The 80/20 Rule Is Dead! You Can Do More with Social Media Data

In Shifting the Paradigm of Contact Center Interaction Tracking, we spoke of a paradigm shift that needs to be considered in standard contact center metrics. For the sake of all great social experiences, let’s revisit one of the most common and basic measures of contact center success – the service level.

Relying on service level to measure customer satisfaction

Oddly enough, service level has always been somewhat of a misnomer and often wrongly applied.

Service level was created to satisfy a base driver since contact centers needed a way to quantify how well they looked after their callers. And thus was born the 80/20 rule of quantification –  where 80% of calls are answered within 20 seconds.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Speak directly with your customers within a certain amount of time, within their threshold of patience, and everyone will be happy. Maybe not!

Service level today is so ubiquitous that hosted service providers and support organizations set their contracts to meeting service level agreements (SLAs) with financial repercussions tied directly to that service level metric.

While contact centers may have shifted those parameters over the years with a 90/10 or 70/30 ratio as the measured bar of success, it’s become tougher to generally apply that rule to customer communications.

At its fundamental level, meeting that quantified threshold does not directly equate to providing “good service” to your customer base.

What is good service? It is entirely held in the eye of the customer and how they feel about their unique individual experiences with your enterprise including how they perceive interactions with your brand. Service level was an incredibly indirect metric to equate waiting with dissatisfaction but that is not the only factor.

Measuring customer satisfaction – back then and now

Years ago, in the voice-only world, where the 80/20 rule was created, this metric along with mailed surveys from the marketing department would be the standard to gage customer satisfaction. However, both were separate entities that had virtually no correlation other than to say: “You can’t blame us that survey scores are low. We’re answering the phones quickly”.

Survey tools today have come a long way to capturing that customer feeling. However, the tendency of customers is to only complete a survey if their experience was negative and they feel the need to report a behavior or unsatisfied outcome.

This is a reactive process with lengthy delays before action can be taken. The damage often has already been done and their likelihood to recommend (Net Promoter Score- NPS) has been reduced. Historically a negative customer experience would simply make interesting conversation over coffee.

Today is a brave new world where technology affords us a better chance to gain visibility into the fundamental definitions of good customer service.

But with the advent of social media, it’s important to start looking at social media data, since social has become the means to vent and report poor experiences with businesses or otherwise. Folks do like to complain! This pseudo-friendship world increases the audience that will hear about any shortcomings your business may have. The ability to “share” and “retweet” grows that audience exponentially if the reader is moved by the initial statement.

Fixing customer experience before it is too late

That just means that today you simply must get it right because everyone will hear about it if you don’t.  Unfortunately, that ideal is unachievable; perfection is unrealistic; and mistakes will undoubtedly be made. So, the question becomes, how can I mitigate the risk associated to bad customer experiences being broadcast throughout social media?

Leveraging social media data

Today we have the technology to view and access social media data through social media interfaces. A targeted push to collect social media profiles (via Twitter “follow”-ships” or Facebook likes, to name a couple examples) allows you then to collect and use social influence as a decision-making parameter when prioritizing their incoming interactions.

Those with a larger social network may have a higher priority to satisfy to hopefully leverage a “post” about positive experience as grass roots marketing or to lessen the broadcast impact of a possible negative experience. It is then up to the business to balance customer value and social influence in that prioritization.

Deploying intelligent routing that listens for social media data

Waiting in a queue and missing service level targets still has impact on the overall experience. But technologies today, such as intelligent routing, leverages customer value and social influence; virtual queuing and overflow routing all exist to eliminate that wait, reducing the overall impact of a service; level metric is the be all satisfaction statistic for contact centers. Intelligent prioritization lets you dictate which customers get faster service, thus reducing negative blow back towards your brand.

Relying on Net Promoter Score to make better decisions

So, what will fill that void in the future? The clue may have been dropped in an earlier statement. Net Promoter Score (NPS) should be the metric that drives your business decisions. “How many of our clients would recommend us to a friend?”  We should make sure they all do, and keep that in mind for all our business decisions.

The technologies discussed herein all provide the ability to collect directly or indirectly data elements to produce a score at a client level or directly improve their experience.

6 CX Competencies to Driving Better Customer Engagements

Overwhelming evidence confirms that improving CX does drive business results and that prioritizing customer experience is the proven path to success. However, many customers feel that only a few companies engage with them well, and even with those companies there is room for improvement.

