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Posted on January 15, 2018 by West Corporation 


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10 Proven Champion-Challenger Optimizations To Improve CX

By Jay Harris, Senior Director of Client Operations

It can be a challenge keeping up with ever-changing customer demands. Consumer trends shift from one year to the next, and so must your communication plan.

But how can you afford to constantly try out new practices without breaking the bank? Well, a major U.S. pharmacy is one of many businesses that has achieved just that. They improved customer experience (CX) and raised prescription refills by 8.8 million thanks to one important strategy: champion-challenger testing.

What is a Champion-Challenger Test?

Champion-challenger testing helps a business learn if a promising “challenger” can defeat the current messaging “champion.” This professional service saves money, avoids risk and reveals “ah-ha” moments by looking at the entire strategy — not just keeping the lights on.

The concept is similar to the well-known A/B testing, in which a group or person tests two ideas at once. It could be different email templates or flavors of hot sauce.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but champion-challenger tests often have a proven or suspected champion that will either be unseated or move into the next round of tests.

Opportunities with Champion-Challenger Testing

Companies across the globe use champion-challenger testing to improve CX and meet strategic goals. West helps organizations do some testing of their own every year for their IVR, contact center and proactive communication solutions. Here are 10 of the biggest successes we’ve seen from recent tests and the major factors to consider to improve customer communication for your business.

1. Timing: Optimizing by time of day to fill 3.9M prescriptions

The right message isn’t enough. You also need to send it at just the right moment. For three months, analysts sent order-ready calls and texts to pharmacy patients at varying times of day. Testers found the sweet spot when customers were most likely to answer, respond and collect their medications, leading to an uptick of 3 million prescription pickups.

2. Frequency: Sending extra notifications yields 2.1M refills

Champion-Challenger: Optimizing the Message to Help Patients Stay Healthy

Sometimes, people just need an extra reminder. In one pharmacy test, testers realized the first and second outbound voice and text reminders were spaced too far apart, and the message slipped customers’ minds. By adding one more message between the two, the pharmacy saw an uplift of 520,000 prescriptions.

3. Structure: $1.5M in savings by mixing up the menu

To boost containment for another company’s IVR and reduce the number of calls that went straight to an agent, champion-challenger testers used half of all inbound calls to offer more upfront menu options. They also moved a popular “Web Money Transfer” prompt to the front of the queue. The change cut the agent transfer rate from 82.7 to 55.2 percent, leading to more than $1.5 million in projected yearly savings.

4. Relevance: 1.1M ‘scripts’ with customized messaging

Test out new message content based on specific events, too. For example, a retail pharmacy tested out unique message content for patients with as-needed medication, like topical skin care and inhalers. They also sent back-to-school notes and info from closing stores, which resulted in higher revenue through 1.1 million new prescriptions.

5. Automation: Increasing self-service and cutting $156K in costs

To complete money transfers by phone, a financial services company conducted champion-challenger tests by trying out an automated IVR option that spawns PIN numbers for verified customers. Analysis showed a jump in self-service success from 7.8 to 14.4 percent, which saved $156,000 in agent costs in just one month.

6. Speed: 769K fulfillments by clarifying the call-to-action

Champion Challenger_Optimizing Self-Service for Financial Services CustomersA simple change can make all the difference. One company moved its call-to-action (e.g. “Press ‘1’ to …”) to the start of an automated voice message, instead of after the initial greeting. The change resulted in 769,000 more fulfillments.

7. Convenience: 400K transactions from customer-first ideas

One champion-challenger test addressed a large group of customers who went all the way through a transaction but failed to complete a purchase. The test group was sent instructions to pick up where they left off, which led to 290,000 completed purchases. Another test allowed customers to fill multiple orders at once, which raised purchases by another 112,000.

8. Content: Rescripting creates 148K refills and a human touch

Don’t forget to rethink your verbiage as well. A top U.S. pharmacy used a champion-challenger test to add the words “your pharmacist” to its outbound voice and text messages when asking if someone wanted to refill a prescription. The simple addition created an uplift of 148,000 refills.

9. Customer Response: 60K new profitable interactions

Even when a customer wants to complete a transaction, your text-based solution may make it difficult. One nationwide business realized customers were falling out of the funnel when they didn’t answer “Yes” or “Y” when asked to confirm a purchase. By simply adding “OK” and other phrases as acceptable variations, profitable responses rose by 60,000.

10. Channel: Sync messaging across all sources

There are many reasons an SMS text message may fail to send. Whether there’s a problem with the carrier or the number is just a landline, consider other channels to reach customers if your first option fails. Then, use champion-challenger testing to see how customers fare with the new strategy.

Unrelenting evolution and optimization

For more information about champion-challenger testing, read this case study to see how West helped a financial services company optimize its IVR to save an estimated $5.4 million. Or download this case study for results from our year-long optimization with a major U.S. pharmacy that yielded 8.8 million additional prescription refills.

Unrelenting customer evolution demands unrelenting CX optimization. So take these 10 examples and key factors as starting points in your own champion-challenger optimizations. And feel free to call or text West Interactive Services at 800.841.9000 for more help.

Sometimes, it’s the thoughtful, yet subtle investments that garner the highest returns. Find a solid, consultative communication partner that can help get the most out of your communication solutions and ensure these “ah-ha” moments don’t slip through the cracks.


Jay HarrisJay has worked at West Corporation for more than 10 years, starting as a project manager in 2005. He graduated from Wayne State College, and now as the vice president of client engagement, he is responsible for meeting strategic initiatives throughout the entire systems development lifecycle, from idea conception to project delivery, with an emphasis in the pharmacy space. Jay focuses specifically on technology-strategy and customer-relationship development, and he is dedicated to helping clients create exceptional customer experiences and achieve outstanding, sustainable ROI.



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