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How design thinking can help you know your customers better than they know themselves

While the term design most often conjures up images of objects – from clothing to consumer products to skyscrapers – true design in its most honest form refers to a dynamic process rather than a static end-result. Quite simply, design thinking is the process of observing, researching, experimenting, modelling and testing processes (as well as products), in order to improve them to their maximum potential.

In today’s digital era, with an abundance of information, as well as data collection, storage and processing technology growing in leaps and bounds, more and more enterprises are finding ways to process this data into actionable insights to fulfil their business objectives, and this is just the beginning.

Design thinking is being adopted by every industry imaginable, whether it’s medicine, law, engineering or advertising. Take the humble contact centre (once referred to as the call centre) for example. In today’s contact centres, huge amounts of customer data are generated on a daily basis that, more often than not, goes unused.

With improved data analytics taking centre stage in the business arena, just think of the kind of information that can be gathered, sifted through, and used to increase the customer experience beyond anything possible just a few years ago. What is your clients’ average level of satisfaction? Which customers contacted your company, and why? What is the most frequent complaint, and what is causing it? What is your average turnaround time, and how can it be reduced?

What’s more, the advantages of big data don’t just extend to callers and their complaints. A savvy contact centre will make use of design thinking to not only better “design” the customer experience, but also to improve products, identify operational flaws, drive sales, increase up-sales and cross-sales, and ultimately fatten up their business’s bottom line.

Many companies now employ advanced text and voice-based sentiment analysis, to analyse call centre agent records, identify customer concerns, highlight trends and patterns, and provide early warning capabilities. Many more also cross-reference their call centre data with their transactional data records, providing every contact centre agent with valuable knowledge about the customer. With this information, not only can they provide better customer service, but they can also turn the customer service channels into product research channels, as well as active sales channels. Contact centre records are an untapped resource that can provide valuable insights into how products and services can be improved and differentiated from their competitors.

When a mass of information meets the technology needed to unlock it, the sky is the limit in terms of the strategic advantage it gives businesses. The only challenge that remains is for companies to figure out how to use the information they generate to its maximum potential. For design thinking to provide any real return on investment, the analytics need to drive action, not only insight, and should be the basis of the future CRM strategies that companies employ.

With customers being more efficiently and accurately catered for in every step of their customer journey, and businesses gaining valuable insights into every aspect of their customers’ experience, big data analysis in contact centres is a win-win situation that is set to become the gold standard in CRM, no matter what industry you are in.