Unilever tapping voice of the customer in call centers

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In an effort to improve the consumer experience and gather better customer information, Unilever has started using Astute Solutions' RealDialog tools in its call centers.

RealDialog uses a linguistics engine to analyze customers' questions in their own words and then provide contact center agents with easy-to-read responses. By feeding the answers to agents, RealDialog allows companies to control their messaging. Another major strength of the system, according to Astute, is that it simplifies the agents' jobs, allowing them to provide answers more quickly and focus on relationship building.

“This implementation meets two critical needs,” Linnea Johnson, director of consumer services, Unilever, said in a statement. “It enables us to understand our consumers' immediate needs and enhance their experience at the time when it matters most. It also gives us powerful insights — through detailed, actionable consumer data — to further our business objective of delivering products that meet the changing tastes, lifestyles and expectations of our consumers.”

RealDialog also helps Unilever and other customers, including Circuit City, gather actionable consumer insights. The system logs their queries and comments verbatim, so that managers and executives can gauge consumers' feelings about their products. When Unilever adds RealDialog's capabilities to its branded Web sites in the next phase of the partnership, brand managers will be able to react to consumers' comments online in real time.

Unilever was previously using a proprietary database of all of its products in its call centers. The company's contact centers in the US and Canada deal with more than 90 brands, spanning 14 categories of consumer goods — which made it difficult for agents to search for proper responses.

“With RealDialog, consumers won't have to hunt for answers and can feel confident in their accuracy,” noted Liz Shaver, RealDialog product manager. “It will increase the value of the customer experience and ultimately generate revenue because they'll be happy with the service they're getting and the product information they're finding.” 

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