Case Study: Continental Airlines-This Call Is Being Monitored
Q.1 What are the business benefits of the CallMiner system? Provide some additional examples beyond those discussed in the case. Answer. There are several Business benefits of the CallMiner system in several different areas, such as Sales & Marketing, Customer Service and Operations. It allows Continental to understand the reasons why the customers contact them, the value of those communications, and the effectiveness of its service representatives in addressing the customers’ needs. It also allows for a significant reduction of the human resources needed and improves efficiency by allowing more time to analyse the data therefore building customer loyalty. The data can also be used to improve business decisions. Benefits of the CallMIner system:
1. Helps to determine what customers really want and whether the right action were taken
2. It helps to craft marketing plans and shape overall strategy.
3. The CallMining software also provided Continental airlines the opportunity to monitor agents’ responses to customers and thereby reveal areas in which agents needed more training, and by better educating agents they became more effective and efficient employees.
4. Reduced the number of calls agents made to the support desk reduced the number of reconfirmation calls, saving Continental Airlines more than $1 million annually
5. Measuring the response to a new offer or destination by reviewing both the amount and timing (relative to the announcement) of calls inquiring about it.
6. Providing data to support new initiatives, either to solve issues being currently presented or to justify new investments
7. Improves customer service efficiency and higher customer satisfaction
8. Reduced labour costs
9. Competitive advantage-CallMiner’s ability to recognize root problems within the reservation system and thus foster better and more effective customer service, promoting Continental’s ability to be a leader within the airline industry.
10. Call-mining technology combines speech recognition, speech analysis and data-mining capabilities to make it easy for companies to find specific information in audio archives and spot service gaps, sales opportunities and emerging customer trends.
11. Call-mining software also can search for phrases that agents didn’t say – but maybe should have been by agents for legal reasons.
Airlines have struggled for years with keeping customers happy. There are so many issues such as missed or delayed flights and over bookings that have haunted airlines for some time that customer loyalty is crucial. If customers find a few things they like about an airline, they are going to stick with them. CallMiner has helped Continental with this. It has enabled Continental to address some of the root issues with its core systems such as registration and confirmations. Continental is fixing the problems and providing a better overall experience for its customers. It can be assured that many of these customers will continue to fly with Continental. Systems like CallMiner are boom for the businesses which claim to be a 24×7 at customers’ door steps. Data collected by the data miner systems can be used to train employees, enhance feedback from the customers’ response and reshape marketing decisions to make more loyal customers as only 20% of loyal customers of a business generates almost 70% of its profits.
Q .2 How can new technologies like CallMiner help companies improve their customer service and gain a competitive edge in the marketplace? Explain. Businesses exist for profits and continuously try to increase revenues. This can be achieved by increased automation like the CallMiner system and reduce human interface as a result minimum numbers of employees needed to conduct a efficient business. These data mining systems can also help the company to become more customers friendly and customer focused and gain better customer loyalty-which is essential for a business to survive in this competitive edge. Technologies like CallMiner also help in retention of existing customers by providing better service. Beyond basic revenues, this CallMining software enables companies to find out common flaws and complaints about their services. Now a day’s almost all service related companies are implementing automation systems like the CallMiner. Technology can help a company to be Competitive in the following ways: 1. By reducing labour costs and service time
2. By accurately capturing concerns and needs of customers.
3. Least human interaction, by eliminating manual processes, technologies like this one improve the response time. 4. By comparing the reason for the call with the representative’s actions, thus determining the effectiveness of the response and need for further training. 5. Identifying calls that can be pre-emptively solved or routed appropriately in order to free agents to take reservations and make sales. 6. By increasing efficiency of the business and obtaining customer loyalty through increased customer satisfaction.
Q.3 Andre Harris refers to calls to reconfirm a flight a “quite frankly, low-value calls.” Why are they classifies as low value? Why do you think so many customers are placing such calls? Andre Harris most likely refers to flight reconfirmation calls as “low value” because they are unnecessary and are repeating processed information, and also because they are killing employees’ valuable time when they can receive other queries and provide information for customers. Such information could be provided through an automated system, a much more cost-effective choice. Continental airlines were getting nothing from the calls other than using precious resources.
