Making the Right Investments in Customer Care

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Customer Engagement
Customer Service
Periodically, a big brand will announce plans to invest millions of dollars in its customer service activities. In some cases, the same company continues to stumble a year or two later. We've all seen it before. Improving customer service isn't simply about throwing money at the problem or adding agents. Because customer care is multidimensional, organizational leaders also need to evaluate their customer care processes, the technologies they have in place, the criteria used to recruit and train agents, the culture of the customer care organization, and, ultimately, the experiences that customers are receiving.

Periodically, a big brand will announce plans to invest millions of dollars in its customer service activities. In some cases, the same company continues to stumble a year or two later. We've all seen it before. Improving customer service isn't simply about throwing money at the problem or adding agents. Because customer care is multidimensional, organizational leaders also need to evaluate their customer care processes, the technologies they have in place, the criteria used to recruit and train agents, the culture of the customer care organization, and, ultimately, the experiences that customers are receiving.As part of these efforts, listening to what customers are sharing about their support experiences and then acting on this feedback is a great way to remove any friction in the customer support experience from the customer's point of view. Customer feedback can help decision-makers to identify broken processes and other points of friction in the customer experience that need to be addressed. It's important to continuously review feedback that customers share through their omnichannel support interactions. The use of speech and text analytics tools can help identify process snags or opportunities for agent training that can be used to improve the customer support experience.

Whether your organization is undergoing a customer care overhaul or not, decision-makers should also regularly assess the technologies that are in place to determine whether they allow the company to seamlessly support customers across various touchpoints. If the underlying applications are rigid or operational silos make it difficult for agents to follow the customer journey, it might be time for a technology refresh.

Agent recruitment and training are also critical. Understanding the types and regularity of issues that customers are looking to solve and knowing the strengths and gaps in agent skills can help guide recruitment and training efforts.

It's also useful to revisit the metrics the company is using to measure contact center performance. If the metrics are focused squarely on costs and the efficiency of the contact center (e.g. AHT, contacts handled per hour per agent) and less around customer satisfaction or Net Promoter Score, then the company still has work ahead. First contact resolution, Customer Effort Score (reflecting the amount of time and effort a customer has to put into resolving an issue) are customer-centric metrics that have a greater impact on customer satisfaction.

Just like any other organizational investment, it's not a matter of how much money is being spent to make improvements but how wisely the funding is invested.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION