Finding the ‘Blue Envelope’

In the world of interaction analytics everything is defined by key words and phrases.

What are the customers saying?

What are the agents saying?

What are the customers unhappy about?

What do the customers want?

These questions formulate the foundation of Interaction Analytics.

As analysts, we scour the earth to find the appropriate words and phrases for our categorizations, adding anything and everything that could pull positive results, knowing we will have to tune them out later. These categories can end up being successful but we know in our hearts we didn’t ‘nail it’, we didn’t capture the true objective of what we were trying to in the first place.

What if there was a simpler way? What if there was an easier, more streamlined approach to creating the categories that would benefit not only yourself and your customers but the entire industry? It’s out there waiting for you to find it – It’s called the Blue Envelope.

On a recent engagement with one of my customers we started by reviewing their overall business, as well as their goals and objectives, and documenting their current environment. This process is critical in identifying true meaningful business objectives that will have meaning to the company. This involves many face-to-face meetings with different levels of management in order to gain perspective and insight into each level and their understanding of the situation. During this process, our Business Consulting team will sit with agents speaking directly to the customers as well to observe the conversations directly.

The business I was working with for this particular example was looking for a specific circumstance in their calls. The strategic intent of the business and call center is to get social security recipients qualified for a benefit where the government will not take taxes out of their social security checks. This involves a detailed process of qualification, which results in many calls about the same or similar topics, making categorization difficult. Our client wanted to know when the customers had been approved and called back as that signifies payment for their company and they wanted to make sure those calls are pushed through to finalization.

We brainstormed phrases that customers and agents would say and tried to find phonetically unique verbiage to bring this category to life. We were running into a brick wall and could not find anything of substance, so I asked to sit with some agents.

I asked to sit with an agent who spoke to directly the customers and who had a good idea of the processes involved in maintain both the relationship and the goals of the business. I always ask for a straight shooter and someone who will have no issue telling me like it really is. I have found this approach usually works and I get what I ask for. Trevor was no different and was the key to finding the phrase we were looking for.

I sat with Trevor, a sharp agent with the company’s best interest in mind. He understood their mission, enjoyed his job and did well at it. We talked process and communication for a while and then he was ready to take calls. I listened to him talk to different customers and continued to take notes, clearly seeing how this was going to prove a difficult path to go down given the nature of the conversations and the likeness of the phrases.

Then he said something that caught my interest:

“And when you receive that blue envelope, go ahead and give us a call back.”

I waited until the call was over and asked Trevor what the blue envelope signified. He explained that when the customer was approved and accepted into the program they were sent a blue envelope which contained the details on how to finalize the process. The agents would tell them specifically to call back when they get the blue envelope. The customer would call back and say ‘I have my blue envelope.’

The ‘blue envelope’ was the phonetic golden nugget we had been looking for, and would allow us to categorize calls around successful enrollments and meet the exact business objective the business did not originally think we would be able to achieve. It was a homerun for the engagement and came about after we had convinced ourselves that the unique phrase could not be found!

When it comes to lexicon creation and speech analytics, always remember the ‘Blue Envelope’. A hundred ‘okay’ phrases will never match the power that the ‘Blue Envelope’ holds. Always listen for the phonetically unique phrases that identify the ultimate business objective, and always be vigilant in trying to find it because the end result will be well worth the effort.  The key is to not give up, even if it the work to date has not revealed a phrase of significance, keep talking and keep an open mind. The ’Blue Envelope’ is there somewhere waiting for you to find it.

With this customer it turned out that they had different colored envelopes for different stages of the process. The categorization became very simple from this point forward. We were easily able to identify the chain of calls with their customers with very simple, highly accurate lexicons comprised of one phrase: ‘Blue Envelope’, ‘Green Envelope’, ‘Red Envelope’, ‘Yellow Envelope’, etc.

In the world of Interaction Analytics it is easy to make things complicated. It is easy to create advanced formulas around a simple business objective and make the formula so confusing it’s difficult to explain in words to the operation that uses it. What I propose is a simpler, more powerful, more accurate and more transparent way of using Interaction Analytics in your business.

Next time you are creating categorization for Interaction Analytics, think about the blue envelope. What is the key phrase that hones in directly on your business objective and makes the category a huge success? If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. The blue envelope is hiding in the conversation waiting for you to find it.

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