In 2008/9 after 5 years of Benchmarking and a £1m investment, Jamie Lywood and Professors’ Yuksel Ekinci and Merlin Stone were able to declare a very high correlation between Empathy, as demonstrated by an agent toward a Customer, and Profitability. This, we understand, is the World’s first profit correlation of its kind in the Customer Experience space and marks a serious turning point in the world of measurement and insight.
View 'Academic Journal' outlining the correlation with Profit
View current UK & EMEA 'ASPIRE60' Companies
View Standard Companies included in previous benchmark - 2004-9
The methodology is very different to more typical Customer Satisfaction and Advocacy measures (e.g. ACSI, NPS etc.). Instead of collecting and relying on customer feedback for insight, empathy is measured by assessing the behaviours and attitudes of agents when dealing with the customer. This has obvious advantages and has proven highly reliable when assessing the technique through academic principles.
· The sample is of a higher ratio and is statistically significant
· The target area can be easily segmented and is very focussed
· Findings are comparable to all other functions, channels and industries
· The whole approach is unobtrusive and does not create, nor contribute to, customer feedback fatigue
· The outcomes are easily actionable, generating training needs and supporting both internal and external customer feedback techniques
· The research can take place on demand
· The findings clearly define indicators of ‘Culture’ and identify organisational responsibility for performance and change.
Together with SOCAP and Oxford Brookes University Business School, we are conducting the most influential and strategic benchmark supporting Customer Experience Initiatives throughout the World. We will build on the correlation with profit already established in 2009 and feedback to participating companies insight as to how they are making their customers feel, relative performance indicators within their peer groups and cross-industry analysis. We will carry out rigorous research into the findings on causality, better practice and correlation with other performance indicators and look at predictive analysis and anything else the very brainy research team at Oxford Brookes Business School can reliably assess.
We use a dedicated and accredited research group (recruited, trained and monitored) to carry out the analysis on recorded calls. You supply us with recordings (alternatively we go on-site or make the calls ourselves). These are filtered for fairness, quality and security before distribution to the researchers via a secure ftp (file transfer protocol) site. We listen to calls the before carrying out analysis. The key stages of analysis include:
There are a total of 58 questions (13 Process / 6 Competency and 39 Empathy) which far exceeds the number you are able to ask Customers directly.
New for 2011 includes a series of 'Likelihood to Refer' questions which help those of you who are already carrying out NPS or advocacy measures to determine whether the referral is because of the relationship, the process or the product or service being offered.
Also new are some Competency questions which will help in the final analysis and support the identification of training needs.
All the questions have been designed to give immediate and valuable insight to your commissioning team and to provide the greatest opportunity for longer term analysis to be carried out by Oxford Brookes University Business School.
For over eighteen years Empathy Audits have been sponsored by, and reported to, the Boards of major companies and organisations. The value for Board Members is to experience how it actually feels to be a customer of their organisations and to sponsor change in those areas which are culturally driven.
I remember one particular Board Member of a very large UK Bank saying: “You mean we are suppressing the individuality of the people we are recruiting specifically for their personality?”
Needless to say the knock-on effect of a cloning process identified was the failure of the Bank to retain the staff they were so desperately trying to recruit. The cost associated with this included recruitment, training and the loss of retained competencies - not to mention cultural implications.
On another occasion we carried out a huge piece of work for the CEO of a FTSE100 company. Whilst we prepared an experiential presentation for the Board, the management team insisted that we also write a 400 page report because, we are told, ‘this is how the Board likes to receive information’. The report cost more money and delayed the reporting of the findings by 3 weeks. We presented the findings to the CEO and his team experientially and, at the end, a manager proudly presented the 400 page report. The CEO said “why do I need that? I have just experienced everything I need to know”.
A Board Member sponsor is essential to help create and sustain an environment where empathetic behaviours can thrive. Often bringing the opportunity and need to cut through red-tape and bring to the table a refreshing reality and wake up call to those that religiously feel the need to follow process.
The findings of the Empathy Audits are often used to support evidence-based compliance reporting to regulatory authorities on issues such as TCF (Treating Customers Fairly) – the Directors and Non-Executive Directors of organisations are ultimately responsible for regulatory compliance.The empathy measurement is the only known methodology to be academically proven to be highly reliable and to correlate directly with profit. This is great news for Finance Directors as they can track empathy performance against measures such as Return on Capital Employed (ROCE). In research carried out in 2009, academics indicated that a single point improvement on the empathy scale can result in a 16.4% improvement in ROCE. Worth aiming for?
Operational teams have been benefiting from the findings of empathy audits over the past 18 years with great effect. The findings of the audits help management teams to understand both trends and better practice and give clear indications of individual and team training and coaching needs. Often teams are left only with customer feedback models (CSAT and NPS) which, whilst having some merit, fail to help operational teams know what it is they have to do to improve. The findings can be presented in such a way as to engage all your people and to concentrate minds and effort on what is truly important.
