Reducing costs while delivering powerful customer experiences

Budget cuts and ever-increasing expectations from buyers are forcing organisations to urgently re-examine how they run customer service. Process mining is enabling companies across the globe to highlight hidden inefficiencies in the ways they operate, and empower rapid improvement


Customer service excellence has long been a core competitive differentiator for organisations across industries, but for most businesses the methodology for delivering it is often manual and inconsistent.

Consumers are more inclined to spend money when they receive excellent and personalised experiences, while business clients demand, and pay for, contractually agreed levels of service. Companies are pushing to meet these expectations, while dealing with the enormous cost and operational pressures of the coronavirus pandemic.

This challenge becomes even more complex for businesses built on a rapid growth trajectory as they may be grappling with a growing breadth of customers, new services being sold, and customer knowledge dotted across multiple billing, sales and marketing systems.

In these conditions, companies need a more sophisticated approach to hitting targets for their key customer satisfaction scores, such as CSAT (customer satisfaction score) and NPS (net promoter score), while doing so at a lower expense. Many are turning to automated analysis of their operations, known as process mining, to identify any hidden inefficiencies and reveal how to solve them.

One company making strong progress in this area is Uber, the ride-hailing and delivery app, which relies heavily on maintaining a simple interface for customers in more than 700 cities across 63 countries. Uber’s rapid growth had led to high data complexity that was holding back customer service and ticket resolution.

Celonis infographic

“Fast-growth companies need to retain their quality of service, while dealing with big fluctuations in demand, and adding new products and services,” says Sam Attias, market intelligence manager at Celonis, the process mining company that helped Uber visualise its processes and improve their execution. Using process mining, Uber is delivering global service process standardisation, rapid problem resolution and a constant focus on excellence.

Celonis, identified by analysts at Gartner as the market-leading process mining provider, works with a wide range of other large businesses, including Vodafone, GSK, Airbus, L’Oréal, Dell and Siemens, and has found it is common for both fast-growing and established organisations to need greater clarity over their disparate data. Analysing processes can help meet this challenge by providing better knowledge of customers to enhance experiences while increasing efficiency.

For companies selling services to business clients, expectations are usually written into contractually protected service level agreements (SLAs). This is the case for Daisy Group, the unified communications and internet hosting company, that counts critical transport networks among its clients, and in serving them needs to ensure communications work all the time, tracking and rapidly resolving all incidents.

Given it is impossible to know when incidents are going to happen, it’s critical for such communications providers to be able to deliver customer support quickly and efficiently. Process mining is critical in meeting these requirements and delivering on SLAs. “Celonis has been imperative in our strategy to increase efficiency around resolving cases, automating manual tasks, and ultimately enabling us to continue to deliver great employee and customer experiences,” says Gareth Tunnicliffe, customer service director at Daisy Group.

Celonis has been imperative in our strategy to increase efficiency around resolving cases, automating manual tasks, and ultimately enabling us to continue to deliver great employee and customer experiences

Not all aspects of customer service can be easily quantified, and quality in particular can be hard to measure. It is this element that can grate most with customers, however, when organisations seek to reduce expenditure. “Often when organisations are cutting costs, as they are at the moment because of the COVID-19 pandemic, customer service teams will bear the brunt of the cuts. The consequences can quickly become apparent to consumers and business clients, who may experience a disappointing decline in the quality of service they receive,” says Attias. “That makes being efficient and maximising existing resources more important than ever.”

Given businesses’ clear need to offer reliably positive customer outcomes under heavy cost pressures, many delivering high-quality customer service now rely on process mining. They use the technology to rapidly identify unknown inefficiencies and their root causes, prompting or even automating improvements. Using the system, businesses can cut cycle times, deliver a more personalised experience, have fewer handovers between service personnel, improve self-service portal use and avoid costly breaches of SLAs.

Customer satisfaction scores, often derived from post-purchase surveys, are among the useful routes to understanding service perception. Using process mining, such scores can be automatically mapped to specific operations to show the root causes of any customer dissatisfaction.

BT Enterprise, the business broadband and cloud computing firm, found its post-purchase customer feedback text requests revealed useful information, but manual mapping made it difficult to identify specific process faults.

Working with Celonis, BT Enterprise connected the data in real time to relevant processes and revealed quick, granular visibility over where the negative points are in any sale. The system automatically alerts those responsible for these parts of the process, as well as providing addressable analysis in monthly reports, enabling constant operational refinement. Similarly, an onboarding process for new BT Enterprise clients was streamlined to remove excess handovers.

Putting data at the centre of everything we do is paramount, and Celonis is helping us to drive our customer-obsessed culture

The insights from process mining are prompting consideration of further automation. Gary Botterill, senior manger of technical service enablement at BT Enterprise, explains: “Putting data at the centre of everything we do is paramount, and we are using new tools such as process mining to help shape and drive our digital transformation, and drive our customer-obsessed culture.” The tool is used regularly by operational and business improvement managers at the company.

Across industries, businesses are under immense pressure to cut costs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they must continue to deliver excellent customer experiences to stave off competition and meet all contractually agreed service levels. This means companies are turning to insights into their processes, unlocking the ability to improve efficiency, while delivering much-improved service. By using technology, businesses can root out customer service problems and continue to execute on outstanding customer service, even in the face of budget cuts.

To find out how to use process mining to improve customer service while cutting costs, please visit celonis.com