Did you know that contact centre staff can be instrumental in improving results as well as strengthening customer relationships and building and positioning your brand?
It’s true. Customer Experience drives revenue growth and profit growth. It’s “the new black” of business strategy.
Deloitte reports that these days many Marketing Executives have revised their competitive advantage and differentiation away from low price, free returns, fast shipping, bundled services or ease of use – to superior customer experience (CX). They’ve realised that this is what customers really want, the race is on to deliver it… and it’s your agents in the contact centre who are on that front line as your sprinters.
In 2015 Forrester explored whether CX really matters to business success, or if it was just the latest hype. They concluded that superior CX does drive revenue growth in businesses that deliver a differentiated customer experience.
In 2016 they repeated the exercise and compared the financial and customer experience index results of two competitors from five major industries. Once they normalised the revenue data, they built models that calculated the compound annual growth rates (CAGR) for the ten companies from 2010 to 2015. They found that the CX leaders in all five pairs of companies outperformed their relative CX laggard counterparts. The total growth rate of all CX leaders to that of all CX laggards represented a 14% advantage. In two industries – cable and retail, leaders outperformed laggards by up to 26%.
A Harvard Business Review study found that customers who had enjoyable customer experiences spent 140% more on the company’s products compared to those who had a poor experience. In a subscription-based business the study found that high CX scores led to a 74% chance that the member would renew membership for another year.
5 keys to improving CX and driving growth
There are many steps to take to improve CX, and to be completely effective, it will take vision, a change in focus for many departments, and total commitment. It will involve strategic planning, customer journey mapping, buy-in, and measurement at every customer touchpoint, across your entire organisation.
Contact Centres have moved from the operational backwaters to become the linchpin of customer experience management, and a valuable strategic asset. To enable contact centre staff to significantly contribute to improving the service they deliver to your customers, it’s important to equip them with the tools and training they need to get the job done.
Here’s five key ways you can help your contact centre team, to improve CX and the flow-on effect of increased customer loyalty and profits.
1. Provide instant access to relevant data
A typical contact centre agent might use 20 or more disconnected applications per day, reported Kate Leggett at Forrester Research. This creates delays and frustration for agents on calls when they have multiple windows to sort through, particularly if they come across duplicate records or incorrect customer information. Rather than keep customers waiting while they peruse lots of disjointed data, give them fully integrated data.
We can fully integrate our Premier Contact Point solution with your backoffice and CRM systems, to ensure your agents have instant access to all relevant customer data (from multiple sources), right within their agent desktop.
2. Give them a reliable knowledge base
Along with readily available customer information should be an up-to-date repository of curated information and answers, like a knowledge base. It’s critical for agents to know that the information they are giving to the callers is correct. It’s also recommended that you implement some kind of feedback system so agents can instantly notify the right people of incorrect information or links, and receive notification when the update has been actioned.
3. Empower them
“It’s important to ensure that agents are allowed to exercise judgment to provide the customer with resolution,” said James Kobielus at Forrester.
If trained, supported, and rewarded well, your agents will be working hard to do their best job. Yes, you want them to abide by your company policies and engage professionally and consistently, but you can still give them some leeway to deviate from the script, vary interactions and make decisions within set parameters. It will make a big difference to resolution rate and customer satisfaction, not to mention agent job satisfaction.
4. Implement a systematic information flow
Contact centres have a wealth of information and data that can be useful for shaping customer experience management (CEM) and fixing issues. Establish a system to loop customer intelligence between the contact centre and other areas involved in CEM, including the marketing and web development teams.
Consider issuing a monthly or quarterly report that categorises issues, highlights customer letters, identifies trends and summarises key findings in customer surveys. This will help Contact Centre teams see the bigger picture, and have confidence that their input is valued and being actioned.
5. Measure the right KPIs and share results
Contact centres are typically evaluated on production-centric metrics like the number of calls handled per hour, average handling time and abandon rates.
The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) in Britain conducted a survey among top contact centres and industry stakeholders to identify Seven Key Metrics to Watch for Call Centre Success. The KPIs which are most important when it comes to improving CX are those which relate to the actual customer, namely:
- First Call Resolution (FCR). The study found that Centres with the highest FCR (86%)had a correlating high customer satisfaction rating. Benefits include lower costs, less customer churn, higher employee job satisfaction.
- Contact Quality. Assessed via the monitoring and recording of agent interactions with customers and rated against evaluation criteria.
- Customer Satisfaction. Measured through IVR, email, text or chat surveys
In summary, if your organisation is looking for an edge when it comes to market differentiation and a better strategy for revenue and profit growth – your Contact Centre could very well be the best place to start.