Clearly the attitudes of your people and the way they behave towards your customers is a key factor in the Customer Experience and generic feedback from Customers fails to capture this. Empathy audits do. Operational managers’ responsibility is towards the people that work for them and empathy audits help them to engage all their people in such a way as to engender responsibility and a clear desire to improve their customers’ experiences.
Unlike many measures, the empathy audits can immediately be used for reward & recognition initiatives and, because they are based on an Absolute Scale, will always leave room for improvements. Internal Call Quality Performance Measures can be re-aligned and basic measures can be conducted internally leaving only the occasional external monitor.
The Empathy Audits can be used across all operational functions and have increased sales and collections, supported service and first–time resolution initiatives. It is an essential tool in the operational toolkit and makes other measures ‘make sense’.
When there is an outsourcing operation, the empathy audits are a wonderful way to monitor performance. After all, why would you let someone else answer your customers’ calls if they made your customers feel worse than your own teams? We can help position empathy audits as a part of your SLAs (Service Level Agreements).
The Empathy Audits give clear direction to training and coaching needs and can be used to engage all your people from the outset. Through the measures we can identify culturally driven behaviours and monitor post-training performances.
An option, agreed through the licensees, can ensure that you have soundbites to support the findings – this is a very powerful way to demonstrate and understand key trends and better practice.
Recruitment is made more effective and we can identify the key behavioural characteristics to aim for in a particular role. This was done very successfully for a ‘Collections Team’ when we identified the optimum behaviours to achieve the greatest returns.
The Empathy audits can be used to track the sustainability of training helping you to continually design training in a progressive manner and to work out which approaches work best in the short, middle and longer terms.
Unlike many measures the empathy audits can immediately be used for reward & recognition initiatives and, because they are based on an Absolute Scale, will always leave room for improvements. Internal Call Quality Performance Measures can be re-aligned and basic measures can be conducted internally leaving only the occasional external monitor.
The findings of Empathy Audits are entirely comparable across channels and functions and can be used by an organisation throughout their business.
Because of the cultural aspect of the measures, you do not have to measure empathy every month or even quarter. The fundamental reporting won’t change unless you have done something about it so we would recommend a minimum period of 6 months and a maximum 2 years between measures. This keeps the costs down and ensures that there is sufficient time in which to design and deliver interventions. However, and following training delivery, you may be tempted to measure every 3 months so that you can monitor the sustainability (or not) of the programme.
Understanding how your people make your customers feel is paramount in any brand, reputational or marketing initiative. Whilst Empathy Audits have enjoyed sponsorship from a very wide variety of Board Directors (CEOs, MDs, CFOs, Customer Service / Sales / Experience, Operations, Compliance, Brand and Marketing), the most successful engagement have often been supported by Marketing Directors.
So much of marketing has evolved to include ‘emotions’ as a part of the strategy and yet, this is an area of the organisation which is not usually monitored successfully. With the insight into how customers feel when interacting with the organisation in every channel and market, marketing teams can build far more successful and aligned campaigns.
Through the empathy audits we can identify key attributes and align them to marketing campaigns. Furthermore we can help to bring an entire organisation into brand alignment – so far as the way customers are made to feel.
So often the ‘feel’ customers’ experience when engaging organisations in different channels is very different and leaves a subconscious suspicion in their minds. It is essential that there is conformity in the customer experience and the empathy audits both help to align these experiences and give clear indicators of what needs to happen.
More and more interactions are covered by self-service and it is important not to underestimate the value of understanding how each of these services make your customers feel. Whether it is a simple IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system or an ATM (Automated Teller Machine) each will create a feeling in the customer using the service. For example; the Empathy Audit (Self-Serve) option identifies up to 60 elements on an ATM service that ought to be investigated by anyone wanting to make the customer feel better or to align the option with alternative channels.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) IT operations capture information on customers and identifies appropriate times and ways in which to engage each customer for the optimum outcome. One thing that these systems miss if the way a customer is made to feel by the engagement and, unless carefully monitored, can cause a deep resentment in the customer feeling which will harm the opportunity and potentially the brand as a whole.
More and more IT systems are being put into place and, knowing the correlation between empathy and profitability, it has to be an advantage to discover how each will influence the customers’ feeling. Unfortunately, if this is not done from the outset then you may have already lost the customer – never to be heard of again!
Research teams will be excited to learn about the correlation between Empathy and Profitability and will relish the opportunity to analysis the findings of an empathy audit and their own performance. Furthermore the empathy audit supports other measures such as CSAT and NPS and helps research teams to understand why the scores are the way they are.
