If you’ve ever spent any time on a river — particularly a river where there is a rapid current or white water — you have likely witnessed an eddy. An eddy is a circular movement of water, counter to a main current, causing a small whirlpool. It looks something like this:

A river eddy occurs when there is an object interrupting the main current or water flow. This could be a large boulder or a downed tree. The water that enters an eddy cycles in a circular motion and smaller objects can get stuck inside the ever-spinning whirlpool.

In our work, we at AuthentiCx have been observing a similar phenomenon experienced by many customers in their interactions with companies and their brands. This negative customer experience occurs when the ideal customer journey flow is obstructed due to a barrier, such as ineffective business processes or poor service. In these situations, customers are not able to obtain the product or service they expected, necessitating a reversal back to the company to try to remove the obstacle.

At AuthentiCx, we call this “The Eddy Effect.” And it is very, very common.

How Common is the Eddy Effect for Customers?

Have you ever ordered something at the fast food drive-thru, only to find that after you drove away half your order was missing?  Or, perhaps, you’ve been told by a customer service representative to “check back tomorrow”?  Or maybe you have purchased something online but never received your purchase confirmation email, so you had to call into the company who sold you the product to make sure the order went through?

These are all examples of being caught in the Eddy Effect.

At AuthentiCx, this is often one of the first, and biggest, problems we tackle with our clients. Almost every company we’ve worked with has a few eddies, and some have a lot. We’ve seen it be responsible for as much as 40% of inbound customer contacts. That means that these eddies are a huge driver of bad customer interactions.

Now, I know what you are thinking. “We measure First Contact Resolution in our company. We’ve got this problem under control.” To which I would ask: are you sure? There are many ways to game First Contact Resolution metrics to make it appear that your customer contacts are “one and done.” Are you validating your metrics, or just trusting the numbers?

If you haven’t explored the depths of your own customer interaction data to uncover potential eddies, try the following first 2 steps:

  • Identify the average number of non-purchase related inbound contacts per customer and the average length of time in between contacts from the same customer.
  • Perform listening and analysis to understand the customers’ reasons for these contacts. Explore beyond the system’s standard call reason code reports. You need to truly uncover the root cause, from the customer’s perspective.

From here, you can begin to formulate themes and diagnose what is causing your eddies: ineffective business processes, gaps in training, technology errors, etc.

Why Does the Eddy Effect Matter?

Preventing eddies in your customer experience is worthy work, and not only because it immensely improves your customers’ impressions of your brand. The effort also tackles drains on your company’s profitability. After all, correcting them impacts your team’s time, effort and energy. If eddy-related inbound contacts comprise as much as 40% of your inbound traffic, imagine what fixing them could do for your budget.

Worried you have eddies, but don’t have the infrastructure to discover them? Let AuthentiCx help. We’re experts in finding the insights hiding among your customer interactions.

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