Calls for reconfirmation are defined as low value because they do not provide a way for interaction with the customer. A customer who wants to reconfirm a flight can be in the following positions either he/she only wants a quick answer to his request, or/and is about to fly and not interested in making a new reservation, and feels that there is a need to reconfirm a flight, which shows has some doubts about the accuracy of its ticket.
By these calls customers aren’t asking for a better service, or making a complaint or requesting anything, these calls don’t bring incomes for the company. Instead these calls cost the company money by using company resources and valuable staff time-when the agents actually can serve another needy customer.
Customers are placing such calls due to lack of education-that these calls are not necessary at all. Verifying flight information by telephone also stem from an older generation’s preference to voice to voice communication-
Some people may also find telephoning preferable than the other communication mediums-although this system can be replaced with more efficient automated systems. Some people don’t feel comfortable enough in communicating to an automated system. As telephone is still widely accessible to this kind of queries-most people are making calls regarding reconfirmation of their flights just to get assurance from the Airlines Company.
Reconfirmations are unnecessary older practices in the airline industry. Although it is not usually necessary to reconfirm domestic flights, many airlines still require passengers to do so for international ones. As this practice varies across companies, customers want to be assured and call even those airlines that do not require them to do so.
4. Many organizations are using some form of call monitoring and data mining to improve customer service and to gain a greater understanding of their customers and their needs. Using the Internet, do some investigating into who is using this technology and in what form. In addition, see if you can find information suggesting the real value of these technologies to the firms who use them. Many organizations are using call monitoring and data mining technologies these days’ including-Insurance companies, hospitals, telecom and call centres, banks and even prisons. The following are a few of them:
Data mining in telecom companies
The telecommunications industry generates and stores a tremendous amount of data. These data include call detail data- calls that traverse the telecommunication networks, network data,- the state of the hardware and software components in the network, and customer data, which describes the telecommunication customers. The amount of data is so great that manual analysis of the data is difficult, if not impossible. The need to handle such large volumes of data led to the development of knowledge-based expert systems. Automated data mining systems perform important functions such as identifying fraudulent phone calls and identifying network faults. Data mining for retailers
Data mining tools can help target new markets and craft more attractive pitches to up sell current customers. For instance, outdoor gear retailer REI uses data mining software to parse the extensive customer data it collects through its website, direct mailings and 78 retail stores. When REI considers new store locations, it examines order data to find places with high concentrations of customers buying online and through the company’s catalogs. The company also uses data mining tools to tailor its stores’ product mixes to local market preferences and to uncover patterns that suggest future purchases by customers Insurance companies
Insurance companies are also using data mining for providing service. For example, Conseco Inc. (Insurance, annuity and financial services) is currently working on projects with Verint to use the vendor’s Customer Interaction Analytics tool to optimize the customer experience. The carrier utilizes the tool to identify customer dissatisfaction with the way a call is handled, and then uses that information to enhance call centre staff training by teaching employees to distinguish key phrases. During a pilot-run in August, the carrier ran 10,000 calls through the Verint tool, which uses speech analytics to mine the full context of the customer interaction and measure the tone and emotion level of the callers. Being an insurance company, understanding the customer psychology would be a first in the industry. (http://www.insurancetech.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=196603999&pgno=7)
Call Monitoring at Prison
There’s a prison in the USA that uses technology from start-up CallMiner to filter out code words for contraband. The CallMiner software stores reference data about word-usage trends and can highlight when words that are not frequently used in normal conversation suddenly increase in prisoners’ phone conversations, In the past, by the time officials figured out “lollipop” was a code word for a certain drug, for example, the prisoners already would have started using a new code word. CallMiner’s speech analytics can detect within a couple of hours when an atypical word suddenly
is used more frequently. Data can be vital to law enforcement or intelligence investigations of specific targets but question the usefulness of “data-mining” software that combs huge amounts of information in the hopes of finding links and patterns that might pick someone out as suspicious
In Manufacturing Companies
Current production and manufacturing environments are drowning in data and starving for information. As a result, data mining is an area of interest to many manufacturing companies. Tons of data can be collected with relative ease, but the core issue is how to obtain timely & critical information for decision-making and eventual organizational profitability. To compound the problem, nowadays customer can be described as both finicky and sophisticated. Customer demands are continually changing and the plant floor, associated supply chains and even the entire enterprise must keep up or close shop. Data mining systems are helping the manufacturing companies regarding this.
