Predicting Customer Experience: Moving Beyond Surveys

The Total Customer Experience (TCE) team enables EMC’s business growth through a customer-focused data-driven strategy. The team encompasses all elements of the relationship with customers and partners through their end-to-end journey with EMC. We utilize customer feedback and internal business metrics to advocate for customers and drive business strategies.

At EMC World held May 4-7, 2015 in Las Vegas, EMC’s TCE booth will host a sci-fi theme. As a result, the TCE group has been having wide-spread sci-fi discussions but especially about Star Trek. One topic has been the amazing technology predictions from the series that have come true. Given that the original series was broadcast in the 1960’s, the vision of Gene Roddenberry and the production staff was truly remarkable.

Back on Earth on Stardate 68771.2 (April 22, 2015 for non-Trekkies), the popularity of Customer Experience (CX) as a new mantra of business has resulted in a tidal wave of feedback programs. From a consumer standpoint nearly every transaction in our lives is followed by a survey. This preponderance of surveys has the potential to negatively affect customer experience.

To counter this, Customer Experience programs need to move beyond surveys and innovate intelligent ways to evaluate customer satisfaction and loyalty. At EMC, we have begun to use our collected CX feedback to predict customer satisfaction without the need for a survey. Advancements in big data and statistical analysis tools make it possible to identify impact drivers and trigger points of satisfaction at a fine level of granularity from collected survey data. By applying this analysis against UN-surveyed events, EMC can reasonably predict customer satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, without the need for direct customer feedback.

At this time, EMC receives transaction survey responses from only 1.2% of all surveyable events handled by our Customer Services organizations. (To put this into context, this still equates to over 60,000 responses each year.) From the analysis of these responses, we are able to predict when dissatisfaction may occur in the other 98.8% of activities. The Predictive Insights Program is designed to address this broad potential for dissatisfaction.

The long-term goals of the Predictive Insights Program are to:

  • Reduce the frequency and volume of EMC’s survey programs;
  • Extend the reach of captured survey data by projecting results onto events that are not surveyed; and
  • Take action on predicted dissatisfaction.

The ultimate objective of the Predictive Insights Program is to embed the statistical prediction model directly into EMC’s call/ticket management system to identify and address issues in service delivery in real-time and proactively before the issues generate customer dissatisfaction.

Since initial deployment, we’ve measured the accuracy of the prediction model to be approximately 65%. In other words, 65% of the time that the model predicts that a customer may be dissatisfied, EMC’s follow-up by a Service Manager did reveal that the customer had some level of dissatisfaction. It is the goal of EMC’s CX team to reach a 75% accuracy level before the model is embedded into our call system.

Once dissatisfaction is predicted, the responsible Service Manager for that event is systematically notified and is required to follow-up with the customer to identify and address any dissatisfaction.

Currently, the Predictive Insights Program is deployed in a subset of service groups that have historically underperformed in satisfaction metrics. The results are showing great promise. For example:

  • Up to 79% of participating Service Managers indicate that the predictive follow-up improved satisfaction with Customer Services and their overall experience with EMC;
  • The improvement in the customer satisfaction levels within participating organizations is 50% faster than non-participating organizations;
  • The number of responses to the Customer Services transaction survey increased by 180% for participating service groups compared to non-participating group as customers better understand how we take action on feedback;
  • Up to 4% of follow-up calls result in new business opportunities (e.g., new or renewed maintenance contracts, new equipment sales);

We are definitely on a trek to explore new frontiers. I only wish we could engage warp engines and ride a temporal rift into the future where prediction of customer satisfaction was well established across all of EMC’s CX programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about EMC Predictive Insights Program, come visit the TCE booth (#463) at EMC World this May or share your thoughts below.

Live long and prosper,


Brad Barker

Consultant Customer Advocate

Total Customer Experience

EMC Global Services


Twitter: @BradB555

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About the Author: Brad Barker