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Actionable Insights in Customer Support

"Actionable insights” is a phrase heard often in descriptions of analytical products.

Image of a person with data images coming out of a screen below them
But what makes an insight actionable and what does this mean in customer support?

 What makes insights actionable?

An insight must meet six criteria to be actionable:

  1. Relevant: Actionable insights are directly related to the goals and objectives of the individual or organization, and to actions that the individual can take to achieve these goals.
  2. Clear: Insights should be presented in a clear and understandable manner. This ensures that decision-makers can easily comprehend the information and act upon it without ambiguity.
  3. Timely: The information provided should be timely to allow the user to respond to changing circumstances. An insight delivered too late has less value.
  4. Specific: Actionable insights provide details on what happened. They go beyond general trends or observations to offer practical guidance.
  5. Measurable: Insights should be measurable so that the impact of actions taken in response to the insights can be assessed.
  6. Drives action: The most crucial aspect is that the insights should suggest clear actions. They should guide decision-makers on what steps to take to capitalize on opportunities or address challenges.


What “relevant” actionable insights mean in customer support

While these requirements apply to insights in any field, the “relevant” requirements obviously changes from field to field. Let’s see what it means in customer support.

The primary objectives of any analysis in customer support are to maximize some metrics for the entire business (such as Lifetime value (LTV), retention, conversion rate, NPS, etc.) and to lower the overall cost of customer support.

There are several actions available to a CX leader in order to achieve these objectives.

Making the obstacles in the customer journey that drive customers to contact support simply “go away” works towards both objectives. How do you make future tickets just go away?

  1. If customers contact support for help with using a feature that they could not figure out by themselves, make the feature easier to use or create helpful documentation
  2. If customers contact support because a bug prevents them from achieving a goal, fix the bug
  3. If customers contact support because the product lacks a feature that would help them to achieve a goal, consider adding this feature to your product
  4. If customers contact support about a policy that is unclear or is not sufficiently customer-friendly to (e.g., return or refund policy), consider changing the policy


Taking actionable insights approach to CX strategy

Usually the customer experience (CX) team cannot enact these types of changes on its own – a strong partnership with product, engineering and other departments is the key to success here. You in CX can be the source of these types of ideas.

Within CX organizations, the mission of the CX leader should be to make sure that contacts that remain are processed faster and customers are satisfied by doing the following:

  • If a question is easy to answer, consider letting a chatbot handle it.
  • Create (or update) a “script” that helps agents to respond to a particular request
  • Train/coach your agents.

Knowing what drove a customer to your contact support team is critical for taking these actions. A useful way to think about it is that customers have certain goals that they want to achieve with your product, and they reach out with problems.

Let’s take one ticket and show how to analyze it in order to obtain actionable insights from it. This is a ticket sent by a customer of a company that helps businesses with they payments and invoices:

“Hi! Vendor [name] says she never received my payment. can we track payment? Thank you!”

There are two issues that drove this support contact:

  1. “customer complained that their vendor says they did not receive a payment that the customer sent”
  2. “customer asks if they can track the status of a payment in the product”.

To decrease the chance of similar tickets occurring in future, we can investigate if there are delays in deliveries of payments and also make sure that customers can track the status of their payments in the product.

To make sure that agents can resolve tickets like this one faster and with the customer being satisfied, we can make sure that agents have access to an internal tool that allows them to look up a payment and tell the customer where it is. Also, the agents should know how to answer the “can we track payment?” question.


Contact driver tagging: The key to actionable insights

Tagging tickets with specific contact drivers enables you to derive actionable insights from your conversational data. If all tickets where the customer complained about their vendor saying that the payment was received are tagged “payment not received” regardless of hundreds ways customers can phrase this complaint, you get to treat all these conversations as a group. You can compute how many of them occur every week, how much time agents spend on resolving them, what is the average CSAT for them, etc.

When you reach out to your counterparts on the Product team to tell them about these two issues, the first question they will ask will be “how often does it happen?” This tagging will allow you to easily answer the question and give you tangible evidence that it’s an issue worth addressing.

Creating a taxonomy of contact driver tags is an art in itself and we will cover it in future posts.

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