Call monitoring in Call Centres:
Call monitoring, also known as quality monitoring, is crucial to a call centre’s success. It gives the organization an idea of how well the centre is meeting its customer service objectives. Study shows that the majority of companies perform quality monitoring with one major goal in mind: to evaluate agent performance and improve service quality. Other reasons for quality monitoring include: 1. Assessment and improvement of scripts and processes
2. Greater customer satisfaction
3. Increased efficiency
4. Improved training programs
5. Uncovering common customer complaints and concerns
6. General trouble shooting
However, these are a few of the companies using Call monitoring and data mining systems; In most of the industry, the extent of the revenue advantage of the technology use is still to be realized as the basic infrastructure
development itself demands a lot of investment. According to industry analysts, companies that capture and analyze customer contacts and intelligence are better positioned to make an impact on enhancing customer experiences, cutting costs, increasing service levels and improving quality management. Coupled with automation tools that analyze the content of voice calls, or call centre audio streams, and proactively identify recurring themes, topics, issues and trends, organizations will be better prepared to make informed decisions that benefit customers, as well as the company’s bottom line. Speech recognition can have an impact on such improvements, including enterprise effectiveness, ROI and customer satisfaction. According to one report, revenue from core speech technologies will grow from $505 million in 2001 to $2 billion by 2006.
Q.5 Although companies who use call monitoring tools tell the listener that their ‘call is being monitored for quality assurance purposes’ some customers feel this to be an invasion of their privacy. Break into small groups with your class mates and discuss the various reasons why some customers feel their privacy is at stake with call monitoring technologies. Discuss your thoughts regarding what you believe could be done to mitigate privacy concerns while improving the value of the technology.
Answer. There are privacy and human rights concerns associated with data mining, specifically regarding the source of the data analyzed. Data mining provides information that may be difficult to obtain otherwise. When the data collected involves individual people, there are many questions concerning privacy, legality, and ethics. In particular, data mining government or commercial data sets for national security or law enforcement purposes. Various types of personal information often come under privacy concerns. For various reasons, individuals may not wish for personal information such as their religion, sexual orientation, political affiliations, or personal activities to be revealed. This may be to avoid discrimination, personal embarrassment, or damage to one’s professional reputation.
Another thing is Workers in call centres almost always have their calls
monitored. Different aspects of their tasks, such as length of call, time period between calls, content of telephone calls, politeness towards customers, adherence to set procedures, can be monitored. Employers argue that this is done to ensure that customers are given the correct information, to protect workers from false complaints from the public and for training purposes. However, it can also be used to monitor performance and may even determine performance related pay in some cases. This raises serious questions about privacy and human dignity. Employees should be able to carry out their work in a dignified manner, with respect for their privacy and autonomy without fear of constant monitoring The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate. Although customers are being told to the customers that their calls are being monitored for quality assurance purposes-they fears their personal information can be abused or can be sold to third parties. There are technologies like identifying human emotions from their voice tones and pitch level- so many people may not be comfortable to let a third party know about his/her personal feelings or emotions. There are already so many laws regulating these ethical issues of call monitoring and recording technologies to prevent them from abusing or miss using. But law is not always enough- there should be transparency in all issues related to privacy and their ethical implementation. But the existing global privacy rights framework has also been criticized as incoherent and inefficient. Proposals such as the APEC Privacy Framework have emerged which set out to provide the first comprehensive legal framework on the issue of global data privacy. Therefore, awareness is the key to successive use of technologies like the CallMiner, consumers should be more conscious about privacy issues whether companies are collecting or recording data without their consent.
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