Rapid Response to Emergencies

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Rapid Response to Emergencies

Description Rapid Response to Emergencies
Version as of 8.1
Application Pega Customer Decision Hub
Capability/Industry Area Next Best Action

How can you stay in control and manage customer communications when the world changes?

Every so often there is a major event that changes the lives of all of us. Sometimes those events are relatively local, such as the wildfires in California or Australia, regional in nature like Hurricane Katrina, and sometimes those events are global, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the crash of 2008.

The one thing that these events have in common is that they change the way organizations need to talk to their customers. This may start with a single message and business continuity playbook, but the communication strategy will then need to adapt over time, keeping up with the evolving situation.

This document will help you understand how you can leverage Pega Customer Decision HubTM (CDH) to make sure that you give your customers what they need while supporting your business.

The diagram below shows how we think about this at Pega, across three time horizons.

Managing customer communications during crises

This document describes best practices for each time horizon so that you know how to best deal with this in your implementation. Each section also explains how you can put these mitigation strategies in place by using Next Best Action Designer (for version 8.3 onwards) or Strategy Designer (for versions prior to 8.3).

What do you need to do immediately?

1) Enable a generic emergency message across all channels: modify Next Best Action Designer or Strategy Designer components and strategies

Those organizations that have implemented Pega Customer Decision Hub for multiple channels, including interactive channels, need to ensure that the message is prioritized to be seen by all customers in those channels.

For Pega Customer Decision Hub versions 8.3 and newer:

  1. Choose the issue and group you want to manage your actions in.
    • The quickest and best long-term approach would be to create a specific issue and group taxonomy to manage such actions (for example, Information / Mandatory).
      Creating an issue and group taxonomy
    • Validate whether you have a real-time container or event that is pointing directly to business structure level. If you do, you will have to create duplicate actions in each of these levels if you want container/event combination to use our emergency action.
      Real-time containers
  2. This message will be displayed consistently for a period of time across all channels; the contact policy needs to be defined by the organization for each channel.
    • In this example, we are assuming that the organization wants the message to be displayed based on Impressions in different channels: Email versus Web. Contact policies are either universal or channel specific, when applied to a specific Issue / Group.
    • In Constraints, create a new contact policy (in this case called Emergency Action Seen Before) with the following settings:
      Next-Best-Action Designer: Emergency Action Seen Before
      Emergency Action Seen Before: Track impressions
      1. In Engagement Policy, edit the Information / Mandatory group and apply the contact policy created in previous step:
        Contact policy
      2. Create an action in Information / Mandatory issue and group taxonomy: for example, the message that call center volumes are much higher than usual because of an emergency
        Creating an action
      3. Configure the action:
        1. Set the Starting Propensity to 1
        2. Set the business value to be higher than any other action value
        3. Set the business weight to 100
          Next-Best-Action configuration
  3. Create a treatment for each of the required channels (inbound and outbound), for example, the message that the call center volumes are much higher than usual because of an emergency.
    Create a treatment
  4. In the Arbitration section of Next-Best-Action Designer, adjust the business levers to apply the Action weighting.
    Adjusting business levers
    Next Best Action Designer: Arbitration
  5. As mentioned earlier, review the Channel section of Next-Best-Action Designer and the Triggers section for real-time containers and events that go directly to a specific issue and group
    1. If you see a real-time container or event that is pointing directly to business structure level (e.g., Retention / All Groups, see below), then you need to create this action there as well, following the previous steps.
  6. Run a simulation test to check that the action is presented as expected in each channel.
    • Consider that you may have configured other Arbitration settings that could still impact this new action.
  7. Follow your normal BAU process to design and test the action, treatment, and offer flow for these changes to our strategy.

For Pega Customer Decision Hub versions 8.2 and earlier:

  • Each customer will have their own decisioning framework to arbitrate over actions. Considering this there are some basic concepts that should be considered:
    • Eligibility needs to be set up so that this action is only based on a binary decision about who should receive this (e.g., lives in area of flooding).
    • The key concept is to adjust the P*V*L components to ensure these emergency actions are scored higher.
    • Best practice is to not apply a propensity (adaptive or otherwise) for these emergency actions and instead set propensity to 1.
    • Ensure that the value for this emergency action is greater than the other actions within all other groups.
    • Adjust any levers to prioritize the issue or group that contains these emergency actions.
    • Adjust any other business logic in your decisioning framework that would result in this emergency action being scored lower than existing actions.

All these scenarios will require simulation testing and should follow your usual BAU testing and approval processes where relevant (e.g., the emergency action content needs to be in the CMS for the message). You will need to make sure that the specific emergency next best action is always the top priority, then be released through the organization's standard release process for rapid release.

Both scenarios also have operational implications that you will need to evaluate, including:

  • This type of generic message could be sent to most of your customer base; a simulation of that potential volume should be shared with operational partners (e.g. ESPs, Content Management, Cloud Services, Customer Service/Retail Operations) to manage the impacts of extraordinary volume per impacted channel. Adjustments on message distribution frequency can be made to limit operational impacts.
  • The impact to interaction history needs to be considered; a spike in volume of interactions can impact the real-time and sizing service level agreements interaction history needs to support.

1b) Send a generic emergency message in outbound channels: create an outbound campaign

Hopefully most organizations will be able to take advantage of option 1 as it ensures an update is applied across all channels, minimizing the possibility of customers receiving inconsistent messages. But we recognize that some organizations will also want to take a more hands-on approach for the first communication through an outbound channel, highlighting the nature of the emergency, and explaining how our organization is going to respond to support their customers. We will create this quickly and easily as an exceptional, one-off message that is outside of our normal next-best-action process.

While we understand that some customers may have other tools and processes for sending out regulatory, emergency or corporate emails, in this case we are considering a message that the business has decided should be sent via Pega Customer Decision Hub using an outbound campaign.

Pega Campaign

Outbound campaign functionality is similar for all versions of Pega Customer Decision Hub:

  1. Follow your normal BAU process to:
    1. Create a new action (offer in 8.2 or earlier) for this message
    2. Create a new treatment for this action in each channel
    3. Configure the action / offer flow to enable each channel
  2. Create a new segment that defines the population of customers to be reached; a segment count will be generated that will provide an initial idea of the outbound volume. The accuracy of this count could depend on the environment being accessed (e.g., development versus test versus production).
  3. Follow your normal BAU process to design and test the action, treatment, and offer flow for your segment.
  4. Run a distribution test in the production copy (or a representative simulation environment) to validate the outbound volume.
  5. Create an outbound campaign that uses the above.
  6. Schedule and run the outbound campaign.
  7. For more detail go to page 96 in the Pega Marketing 8.2 User Guide
Create a campaign

Next steps

After the immediate response phase, do the following steps to continue managing your crisis response efforts:

  1. As soon as possible:
    1. Adjust the arbitration to upweight emergency messages.
    2. Personalize emergency messages to increase impact.
    3. Adjust arbitration to reflect changed business priorities.
  2. On an ongoing basis:
    1. Adjust Next-Best-Action catalogue to support changed business priorities.
    2. Leverage self-learning models to ensure optimization in new situation.