How Microsoft translates customer insights into pure business need

Microsoft’s director of customer service and business program manager detail the road to success for the brand’s customer service and support team

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Customer care

As today’s customers are bombarded with surveys and emails, feedback response rates can suffer. This environment leaves brands scrambling to get the insight they need to drive their businesses forward. Microsoft’s customer service and support team has discovered a recipe for CX success using customer feedback which has unlocked a number of business benefits and reduced the volume of customer complaints.

Speaking exclusively to CX Network ahead of their keynote session at CXN LIVE: Feedback and Satisfaction, Michelle Huenink, director of customer service and Melinda Ritchie, business program manager at Microsoft share a sneak preview into their customer service and support team at the multinational technology company.

Microsoft employs approximately 144,000 people in full-time positions worldwide and 60 per cent of them are based in the US - where does your team fit into this?

Michelle Huenink: My team sits within the ‘customer service and support’ department as the ‘CX and analytics’ team. We focus on insights and deep analytics from crisis and escalation support cases by finding their root causes, and partnering with the rest of the organization to improve the CX.

Melinda Ritchie: I sit in Michelle’s team in customer field engagement and I’m responsible for the analytics program. My role is to act as a data translator and serve as the connective tissue for the data team and the rest of the business. Because of my background in data science, I’m able to have one foot in data, and one foot in business and translate our insights into a pure business need.

Your session will explore how advanced analytics, machine learning, and AI have given you the tools to streamline your operations - what are your key lessons learned?

Ritchie: The biggest learning is in coordination. The sheer size of Microsoft, the amount of tools, systems and people in the business, coordinating these elements in a positive way and having clear end-to-end visibility on department activities so we are not siloed is an unusually large undertaking.

Secondly, it’s time. The work we are doing is so specific that it involves getting permission for accessing other people's data and tools which requires effort and copious amounts of data scrubbing and cleaning. The bigger the organization, the more work that needs to be done.

Huenink: From the business’ perspective, it is important to bring folks along the journey early-on in the process so you can illuminate the opportunity to them.

Speaking about the business, how did you get management buy-in for CX projects?

Huenink: I have engineers in my team looking at opportunities to address gaps and we are developing pilot tests on how to bring projects out-to-scale. A lot of the groundwork for this has been through organic discussions on trends in customer expectations.

We are now engaging with leaders and management to ensure that various departments take the responsibility to feed the data insights we give them to the parts of the business that need it. We are now at a point where we put everything into a white paper and take it to leadership.

What should we expect to see in your webinar?

Huenink: A lot of our work in the crisis and escalation department has moved from being reactive to problems, to being proactive about the customers’ experience.

In our session, we will take a deep dive into how we reduced the number of complaints by using predictive analytics and improved our frontline response using voice of the customer feedback.

Join Michelle Huenink and Melinda Ritchie’s online event session on March 11 at 09:30ET to get first-hand access to their success story.

Image: Microsoft Press Center: The flagship Microsoft Store in Sydney, located at Westfield Sydney on Pitt Street Mall