Lorraine Kelleher at Spearline explains why it is essential that organizations not only measure the hard ROI, but also the softer, less quantifiable returns.
Businesses often invest heavily in communications networks to connect their employees with customers, suppliers, and with each other.
The reliability and quality of these networks directly impact business performance. Therefore, it is worthwhile to invest in the management of communications networks and their quality.
Organizations are constantly battling to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) to their finance teams from decisions regarding their personnel, financial, and resource allocations. Typically, utilizing ROI ensures businesses make well-informed and rational decisions.
Often, it is viewed as quantifiable, fiscal measures such as the revenue generated or cost savings. This is described as hard ROI and tends to be traditionally thought of in an overall context.
Unfortunately, businesses rarely account for the soft ROI that can also be achieved through the investments they make.
Traditional hard ROI includes increased revenues and market share, and lower labor turnover. While these are all crucial to the success of organizations worldwide, it can leave blind spots if the softer, less tangible ROI is not examined.
Soft ROI factors may not have a straightforward, easy to calculate impact, but they are often indirectly linked to future financial return. Examples of this include brand awareness, brand reputation, and customer experience.
Soft ROI has been shown as imperative for the long-term future of an organization and to ensure a holistic experience for customers and employees.
While there are significant benefits to the hard ROI achieved by improving telecoms networks for businesses, there are also many soft ROI implications that must be carefully considered and understood.
Customers have shared with us that in addition to hard ROI, they have discovered a number of unexpected softer ROI benefits from monitoring their numbers.
Employee Satisfaction & Productivity
Through investment in improving the communications network within an organization, the audio quality experience is significantly improved for both customers and employees. Agents can better understand the caller and resolve problems in a much more efficient manner.
Higher worker satisfaction has been shown to dramatically increase worker productivity. This means lower levels of employee turnover and resultant training costs. In addition, monitoring ensures peace of mind for organizations and reduced time spent troubleshooting and firefighting issues.
Customer Experience & Retention
Ensuring that it is easy for consumers and prospects to interact with the organization increases the level of satisfaction a customer experiences. As such, brand reputation is enhanced, along with customer loyalty and a reduction in customer churn.
Additionally, better audio quality leads to quicker resolution times and fewer complaints.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) details how companies can gain measurable advantages when customers feel appreciated. Technological and network improvements increase speed, convenience, and the knowledge of employees during interactions.
Positive customer experiences also help callers to feel understood and valued by the organization. These exchanges help to reduce friction and to forge a relationship between both parties.
Research in the United Kingdom indicated that, on average, 45% of all inbound calls result in a new inquiry or sale. In the UK alone, this generates new revenues of US $393 billion for businesses. Better customer experience leads to tangible benefits for organizations.
PwC also suggests that customers are willing to pay a 16% price premium for such enhanced experiences. Additionally, positive interactions lead to increased loyalty and higher occurrences of repeat business or purchase.
Bain & Company detail that companies that offer superior customer service can see revenue growth of 8% above the market average.
While this revenue impact may not be initially attributable to specific investments, investigation and discussions with prospects and customers can uncover the true value of the achieved ROI.
Through optimization of telecommunications networks, a multiplier effect can be enabled for sales and marketing efforts. Delighted customers are likely to speak positively to friends and family about the brand and its products or services.
After all, word of mouth is one of the most valuable forms of advertising for any business. It is also a discrete form of free advertising which does not negatively reflect on the business or cause interested parties to shy away due to intrusive targeted advertising or cold calling.
Costs become significantly reduced as less employee time and resources are being used to troubleshoot issues. Proactive monitoring allows organizations to rapidly identify issues before they cause a problem for customers.
All alerts are also accompanied by detailed CDRs (call detail records), which can be provided to carriers and service providers to ensure prompt resolution.
This allows highly skilled engineers and technicians to focus their time on revenue-generating areas of the business rather than firefighting problems and trying to determine the root cause of issues. Another positive aspect of this is a significant reduction in costly ticket escalation.
To accurately determine the ROI achieved through investments, it is essential that organizations not only measure the hard ROI, but also the soft, less quantifiable returns. Softer measures, in particular, have a significant correlation with the development of positive relationships with customers.
This subsequently results in benefits such as repeat purchases and word-of-mouth referrals. These positive exposures are vital to ensure the success of organizations and their brands. Hard ROI can easily be captured through financial metrics and calculations.
In comparison, soft ROI will take longer to establish and requires a commitment to in-depth discovery and research. Yet, it can be crucial in establishing the real potential of investments across a myriad of business areas, including the telecoms network.