So why are companies still struggling to deliver great customer engagements? For many organizations, this requires a customer engagement transformation. And how to go about this is often unclear.

Before moving forward with any CX strategy it’s important for your company to understand why it’s important to improve CX and what this will mean for the organization, including what CX competencies you need to establish. You need to assess where you stand on your journey to CX transformation and benchmark where you are against your competitors. This will help your company understand the level of transformation required as well as the urgency.

Once that’s done, you can plot your strategy. In the June 2017 report “Why and How to Lead A CX Transformation”, Forrester has identified 6 crucial CX competencies that companies must establish to start the transformation: research, prioritization, design, enablement, measurement, and culture.

6 CX competencies to establish and optimize

1. Researching your customer preferences

CX competencies
Figure 1: Forrester’s 6 CX competencies from the Forrester Report, “Why And How To Lead A CX Transformation”

If you are just getting started on your CX transformation, then the first thing to do is research to ensure there is a good understanding of your customers wants and needs. This should be the first competency you look at because otherwise it will be very hard to move forward with the other cx competencies necessary to develop your CX transformation strategy.

2. Prioritizing based on what matters most to both – your customers and your business

Prioritization can be done by ranking your most important customer groups, journeys, and interactions and aligning that with your business values and business success criteria, so you can then move forward with the right focus.

3. Designing customer experiences

Then, you will identify and define the experience you want customers to have based on your CX vision and customer understanding (developed in the research and prioritization cx competencies above). This requires generating ideas, prototyping, testing with customers, and repeating that process many times before deciding that a design is done.

It’s important to not define the experience based on what the business wants. Capture what your customers want, and then design the way the organization engages with customers to meet those experiences.

Remember that you want to achieve the experiences that you define, but you don’t control experiences directly. What you do control is how your organization engages with customers, which then leaves customers to perceive these interactions and this results in the experiences your customers have with your organization.

4. Enabling your employees with training, information, and tools

Once you’ve defined the customer experience you want to deliver, you must provide employees with the resources that they need to properly engage with customers, and ultimately provide this experience.

And so, for some companies this might be the hardest part of their CX transformation. If you are dealing with system and process silos or legacy technology, delivering the right CX might mean upgrading technology or fully integrating your business and contact center systems. Depending on resources, it might take longer to work through this stage. But don’t let that deter you. The alternative option of continuing to deliver low quality CX will hurt your company in the long run.

By having the right architecture in place, you can start providing your employees with training, information, and tools that support the intended experience across all touch points.

5. Measuring CX metrics

To understand if your company is doing CX well, will require you to quantify the quality of experiences and link them to your organizations’ overall metrics. Ideally, you want to analyze what happens when customer interact with your brand, how they perceive these interactions, and what they do as a result.

This might require a shift in how you look at customer interactions and what metrics you report on. For further insights into how to measure CX, read the blog Looking at Contact Center Metrics In A Customer-Centric Way.

6.Establishing a customer-centric culture

To make sure that CX is a priority in your company will require a system of customer-centric values and behaviors that focus employees on better engaging with customers.

This is an especially important competency to continue your CX vision and drive business success. If you try to create this culture without looking at the other cx competencies, you are likely to be unsuccessful.

A good start is to educate employees about your customers, CX vision, and their roles in fulfilling your vision. Reinforcing customer-centric behaviors through routines, celebrations, and rewards is another good way to establishing customer obsession in your organization.

Don’t wait to start your CX Transformation

Some CX competencies you may be more mature at than others. Forrester Research suggests that companies establish the competencies they are missing, and optimize those already established. Eventually all competencies need to be optimized to be a well-managed “customer obsessed” organization, and be able to keep innovating.

Remember that with great CX being uncommon these days, acting now means you can more easily get ahead of the competition.  Putting off the number one way to differentiate your business, will make CX differentiation much harder later on.

For more guidance on a CX transformation & how to implement these 6 competencies watch the webinar “CX Transformation: Six Essential Competencies”.

Salesforce Data Loads: Using Feature Switches to Manage Apex Triggers

Dealing with larger data loads in Salesforce often leads to the task of turning off automations, such as validation rules, workflows or process builder flows. This can be done directly in the Production Org, or even better, by using tools such as the Ben Edward’s Salesforce Switch.