Different from pure customer research, the empathy measures are about the attitudes and behaviours of your own colleagues and how they affect the customer experience. Research teams can carry out correlation workshops with other performance metrics or with Oxford Brookes University Business School who will have access to all the current findings and historic findings encompassing over 150 companies semi-annually over a 5 year period.
You can call Jamie Lywood on 0845 450 1750 or +44 (0)7850 202030 to find out if your organisation is one of the 150 companies that has previously been monitored under the ERIC Programme (please note that you may not be aware that your organisation was included as it was not widely publicised).
Furthermore, inclusion will benchmark how you make your customers feel against 60 of the best companies in the UK & EMEA (or the relevant Territory) and 100 companies throughout the World. You will be given access to all the findings and, through your SOCAP Membership, be given the opportunity to participate in study tours and forums to further enhance your knowledge of empathy in the workplace.
Compathy maintains a comprehensive research grant to continually study empathy in business. Oxford Brooks University Business School, led by Professor Yuksel Ekinci and supported by Jamie Lywood (MD of Compathy) and Professor’s Merlin Stone and Bryan Foss, will conduct the research. The research is made available exclusively to Licensees so that they can improve and design their interventions for clients more appropriately. By working with the Licensees to enhance your findings you can benefit from the findings of this research programme.
· You supply 120 calls from your target Contact Centre. These are filtered for sound quality; fairness / appropriateness; security and collection distribution. Personal and sensitive data is removed from the calls and 40 are distributed to Accredited Researchers via a very secure FTP site.
· The Researchers (who are CRB checked) listen to the interactions and carry out 3rd party analysis online. They identify soundbites that can be used for any future experiential presentations to client organisations to support the findings and make them come alive.
· The analysis and comments are monitored and quality checked
· The findings go live on the dedicated online portal for client access - estimated time from receipt of calls to publication – 1-2 weeks
Once the analysis is complete you will be able to access your findings online. You will be able to focus your search on the following criteria by:
Territory - example - UK & EMEA, Americas, Australasia, ASIA or ASPIRE100 (Global)
Industry - example - All, Credit Cards, Loans, Life Insurance, Mail-Order Clothing, Telephone Banking, Motor Insurance, Savings, Public Sector, Health Insurance, Mortgages etc.
Function - example - All, Sales, Service, Help Desk, Complaints, Back Office, etc.
Date - example - Latest ASPIRE Benchmark / Month & Year
Company reports will automatically be made into .pdf documents for saving or downloading
CSV files can be requested for further analysis
Comparisons can be made on a question-by-question basis
Sample Report - Orange Mobile Phone Report - June 2009
Walk-through example of Primary Analysis of Report - Orange Mobile Phone Primary Analysis - not included in cost but available through Licensees
· You will be introduced to the Licensee Group for your Territory and you will have the opportunity to working with them for secondary analysis and solutions work. The Licensees have access to all the latest research and tools and techniques developed either by them independently or available to them under their License agreements. This includes all the historic research developed by Harding & Yorke over 18 years.
· Licensees will offer secondary analysis from a conference call 'walk-through' to a full presentation of the findings including soundbites, competitive analysis and facilitated workshop to discover root causes and strategic development
· Licensees are fully equipped to support benchmark participants in training, coaching, and re-alignment of internal call quality performance measures
· Comparable measures can also be included from face-2-face interactions, correspondence (letter and email), internal engagements as well as across functions including Complaints; Collections; Sales; Service; Help Desks; etc.
Your company name, territory, industry and function will be included in the analysis and other participants will be able to view your findings if your scores are registered in the top 60. If your overall score is outside the top 60 then your findings will be confidential and available only to you.
You are provided with a User Name and Password for a secure Log in
Compathy will introduce you to the Licensee group so that you can decide how you want to take the findings forward.
· Being one of the best companies in the World at making your customers feel good is high praise indeed and Compathy will work with organisations both internally and externally to exploit this opportunity. Often, we will ask you whether you would be happy for us to write up your story as a case study and to attend conferences with us, or your chosen licensee, as co-speakers.
· Licensee analysts are happy to investigate with you, your own scores and correlations with other metrics (either financial or operational) and to write up documents for outside news and press stories as required.
· You will benefit from SOCAP Membership – including
o Discounts on a number of services including participation in this programme
o Information and Knowledge
o Forums and other networking activities
o Assessment and Accreditation
o Organisation and Professional Development
o Professional Benefits
You will be participating in possibly the most influential and strategic benchmark programme yet and, as such, you will be entitled to the research findings carried out by Oxford Brooks University Business School and eminent academics. These findings will help you design and drive your strategy and ensure differentiation.
