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Reducing Churn in the Commercial Payments Industry

By October 27, 2020No Comments

Reducing Churn in the Commercial Payments Industry

The Leaky Bucket

Even companies with incredibly impressive revenue growth have vulnerabilities. With strong YoY revenue growth, this Commercial Payments Company achieved impressive growth across the Revenue, Profit and Market Value Fortune 1000 lists.

So, everything was great? Right? Well, not so fast.

Several KPIs indicated significant headwinds were approaching.  Customer Churn and Employee Turnover were both on the rise. Usage was declining. Fortunately, this company realized that it was time to plug the leaks in the bucket.  The only question was: which leaks needed to be plugged first?

Decooda identifies the specific reasons why your customers stay with you, and why they leave, so that you can invest in what matters most to them.

Decooda’s Three Easy Steps

1. Capture the Unfiltered Voice of your Customer

The Survey is Part of the Customer Experience

The first step to prioritizing your investments is to truly understand how your customers experience your company by capturing the “true, unfiltered voice of your customer.”  Most customer experience approaches fail to recognize that capturing the voice of the customer is actually a part of the overall customer experience.  As a result, they administer their customers long surveys mired in measuring features, attributes and claims that, while relevant to the company, are irrelevant to the customer.  Now, how do you think this leaves the customers feeling?

We recognize that your customers are the key to your success and we treat them with the utmost respect. Our survey process is designed to positively engage your customers leaving them feeling that you care about them and the experience they have with your company.   Our survey process includes:

  1. A very short survey. Our surveys take no more than 3 to 5 minutes, using Decooda’s signature Imaginative Question to elicit the true voice of your customer.
  2. Data Quality Protocols. Our approach is designed to insure a consistent representative sample of your customers at every data collection point, while insuring that your customers are not over surveyed (avoiding toxicity).
  3. Closed Loop Feedback. We listen and respond to customers with real-time alerts so that you can provide personalized problem solving as soon as a problem is detected.

Surveying Commercial Payments Customers:

  • Based on the customer list, a sample plan was designed that yielded the Voice of over 1,000 customers.
  • Customers contacted once per year.
  • Problems were addressed quickly following the survey.

Imaginative Question

A fundamental truth about Customers is that Emotion drives their behavior.  Any approach that does not capture how your customer’s feel is not capturing the true, unfiltered voice of your customer.  The Decooda Imaginative Question (I.Q.) is designed to capture how your customers feel and why.  We can help to prioritize your investments based on this one, single Imaginative Question.

Instead of simply asking “why” or “what do you like/dislike,” the Decooda I.Q. puts the customer in a state of mind to reveal relevant information connected to emotions – how they feel.

Imagine that a friend of yours is thinking about using the Payment Program for their business.  This friend trusts and values your knowledge and opinion and wants to know how you feel about the Payment Program.  What would you say to this friend to either encourage or discourage the use of the Payment Program?  Please be as descriptive as possible about how you feel about the Payment Program and why you feel that way.

Many clients are skeptical that their customers will take the time to thoughtfully respond to our Imaginative Question.   The truth is, in a typical long, boring survey your customer probably becomes disengaged or won’t respond.  However, when the I.Q. is one of 3 or 4 questions in a survey, people thoughtfully respond.   The proof is in the numbers.   In the Commercial Payments category, we achieved impressive results.

  • 81% of customers responding to the survey also responded to the IQ.
  • Average response was 35 words vs. 10 for the typical open-ended survey question.
  • 10% of responses over 100 words.
  • Longest response was 425.

In some, more consumer-oriented categories, the word counts are double.

2. Understand your Customers’ Emotions and Mindsets

Decooda CORE™ – Our Cognitive Intelligence Machine

Once we have captured your customers’ unfiltered voice, the unstructured data is cleaned and uploaded to the Decooda CORE™ – our Cognitive Intelligence Machine.   It is here that we make sense of the Imaginative Question.