Although the tool also offers to turn off triggers, it isn’t quite that simple. That is because any changes to triggers can only be done through code deployments, and those require the unit tests to succeed for the changes to take effect. However, some unit tests may depend on other triggers or automations to be active, which can make this a very complex and time-consuming undertaking.

Turning Apex Triggers On and Off with Feature Switches

A possible solution to this dilemma can be the implementation of feature switches. Feature switches are a simple concept of turning features on and off. In traditional software development, especially in cloud applications, this practice is used for controlled feature deployments, A/B testing, and more. In Salesforce, this principal can be used to quickly turn off all your trigger functionality to run data uploads – without the risk of trigger errors. This also improves the speed of your data upload.

How to Implement Feature Switches For Data Loads in Salesforce

Feature switches are based on a configuration object. This can either be done by using Custom Metadata Types or Custom Settings.

Custom Settings have the advantage that they allow for hierarchical overrides of the global settings. Depending on what use cases the feature switches are needed for, this might be a desirable option. Each feature switch would be represented as a checkbox field in the Custom Setting. The downside to this approach is that any new feature switch requires the Custom Settings metadata to change, which is not ideal.

In Salesforce, I would consider feature switches to typically be of a global scope only. So, my personal preference is to work with Custom Metadata Types. Each feature switch is represented as a new record in the Metadata Type, which does not require changing the actual type itself as it would for Custom Settings. Those records can also be migrated as part of a metadata deployment.

Now, Let’s See What Such an Implementation Could Look Like

1. Creating custom metadata type

We start by defining the Custom Metadata Type. Create a Custom Metadata Type called “Feature Switch”. The type will need a new custom field.

Creating Custom Metadata Type - Salesforce Data Loads

2. Creating custom field on metadata type

From a development perspective, it will be easier to consider an exceptional case for when the feature is turned off, so I will create the custom field type “checkbox” and label it “Turned Off”. Creating Custom Field on Metadata Type - Salesforce Data Loads

3. Adding a record to turn off triggers

Now, let’s add a record to turn off triggers, by clicking the “Manage Records” button or link and select “New”. I named the record “All Triggers”, used the default API name, and left the “Turned Off” checkbox unselected. The image below shows the list of records for the feature switches including the record that was just created. Note that I created a new view to include the custom field.

List View of All Trigger Feature Switches

4. Creating an Apex class 

Next, create an Apex class that can be used elsewhere in the code to conveniently retrieve the state of a feature switch. The class will contain a single function to ask if a switch is turned off.

In our environment, feature switches are commonly used, so it makes sense to load them statically. However, using lazy loading is also a good option here. Making the SWITCH_MAP visible for unit tests decouples the manager from the actual configuration and allows the unit tests to inject the values they need for testing. In this case, changing the value of feature switches will not impact the success of an Apex unit test run.

5. Querying feature switch in the trigger

Last, the feature switch needs to be queried in the trigger. This can be as simple as introducing an early return statement in the code. If a central trigger dispatch pattern is used, the All Triggers feature switch requires the following snippet to be introduced in a single class only. However, if the pattern isn’t used, simply add the snippet to any trigger deployed in the Org.

6.  Adding a unit test for the manager class

All that is left to do is to add a unit test for the manager class to ensure the code coverage requirements are fulfilled and you are good to go.

That’s all! Now, when another data load is about to happen, all that needs to be done to turn off triggers is to set the “Turned Off” flag for the “All Trigger” record to checked and you are ready to go.

There is no deployment or code hack necessary anymore. We used this pattern successfully during large projects with numerous data loads. It has saved us a lot of time and stress, as well as allowed us to focus on the data migration tasks, instead of getting distracted with environmental prerequisites.

Using Feature Switches for Integration Classes

Using the feature switches for all triggers is only one use case. Feature switches are also extremely useful for any integration classes using web requests to third-party services.

For example, if the third-party service is currently experiencing an outage, the feature switch can be used to activate a routine that deals with this situation. This allows your organization to inform users of the current outage. Plus, it will give the third-party service time to recover without penetrating the system with additional requests.

If there are triggers that should run during data loads, I would just rename the trigger to “Data Load Sensitive” or similar.

Are you looking for help with Salesforce implementation? Let’s meet at Dreamforce 2017, or contact us to discuss over the phone.