Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Research: Focusing on Customer Experience Management Part: III

July 15, 2008

Focusing on the customer experience must be a priority for contact centers or they run the risk of failing to fulfill the main purpose for their creation: to deliver complete customer satisfaction.

A clear focus on the customer experience needs to start with accurate measurements of customer perceptions. A key tool used for this process is a customer feedback survey that takes place at the end of an interaction, ensuring that the experience is still fresh in the customer’s mind.

 
It is not enough for the contact center to offer a survey that can be conducted via telephone. These surveys must be delivered in applications that support multiple devices, such as Web-enabled laptops, PDAs and mobile phones.

According to research from Ventana, agents continue to play a vital role in the customer experience during telephone calls. Agent characteristics that contribute to the customer’s perception of the call include their attitude, (26 percent), their ability to understand the caller’s issue (23 percent) and their ability to resolve it during the first call (20 percent).

These findings indicate that organizations should continue to invest in training and coaching agents in order to improve their performance and their overall interaction with the customer. Organizations can also benefit from new technologies that require less training for agents to learn and use.

One-to-one conversations between the customer and the contact center agent are what led the contact center to the multi-channel interaction centers that they are today. To ensure that the organization can communicate with the customer, contact centers must turn to more channels than just the telephone.
 
Many changes must be made within the contact center. For one, the support of customer contact strategies such as IM must be made available and only 21 percent of contact centers currently offer this support. In addition, text messaging is supported by only 18 percent, PDAs by 12 percent and video by ten percent.

A single view of the customer is also lacking in many contact centers, leading to inadequate customer KPIs. This problem is exaggerated by the fact that three of the four most common types of content in the single view are very basic customer information, including sales (66 percent), demographics (66 percent) and products (64 percent).

About 20 percent of companies have deployed dedicated products that are capable of dealing with multiple sources and types of data and that have call center and customer-related analysis capabilities built in.

The contact center must continue to focus on the importance of the customer experience. By ignoring the actual perception of the customer, the contact center cannot accurately measure its own performance or guarantee its success.
 
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMC and has also written for eastbiz.com. To see more of her articles, please visit Susan J. Campbell’s columnist page.

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