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Make CSAT Tangible to Prove the Value of Customer Experience

Creating better customer experiences has often been based more on gut instincts or isolated data than on a process for continuous improvement. The subjective nature of customer satisfaction has made it difficult to create quantifiable measures that are tangible. Therefore, it’s easy for colleagues to dismiss the value of the contact center, continuing to see it as merely a cost of doing business with a focus on efficiency over business value.

But data and technology can be used to turn this perception on its head. And, you’ll be able to prove impact. Delivering a better customer experience is becoming a key business driver due to the operational cost of problems. To put this in perspective, J.D. Power research proposes that a 5 point reduction in problem incidence equates to 16 full-time employees for every 1M customers. At an average cost per FTE of $75K, the cost of problem incidence adds up.

However, defining problems and identifying the operational cost of solving them has traditionally been tough to do. The challenge is in how to make CSAT tangible. If the subjective qualities of satisfaction can be replaced by intelligence gleaned from data and a process for continuous improvement put in place, then making better decisions about which problems to solve and how your choices can increase satisfaction as well as to reduce the cost to serve becomes a standard practice—rather than guesswork.

First, Address the Data

In our work with Telecom clients, we’ve seen the volume of data for every customer interaction grow dramatically. Using manual spreadsheets has become error prone and unwieldy due to this volume. But solving problems relies on our client’s ability to identify them and then determine the operational costs of taking action. To stretch even further, the decision also rests on being able to identify the value that will result for the client from choosing to take action.

Automation is the fastest and most effective path forward. Systematic Problem Identification is a tool that automates approximately 80% of the discovery and identification process and the relationships between CSAT, call types, (dis-)satisfaction, quality questions; and more, over time. Through a unified analysis that includes input from voice of the customer, internal call listening and, optionally, voice-of-agent or escalations data, it becomes possible to extract actionable insights from data trends and the answers to quality questions.

Second, Standardize Action Plans

Now that the data has been put to work and problems identified, action must be taken to solve them. With the ability to identify the drivers within specific call types that impact CSAT—whether bright spots or problems—action plans are developed to improve performance. Because the actions are based on data, impact can now be applied to percentage improvements to CSAT. Finally, the cost of a percentage point in improvement can be quantified. This knowledge helps contact center operations to make better decisions based a cost assessment weighed against the company-assigned value of a business objective.

Third, Get Frontline Input

No one knows your customers better than the people who speak with and serve them. To understand what is working and what is not, it is important to socialize the action plans with the agents who are responsible for their implementation. Through visual management and GEMBA walks, people connect and communicate; this is core to encouraging discussion about how to answer three critical questions:

  • How are we doing?
  • How do we know?
  • What are we doing to make things better?

GEMBA walks are literally walks around the floor of the contact center designed to encourage on-the-spot feedback and idea sharing by discussing information on visual boards. GEMBA walks have a framework assisted by visual management. The visual boards used in the contact center are created to measure and direct action plans. This helps management to look at the work performed as activities with actions and flows.

And Finally, Circle Back

Aside from receiving agent feedback and input during GEMBA walks, having a way to receive, track and address agent feedback in real time is a critical complement to the overall framework. Through this type of communication, operations gains an understanding of what is and isn´t working, as well as what is holding customer service back. It also proactively identifies areas for continuous improvement; whether it is tools, the product, processes or performance.

Closing the loop with the agents on the impact of their feedback when it has been considered for implementation by sharing how it supports the overall account objective is essential for refining and sustaining excellence in service. This entire process must be inclusive or it won’t deliver the best results.

A Framework for Continuous Experience Improvement

These four components will help customer service to diagnose customer experience problems, determine which problems to solve that tie value to business objectives, benchmark efforts and use real-time feedback for continuous improvement. When efficiency and effectiveness meet, customer satisfaction is achieved in the best possible way—and at the highest levels.