Decooda CORE does some amazing things:

  1. Unravels your customers’ words and identifies the topics and themes they are talking about. (i.e., Mindsets)
  2. Reveals your customers’ emotions; how they feel about the experiences they have with your company.
  3. Combines the topics and emotions to uncover what matters most to your customers and where you should prioritize investment.

Unraveling your customers’ words and identifying the topics and themes they are talking about.

Decooda goes beyond simple text classification provided by most Natural Language Processing (NLP) solutions.  We focus on Natural Language Understanding (NLU). Our team of Cognitive Psychologists, Linguists, and AI engineers focuses on refining unstructured data into granular, contextual understanding.  It is this deeper understanding that allows us to make data actionable.   The chart below lists the topics and themes that emerged from the I.Q. administered to Commercial Payments customers.

Decooda CORE identified 147 topics and themes talked about by Commercial Payments customers.  Granular, contextual topics are unique to Decooda.

Revealing Your Customers’ Emotions

Today, with all the hype and focus on big data and AI, all too often the actual customers’ feelings and mind sets get lost in the shuffle.  But the fundamental truth is that emotions drive behavior.  Understanding how people feel, and why, is essential for creating deep, satisfying brand experiences.  Any CX system that does not measure your customers’ emotions is not truly able to understand why customers stay and why customers leave.

Decooda’s emotion algorithm identifies 8 emotions that are most common in consumer experiences.  Emotions for our client in the Commercial Payments category looked similar to the chart below.

While this Commercial Payments company was achieving revenue success, negative emotions were running high across the customer base, half of their customers were feeling Angry or Frustrated – a significant vulnerability for the company.

Identifying this elevated level of negative emotions among customers is useless if we cannot pinpoint why.

Combining topics and emotions to uncover what matters most to your customers

Most CX systems rely on frequencies to identify the topics or themes that are the highest priority.  In the example below, you would conclude that topics A, B, C and D are the priorities.

Topics with high frequency are typically not the highest priority.  The Decooda Impact Analysis combines emotions, mind sets and topics to reveal the true investment priorities.

Decooda CORE (Cognitive Intelligence Machine) links each person’s emotions to the topics they discuss in order to distinguish between what people talk about most and what influences their behavior.

The Impact Analysis layers on the lens that allows us to truly understand the drivers of behavior – in the Commercial Payments case it was rising churn.  In the previous chart, high impact topics E, F and G would have been missed, while investment dollars would have been allocated to topics A & C, both of which have little impact on behavior.  The Impact Analysis below summarizes the frequency and impact of Commercial Payments topics.

The Impact Analysis indicates Late Fees, Website Usability and Taking Too Much Time as primary contributors to Frustration and Anger.   Of course, more context is necessary to allocate investments for CX improvement.

Root cause analysis allows us to dig a little deeper to identify specific, granular areas for investment.

3. Prioritize your Investments

Evidence That Leads to The Root-Cause

We dug deeper to understand how these experiences interconnect with each other throughout the customer experience.  By leveraging the true unfiltered voice of the customer along with the Impact Analysis, we revealed that the real issues were related to the Account Management process and Billing Cycle Complexities. It is only by addressing these issues that we would resolve the major drivers of Frustration and Anger and begin to mitigate churn and defection.

Other CX systems that rely on frequencies to identify the topics or themes that are the highest priority would have drawn a surface-level conclusion that Website Usability and the Call Center were the biggest issues.  However, a more coherent billing cycle would dramatically cut down traffic to both the Web Site and Call Center and ultimately assuage frustration and anger.

By directing the company’s resources toward resolving the Account Management and Billing Complexities issues, the company will address issues related to billing, while also eliminating a significant amount of pressure on the Website and the Call-Center, but most importantly, the customers’ trajectory toward churn and defection will be reversed.


For More Information

To learn more about how Decooda can create the right solution for your company, please contact us at or request a demo at

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About Decooda

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