Operationalise your customer experience

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