Even though customer experience is viewed as a seminal force that will eventually drive contact center ops, there are far too many opinions in the market on how to realize it. Should customer experience be measured as first contact resolution in the center, should it be measured through well-oiled service factors like handle and wait times, or do we really need to look deeper? I was in conversation with a veteran ops leader and we poked through a few perspectives.Traditional wins...
Most contact centers in large enterprises have focused on process harmonization and optimization, strong knowledge repositories, and agent productivity/motivation/growth as customer experience levers. They have traditionally relied heavily on customer satisfaction surveys, quality monitoring, and other customer touchpoint metrics to study experiences. These factors are now mandatory in most contact center ops reviews.
Job well done, but this in itself isn't cutting edge CRM.
Let's ask a simple question: What customer experience measures has your center set as goals? If your answer is customer satisfaction or first contact resolution, try again.
Centers have huge opportunities to see through the eyes of the customer, even before building process frameworks and tools. Very few centers have attempted to hear the customer's voice at the formative stage. You can track feedback on the call landing, the audios, the menu prompts, and a whole other set of brand influencers that are heard or seen by the customer. If you want to get it right the second time, involve your customer in designing their touchpoints. Rely on focus group outcomes more than you would on the outcome of your first few calls. And, try setting your experience goals higher than your customer would.
The newer paradigm...
Now, getting to the giant leaps. There are three customer experience forces that are worth studying.
- Useful: If you take a superset of all common touchpoints with your customer, how many of these are close-looped? How about a goal that says that your agent owned 90 percent of resolutions to enquiries received (irrespective of which internal function in your organization actually helped resolve the problem). In a nutshell, value to your customer is a function of what percentage was resolved by your center and how effective it was. Most centers are averse to such metrics in order to exhibit clean service levels.
- Accessible: Which among the channels offered by your center (phone, chat, email, fax, Web), offer value, the way it is defined in point 1? Once again, you will need to challenge the current scope of your contact center by setting ownership goals across each channel. The goal should be to minimize the white space in each channel.
- Appealing: The voice of the customer will help define the aesthetics and appeal for your center. Though the measure for this is through customer satisfaction surveys, as mentioned earlier, this is a traditional miss and there isn't enough emphasis on appeal.
This construct can be used to build quantitative customer experience goals for your center and help go beyond operational success for your center.
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Badri Srinivasan is a principal with Infosys' CRM Practice.