We have had over 18 years experience of working with organisations post-empathy audit results and each has its own issues and opportunities. However there are some commonalities that include:
· Communication Programmes
The empathy Audits offer a fantastic opportunity to engage all your people and to present the findings experientially. The option of working with the Licensee Group to include Soundbites will bring the findings to life and helps to create an immediate sense of joint responsibility and a desire to improve the customer experience.
· Internal Call Quality Performance Metrics
The presentation of the findings will have an immediate effect on your people and promote positive change. However this is unlikely to be sustained without aligning other internal metrics to your aspirations. The Licensee group will work with your people to design effective internal call quality metrics that meet all your needs and ensure the sustainability of improvements made.
· Training Design and Delivery
The findings of the Empathy Audit give clear and unbiased direction on training needs and the success (or not) of previous interventions. You will identify those areas which are culturally driven and will require a different approach to those that are more skills driven. For this benchmark we have introduced a series of ‘Competency’ based questions which further support training needs. If you intend to depend entirely on the empathy audit findings to inform your training needs we recommend using the Licensee Group to carry out on-site discovery visits in combination. This further endorses the findings and helps build an optimum training package that will be styled specifically to your people.
· Reward & Recognition Programmes
Unlike many measures, the empathy findings can be used immediately for reward and recognition programmes. The findings are comparable with empathy measures across an entire business and additional questions can be added (at an additional expense) to represent you own particular corporate values. R&R programmes keep empathy initiatives alive and ensures that the way your customers feel are a top priority.
· Correlation Workshops
We know that the empathy measurement methodology is both reliable and correlated with profit. Correlation workshops allow you to assess financial and other performance metrics to the empathy findings. See if your CSAT or NPS scores are reflected in how your people’s behaviour makes your customers feel or, if you are one of the 150 companies measured between 2004 and 2009, you can access the historic findings and correlate your performance to known financial data. Academics believe that a 1 point increase in the empathy scale is equivalent to a 16.4% increase in your Return on Capital Employed!
· Coaching and Mentoring
Sustain an environment where empathy can thrive requires coaching either at a team or individual level – preferably both. You can work with the Licensee Group to design coaching and mentoring programmes to meet your needs and budgets. The Licensees can adopt a coach-a-coach self-supporting programme through to a fully supported external coaching programme.
· Leadership Course
The findings of the empathy audit will always draw your attention to Leadership and help you to understand those areas that will improve with appropriate Leadership Skills. The Licensee Group have a huge amount of experience in designing and implementing Leadership courses and will provide you with a KnowledgeBank supplemented by Compathy’s own expertise and ongoing research programme.
· Empathetic Scripting (IVR, Self-Serve and Agent)
Working with your people is clear and obvious. What is not so obvious is the way your customers are made to feel by pre-agent or self-serve engagements. The Licensee Group can support scripting and help you to design interactions that both fit with your desired experience and meet customer expectations.
· Expansion to include measures on Correspondence, E-mail and Face-2-Face interactions
One of the features of the empathy audit is its compatibility and comparability with similar measures performed in other areas of your business. The Licensee Group can carry out empathy measures in almost any part of your business in any part of the World (dependent on appropriate territorial licenses being held). This means that you can get a clear and concise comparable measures across your entire business. Group, Brand and Marketing functions find this particularly useful.
· Brand Alignment and Marketing Strategy
The Licensee Group are delighted to work with you and your internal or external brand and marketing specialists to design strategies that meets with the current and aspirational empathy shown by your people. For outsourced centres developing a brand consistent with the parent company and the outsourcer is paramount and will optimise performance.
The absolute scale used in the empathy methodology is key to providing valid and accurate measures on the questions set.
Please go to: How we use the Absolute Scale
To participate in this Benchmark Audit you must be:
o An existing SOCAP Member
o Join SOCAP as a part of the discounted package
o Sponsored by a Licensee (costs will be supplied directly by the Licensee)
We have listed the costs for participation for SOCAP Members and those choosing to join SOCAP and enjoy the benefits of Membership together with their benchmark measure in the ‘Something4Everyone’ Programme
For an existing Premier SOCAP Member the cost of participation in this benchmark is £2,800 plus VAT - a saving of 20% (£700)
For an existing Corporate SOCAP Member the cost of participation in this Benchmark is £2,950 plus VAT - a saving of 15% (£525.00)For an existing Business SOCAP Member the cost of participation in this Benchmark is £3,150 plus VAT - a saving of 10% (£350.00)
For a more detailed breakdown please go to: How much does participation cost?
Costs to join SOCAP are:
Premier Member - £2,000
Corporate Member - £1,500
Business Member - £ 500
Please send an email to Something4Everyone@compathy.co.uk to register your interest. Registration does NOT commit you to participation or any costs, but does give us the opportunity to talk to you to see how we can best meet your needs.
We will be in touch shortly - Thank you