Case Management and Customer Churn

Just off the phone to my mobile phone service provider and I’ve got to say it wasn’t a great customer experience. To give you some background my mobile contract has expired and I’ve decided to go join the Android house party and ditch the stuffy formal world of Apple. Prior to the call I did some basic market research to compare the deals on offer and found I was able to get the best deal with a different service provider.

During the call I requested my PAC (port authorisation code) which is required to move my number to another provider. As expected the call agent, understanding that I was now thinking of leaving their network said she could offer me some “extra special” loyalty offers to persuade me to stay. In the end the loyalty offers were exactly what I could obtain directly from their web page and I explained to the agent that none of her offers matched or beat competing quotes I had received from other network providers.

In the end the agent unable to match the competing offers available elsewhere or offer something of additional value.  Reluctantly the agent provided me with my PAC number but asked me to wait until after Christmas when they might have something better to offer me.  They’ve now lost a high value customer (iPhone contracts aren’t cheap).

This is a classic customer churn scenario and one ripe for Case Management. For starters the agent was not empowered by her management to offer me anything better than I could find on their web page. She was clearly tied to an inflexible process where she could only offer what was published. She had no access to competitor price data in order to compare her offer with the offer I’d received from one of her competitors. She didn’t offer to pass my case to a  senior manager with authority to make a bespoke offer.

With a Case Management application here’s how this scenario could have played out.

  1. Once contacted the agent should be able to validate the offer I’ve received from her competitors. Case Management solutions must integrate with a variety of data sources both internal and external to the organisation and present this in context to the employee. In this scenario the Case Management would provide the customer agent with not only the customer details and history extracted from their CRM system but also integrate to 3rd party data sources to provide real time competitive data to the agent.
  2. Having validated my competitive offer the agent should try and match or better it with one of their own published offers.
  3. If a match or better offer is not possible the agent should have the authority to decide whether to provide an improved offer to the customer in order to retain them. This decision could be made based on a variety of data made available to the agent via the Case Management System, for example customer payment history, potential lifetime value, other family contracts, demographic data, usage type or potential for upsell.
  4. Should the agent not be empowered to make an improved offer or if the business benefit is unclear the case management application should allow the agent to immediately contact or collaborate with a supervisor (for example via instant messaging) during the call to obtain a rapid final decision on whether to try and retain the customer.

It is well known that it costs more to obtain a new customer than retain an existing customer. Customers are unpredictable and in order to retain customers businesses processes must allow employees to manage this unpredictability. That’s where Case Management can help.

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4 thoughts on “Case Management and Customer Churn

  1. Good example of how case management might help a customer service organization. This idea of integration in order to validate the competitive offer is intriguing: this also is unpredictable. Wallmart might enter the phone market one morning, and there will be people calling in with offers from there that afternoon. The system will need to allow the agent to configure new kinds of connections on the fly. This makes that integration look more like a Google search than strict integration in any traditional sense.

    Most of this capability would be available just by using systesm/applications but the one unique aspect that case management bring to this situation is the ability to pass the “case” off to someone else (supervisor). You correctly call it collaboration, but strange how in this case it probably means passing the buck.

  2. I want to raise the following question “Why validate Peters claim” in the first place?
    Is the phone service provider not trusting Peter? Do they not know there is competition, isn`t there not always an offer to beat?

    Yes, I see some aspects where ACM could help, but the question is are we solving the Root Cause?
    Why is Peter Calling? He wants to switch from provider
    Why does Peter want to switch? Peter found another provider with a better offer
    Why is this a better offer? Peter investigated and compared contracts and phones (via the Web)
    Why did Peter investigated contracts and phones? Peter his contract has expired
    Why is Peter contract experired? A contract is valid for a certain period.

    The obvious trigger is the expiration of the contract. Like most of us this upcoming event triggered Peter and he started to do his research and make choices. The internet is a great help in doing research, compare and make choices – Peter can do it from his desk but the question remains why is he doing it on his own and even worse why is he doing it at all?

    Did the phone service provider treat him badly the last 2 years, if yes its bad but is there any guarantee that the new one will not even behave worse?

    I believe the true value of ACM will NOT be in the collaboration with supervisors (asking for decision making is not empowerment) but is in collaboration with the customers, in this case Peter. If a company becomes truly customer oriented and this will only be the case if the employees like the person of the call center that Peter spoke with are committed and are trusted to give advise and make decisions in the interest of the Customer and the Company.

    You dont need to be an Einstein to predict what happens when a contract expires. Why not building a relationship with Peter your valuable customer. As service provider you know everything about Peters phone usage patterns, you have access to all the latest news and know exactly the specs of upcoming new phones. You can build a relationship and provide him with an offer that cannot be refused even before the contract expires. Important although is that relationships exist only between people, meaning Peter does not wants to be treated as a contract number, he prefers to speak, chat and email with the same person if possible and if not possible the other person should know the details and history of his previous conversations and above all the GOAL of those conversations. This is where the true value of ACM comes to the table, the case evolves, goals are set, reached and new goals are formulated, information is exchanged via different channels, business rules are there to guide and where necessary control (boundary rules), other people are sometimes involved e.g. technical support at wish and preferably Peter can access his own customer case via the internet and mobile.

    Just another view on the typical customer care scenarios 😉

  3. Hi Freddie, thanks for your post. As I mention in my white paper there are three stakeholders in the customer relationship; the customer, the business and the employee/case worker. The case worker has to balance the needs of his customer as well as those of his business in order to reach the most appropriate decaion. To do this they need not only the historical customer data you mention but also for example internal cost data and competitor information order to decide how low they need to go to prevent the customer churn. This why I suggest the case worker should validate the competitor offer.

    Businesses can empower their employees yet still impose light touch rules or guide rails so the employee doesn’t give away the farm to satisfy their customer.

  4. There can be many competitors and you can bleed yourself to dead to keep up with competitor info finding out that there will be always a more competing offer then you can afford if you want to be a healthy company on the longterm. A much simpler way is to define what the minimum price is and stick to it regardless of what competition is doing. When you loose out on competition you need to reduce somehow the cost and/or add more value and determine you`re new lowest price.

    But i do understand what you and Keith envision.I see unlocking information from other systems valuable but only making sense if we are able to compare apples with apples meaning we need a vocabulaire and definitions that clearly define what for example COST means. Is it Cost per month or Year, is it in Dollars, does it include insurance, is it per minute, etc etc. and it has to be accepted by all stakeholders including the Customer.

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