Chris does Content - the website of Chris Worth, technology copywriter

Rapide / Rant & Rave Thought Bubbles

Some of the Thought Bubbles

I created concepts, gathered and analysed data, and wrote the lot as a programme spanning a year plus. (Rant & Rave was later sold to the USA’s Upland Software for $44m.)

10 ways telephony providers can enhance their customer experience

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: The core competencies of telephony providers – voice and data, messaging and minutes – are fast becoming commodities. With the bars of SLA and QoS consistently high, how can sector players differentiate their services?

Technology company Rapide believes the answer lies in enhancing the customer experience – with cases from customers using its proactive communication solution, Inform & Interact and real-time feedback solution, Rant & Rave, as examples.

From connecting with celebrities in consumer mobile, to transcribing spoken comments for an integrated provider of business telephony, this paper presents ten ideas for making the most of a resource telephony providers have in abundance – the ability to talk and listen.

12 ways for retailers to act on customer feedback

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Retailers are expert at collecting responses from customers: the in-store questionnaire, the web survey, the focus group. But in today’s connected world – where a single Tweet can reach millions and one media story can colour people’s views forever – do such methods give the whole story?

Technologists Rapide used two tools to explore this question. One a multi-channel short code (66099) that shoppers could call, text or send a picture message to in order to share their thoughts about any brand. Two, the Rant & Rave natural-language sentiment engine to collect and analyse this spontaneous customer feedback. (Here we study feedback collected in a single day at several London retail locations including Oxford Street and Westfield Stratford.) The sample ran to over 1,000 discrete utterances containing several thousand data points of interest.

Using standard statistical methods, this Thought Bubble explores how even a small number of off-the-cuff comments can – if they’re made without the constraints of a formal survey – deliver genuine customer insight. Equally important, how they can turn abstract ideas into quantified business value according to well-known retail metrics, including sales/sq ft and street footfall.

Based on this work, Rapide concludes freeform, natural-language customer feedback has immense value for today’s retailers.

The softer side of the Call Centre

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Inhouse or outsourced, many Call Centres rely on the same simple metrics, such as handling times and call-completion rates. Such “hard” measures allow effective cost control and resource planning – yet today’s Service Level Agreements increasingly look for “soft” outcomes like brand values and emotional experience. Outcomes that are far harder to measure.

So how can Call Centre Managers drive business improvement, when the information they need to do so isn’t in an easily quantified format? This Rapide Thought Bubble looks at the rich non-numerical data end-customers provide as part of any Call Centre interaction . . . and howit can be analysed and acted upon. Using nine basic ideas, Call Centres can:

  • Reduce resourcing requirement by 30 days/yr
  • Cut customer complaints by over a third
  • Achieve response rates of 35-90%
  • Increase volume of debt collected by 4x or more
  • Increase customer satisfaction scores by 50%
  • Leverage 75% greater insight than human analysts alone
  • Drive £1m/yr in incremental revenues with a single process change

To learn how – even when the Call Centre is thousands of miles from the Head Office – read on.

The utility of real-time communication

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Most organisations look at their operations on a regular basis, seeking to cut costs or improve efficiency – it’s a normal part of performance management. But one sector that spans both private and public enterprise – the utilities sector – is different. Regulated by strict service agreements put in place by government policy, utilities have a legal obligation to deliver service above a certain level.

More and more utilities are realising they can’t deliver superior operational performance without the ability to manage it in real-time – conducting customer and employee communications at the point of service delivery, rather than with monthly reviews or survey questionnaires. A number of them use Rapide’s Communications Suite and Feedback Suite to do it.

In this Thought Bubble, we’ll take a look at some of these companies – and how a typical regulator, Britain’s OFWAT, sets them standards to live up to.

Emotional loyalty: the missing piece

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Loyalty schemes work well for tracking purchase patterns and allocating bonuses. But true loyalty requires something extra: an understanding of the emotional bond your customer has with you, and the actions you should take to develop it positively.

In this Thought Bubble, we explore how Rapide’s technology uses the concept of Moments of Truth to define when a customer’s emotional bond with you can benefit most from positive action. From experience spanning 12 years and over 500m customer interactions, it uses real customer success stories to demonstrate:

  • How some moments matter more than others;
  • How those moments are identified by enabling customers to respond in natural language through their chosen channel;
  • And how large volumes of resulting data can be aggregated, analysed, and used for insight – all while enabling the customer to be treated as an individual.

Rapide supports its ideas with solid results from working with over half of the FTSE, including response rates rising from 18% to 52% in the utilities sector, incremental revenues of £1.2m for a hotel chain, and other examples from hospitality and retail.

Why it pays to be anti-social

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Several commentators claim Twitter and blogs aren’t the right media for interacting with customers, since 90% of your audience doesn’t use them. These commentators have drawn the right conclusion – but from the wrong premise.

Rapide, the Moments of Truth company, believes it’s not about users vs non-users . . . but about forward-looking vs backward-looking. 19 out of 20 customers won’t communicate in any way before they fall out of your orbit forever – so basing your customer feedback strategy on looking for the 20th is like gazing permanently in the rear-view mirror. How can marketers keep their eyes on the road ahead instead?

Why moments matter

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: We all think about customer loyalty. But what exactly is it?

It’s not about cards or points or cashbacks. As Saatchi & Saatchi’s Richard Hytner says, “I give you my data you give me your points. When else in life would that be called loyalty?”

At Rapide, we believe loyalty arises at “Moments of Truth” – key touchpoints along the customer journey where engagement with the brand is unusually strong. Interact in the right way – with information, choices, even just a means to talk back – and you can turn customers into lifelong Advocates.

But here’s the catch: you’ve got to do it in real-time. Not when they get home or when you email them a monthly survey. Moments of Truth happen right here, right now.

Here’s a story of one business traveller’s journey into loyalty and advocacy. You’ll recognise him. After all: he’s you.

The ideas, services, and technology the traveller engages with are real and in use among Rapide’s customers today . . .