Customer Service Should Be More than a Transaction
July 24, 2014
July 24, 2014
Contact center operations have traditionally been based on managing transactions. The proof is in the disconnected key performance indicators (KPIs) and the way they’re used to evaluate contact center vendors.
Take, for example, Average Handle Time (AHT) and First Contact Resolution (FCR). The first is based on speed, the second on solving the customer’s issue during their first contact with customer service. Both are focused on cost reduction based on the combination of less time spent and lower volume of repeat calls. However, these metrics can be directly opposed depending upon the complexity of the issue for the customer.
Additional evidence of a transactional approach includes the scripts and processes that communication service providers (CSPs) provide to contact center vendors. If the CSP contracts for a certain number of calls at an average length of time per call (5M calls at 8 minutes each, for example), they try to manage to those numbers by providing the vendors with tasks to do to achieve the outcome.
In essence, this transactional approach to customer service renders vendors as commodities, discounting their expertise and precluding a partnership that brings additional value beyond the terms in the contract. As such, there’s no incentive for the vendor to do much beyond take the call volumes the CSPs contract them to handle—even if the scripts and processes provided don’t help to satisfactorily resolve the customer’s issue.
Where in any of this transactional operations approach is the customer? The customer is simply the recipient of a transaction designed to be operationally efficient first; satisfying runs a distant second.
What if, instead, the contact center provider was invited to improve upon the scripts and processes and was evaluated against the overall outcome, rather than by disconnected KPIs that don’t take customers into account?
Here is one example of how to allow your contact center vendor’s expertise to shine—to your benefit, as well as your customers’:
Your contact center vendor has the expertise to become a strategic partner, if you invite their participation. Rather than trying to shave pennies off transactions, seeking opportunities for continuous improvement that may be counterintuitive can produce tangible outcomes that put your customers first. If you continue to treat a service call as a transaction, you’re doing your company a disservice—as well as your customers.