Managing Customer Experience

Matt McConnell

There are many different ways to define “customer experience.”

While some companies use the term synonymously with customer service, others define the customer experience based on a singular encounter with a customer or a general summary of how customers feel about their company and brand overall.

The truth is that the customer experience is not a single experience, but rather the sum of all interactions a customer has with your company that paints a picture from the customer’s perspective. This includes face-to-face visits in a retail store all the way to online purchases and even interactions with agents in the contact center.

The key is that customer experience is based on the customer’s perception of these interactions. As a result, it is critical that companies are consistent across every customer interaction and identify ways to measure and improve their performance along the way.

Ultimately, it is up to agents and other frontline employees to consistently exceed customer expectations and provide a customer experience that drives loyalty and competitive advantage.

But how can you ensure the customer experience is always positive?

Getting Everyone Onboard 

Studies show that most companies agree the customer experience is a competitive differentiator, but there is still a lot of confusion around how to get everyone in the organization working together to deliver a consistent customer experience across all departments and customer-facing employees.

Employees, no matter what their department or role, must be able to look at the big picture and understand that the customer experience is the culmination of every interaction – not just interactions with customer service employees.

Every department within an organization – from sales to IT – must be focused on delivering a positive customer experience so that it is consistent across the board. It really is a team effort.

Managing to Customer Expectations

A positive customer experience begins with a positive customer interaction and many interactions occur in the call center.

Agents must be equipped with the knowledge and information they need to effectively handle customer inquiries and provide a consistent customer experience. This means agents must be continually updated on changes to products, services and policies so that they can provide customers with the most current information and maintain consistency across all channels.

Intraday management technology can better optimize contact center efficiency. In multi-channel environments, this technology can automatically balance agents across e-mail, phone and chat according to call volume, which ensures customers can get answers to their questions faster in whatever channel they prefer.

If service levels drop, intraday management can automate the voluntary overtime process to ensure there are always enough agents on the floor, answering calls.

This technology can also “find” additional time for training and coaching by aggregating idle time and delivering individualized training, coaching, updates, knowledge base reviews and other off-phone work to agent desktops during natural downtimes in call volume. When call volume unexpectedly spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls.

Agents receive the training they need to handle complex customer inquiries without negatively effecting service levels and as their skills and competencies increase, skill and queue associations are automatically updated. Customers can quickly reach an agent who is equipped to handle their inquiries and time is freed for supervisors and managers to spend coaching agents to make them better and more confident at their jobs – all of which drives the overall customer experience.

How are you doing?

The best way to gauge customer experience and satisfaction is to listen to your customers and measure quality from their perspective.

Simply put, customers want agents who are knowledgeable enough to resolve their issues with the right answer, the first time. This expectation can be measured with metrics such as Service Level, First Call Resolution (FCR) and Customer Satisfaction scores, as well as through IVR or surveys, either by e-mail or a third-party after an interaction.

Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook can also provide valuable customer feedback that can be used to improve further interactions.

Ultimately, if you want a true measurement of how customers view your company and your brand, look at the bottom line. If they keep coming back, chances are they are satisfied with their experience. If they aren’t happy, they will leave you and go somewhere else.

Photo Credit – pctonline.com

Since 2000, SCC Services Group has been successfully providing services to the Automotive, Banking, Financial Services, Travel, Telecommunication and Retail Call Center organizations. This depth of experience is complemented by our commitment to service excellence, a healthy corporate culture, and a highly skilled team. If you are interested in learning more about SCC Services Group consulting or business services offerings and how we can assist your organization improve its overall performance please send an email to: info@sccservicesgroup.com

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