A contact center’s customer can serve as the center’s biggest advocate or biggest critic. If one customer publicizes a negative experience, the fallout could result in the loss of a significant number of other customers, current or potential. As such, contact center leaders are incentivized to provide positive service to enhance customer loyalty through customer experience management, strategic implementation, and reevaluation.
A primary approach within the contact center community that has gained prominence over time is the intuitive concept of Customer Experience Management (CEM). CEM is the system of receiving and processing data on customer interactions, then using the feedback to improve the customer experience. As shown by Consero’s recent Contact Center Survey, phone (27%) and e-mail (26%) are top ways to collect data. Through these outlets, contact centers are able to capture employee satisfaction with questions that go beyond whether they are satisfied.
When capturing data, it is important to find a balance between asking open-ended questions and ones with set responses. When requesting open-ended responses, be sure to ask questions that require only two or three sentences to answer effectively. For questions with set responses, you can scale the answers on a 1-5 or a 1-10 scale, or use a ranking scheme to gauge concrete ways in which customers use your products. From there, compile the feedback. Be sure to understand your pain points and, if applicable, to know which departments in the business are impacted.
It is important to find a balance between asking open-ended questions and ones with set responses.
Once they have collected and analyzed the data, contact center leaders should take steps to make departmental changes or, when needed, to advocate for company-wide changes. An example of a common issue that requires a departmental change is the fact that it takes too long to resolve a customer complaint. Your department can easily develop an incentive program to quicken the response time and, importantly, the first call resolution. When you are walking through an employee evaluation with a member of your team, you can discuss the employee’s response time as compared to that of the department average and come up with ways to improve it.
Discuss the challenge of maintaining a strong brand if the company does not adapt and criticism continues.
On the company level, heads of the contact center need to determine what may be a simple concern for one department versus an issue that affects the integrity of the entire business. For the latter, take care to emphasize the risk of not heeding useful customer concerns. Discuss the challenge of maintaining a strong brand if the company does not adapt and criticism continues. When speaking to key stake holders, detail the benefits of considering customer feedback in making new decisions. Throughout the process, be sure to show how the contact center operation is heavily invested in the success of the company.
Customer feedback, if used properly, can lead to significant positive changes in contact center strategy. Not all changes will see immediate benefits, so it is important to reevaluate any new initiatives after a certain period of time. For employees who needed supplementary guidance, the time to reflect on and possibly make changes to their performance should be determined on a case-by-case basis. For those employees who require significant improvement, a monthly or bi-monthly review may be useful. With employees who need only slight improvement, discuss their progress at semi-annual or annual reviews. Throughout both, keep an eye on the feedback of the customer. Use monitored calls and customer feedback to guide the conversation toward productive lessons and takeaways. The department itself can be evaluated to see if efficiency has improved. After receiving the initial feedback from your questioning and making the appropriate changes, it may be wise to ask similar questions a year later. That may be the best way to tell if your strategies are working.
As data becomes increasingly available to contact centers, contact center leaders are in a unique position to curb customer complaints and foster a strong loyalty program. However, that opportunity will often result in changes to center operations. Contact center executives who successfully make changes will see their operations increase in efficiency and may experience a stronger role in the company.