Tuesday, April 17, 2018

How Can Contact Center Leaders Avoid the 'Mechanical' Approach to Metrics, and Become More Customer Experience Focused?

By Dan MacDougall

Contact center metrics are developed to measure operational performance (e.g. Calls Answered Live, Escalation Rate, First Contact Resolution, and Call Volume). They are useful to identify and drive areas of continuous improvement in staffing requirements, training opportunities, agent to agent consistency, and mean time to resolve to mention a few. These are what I consider "mechanical" as they show how the contact center is "functioning", however, do not necessarily tell how successful the contact center is at actually serving the customer and how its agents are contributing to the overall customer experience.

How do contact center leaders become more customer-experience focused? 
  • Be mindful that the customer is a human being with emotions, not a mechanical object. Human beliefs and actions are not always logical or reasonable, especially when something goes wrong. Most of the time, callers are not going to be in their "happy place". They are calling because they are probably in a state of frustration and need help.
  • Realize that the contact center is uniquely positioned to not just fix the problem, but also has the opportunity to provide the help the customer needs and directly contribute to how the customer feels about the brand. 
  • Also, consider that the customer directly affects the way of life for everyone in the company. My father used to tell me that "whoever has the money is in control". Most of us work because we have families, mortgages, car payments and taxes. When a customer is emotionally positive about a brand or service, they are likely to invest more of their money into it. They also have the power to take their money somewhere else.

How do we then collect metrics on customer experience? How do we know we are truly customer experience-focused?

Remember, the customer is an emotional being, not a mechanical object. Measuring how well a contact center is at providing a great customer experience will depend on how customers interact with the brand or service and how creative the contact center leader can be with that information. Direct customer feedback is probably the best method for determining how customer-focused a brand is. The contact center leader will need to invest time interpreting customer feedback data to determine what defines a great customer experience for their specific customer base, and how well the contact center is contributing to it.

Customer experience is more than just providing answers and quick fixes. Customer experience is how we can meet and exceed the customer's expectations; how the customer feels about the entire journey with the brand. It's what keeps them coming back for more and sharing the experience within their circle of influence.

For nearly 30 years I have enjoyed supporting and developing next generation technologies, and the people that make them happen. In my humble beginnings as a Consumer Electronics Technician for Radio Shack back in 1989, I represented the brand by repairing the latest "high tech" devices for its franchise and retail customers. This provided me with many opportunities to work directly with people in the service center and in their homes and businesses. In 1994, I was hired into high-tech geek heaven by Intel as a Manufacturing Technician where I directly contributed to the development and production of microprocessors. I eventually moved back into full-time customer support in 2000 when I joined Automation Support as a Call Center Agent. I have been in my current position since 2007 as a second and third-level Systems Support Engineer providing technical support for Intel's world-wide Process Control Systems infrastructure. I enjoy working with a broad range of cultures and people, and actively advocate the importance of internal customer care. Connect: LinkedIn | Twitter

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