Use the Contact Center to Balance Customer Experience Design
July 24, 2014
July 24, 2014
Customers are more demanding than ever. Most of them expect a lot of customer service agents. They expect to resolve an issue on their first attempt. If that’s not possible, they expect agents to know of their prior attempts to resolve an issue and provide service from that point. They expect fast resolution, but they also expect to be treated well. Customers also expect to be treated consistently across the multiple channels they may use to interact with your company, without a thought to the added complexity that creates barriers you must hurdle to do so.
To say that today’s customers expect a lot is an understatement.
Customer experience professionals are on the hook for meeting those expectations in ways that retain customers and drive business. Every lost account can add up quickly and will cause the company to spend more to acquire new customers, starting the cycle all over again. The constant pressure is high and getting higher.
But the payoff is worth it. According to Gartner, companies that prioritize the customer experience are 60% more profitable than their competitors.
However, the reality for many communication services providers (CSPs) is that their focus has been more on creating experiences that win new customers more so than experiences that keep existing ones. Bain & Company provides this example for a wireline company:
With much of the customer experience revolving around customer service, it’s imperative to look to your contact center vendor to harness their expertise and remove some of the pressure. Given the example above, it can obviously be quite lucrative if churn can be minimized through better experiences and service delivery.
Even though you’re intent on defining every component for a winning customer experience, it’s important to realize that you don’t need to do it alone. Your contact center vendor brings a wealth of expertise in customer experience. It’s probably one of the reasons you selected them in the first place. The vendor deals with customers day in and day out, and have likely seen situations you can only imagine come into play during customer interactions. They know what drives customers and how to mine customer data for insight to expectations and determine whether or not they’re being met.
While you have corporate goals for the return on customer experience, your customers also have goals. Balancing the two is important, but can be tricky. Your contact center vendor will have experience in your industry, but also in others where customer expectations are mirrored, but present differently. This depth of insight can help you to design customer experiences that differentiate your company from competitors while maintaining focus on addressing the customers’ expectations specific to your company.
Consider these two areas of balance as starting points that your contact center vendor can help you apply to improve your customer experience initiatives:
There’s a belief that one or two bad experiences cause a customer to defect. Bain & Company says this is a fallacy and that churn usually results from a series of disappointing experiences. Your contact center vendor can provide insight to customer call types and call data that can help you to diagnose root cause, correct it and help to improve interactions across the entirety of a customer’s experience, rather than simply a moment in time. By helping you to determine cause, the vendor can help you develop experiences that balance your aspirations with your customers’ expectations to delight in using your products and services.
One of the qualms about customer service is the cost of providing it. With customers less loyal and the cost of switching low, the customer experience must be exemplary…but within reason. Your contact center vendor has economies of scale and continuous improvement and operational processes that can help identify which changes in interactions will pay off in view of your goals. For example, changes that look good on the surface may not impact customer satisfaction score to a level that makes them worth the cost of implementation. Being able to predict the impact of change against the cost of making the change can help to make improvements to the experience that bring the most benefit to both sides.
While defining the best customer experience is a valiant effort, it’s likely that it will be obsolete before it can be put into play. Your contact center is a living ecosystem of customer interactions where the science of service can be applied iteratively over time based on customer sentiment and measures of improvement that validate that the aspirations of both your company and your customers are being met successfully.