Customer Experience Management in the Contact Center

Customer Experience Management in the Contact Center

Paradigm #1: Context of the Customer's Entire Journey

Studies by TARP Worldwide, a customer experience management agency using the best contact center solutions, reveal that the root causes of all customer dissatisfaction and contact with companies are:

20-30% due to customers' wrong expectations or customer errors
20% due to employees' failure to follow policy or inappropriate attitudes, and
40-60% due to broader company issues throughout the company … such as contact center products and services that don't meet expectations, marketing miscommunications, and broken processes.
Yet customer experience management programs sometimes focus primarily on touchpoints. Contact centers often play a pivotal role in most of the customer experience management touchpoints we typically identify - from inquiries on the web to order fulfillment, potential problem resolution, cross-selling, and community. These are customer experience management touchpoints from the company's perspective.

A careful analysis of customer experience management from the customer's perspective reveals numerous additional steps, beyond touchpoints, that influence a customer's perception of excellent or poor customer experience management. The first paradigm shift is to define your company's solution as a means to an end for the desired outcomes that customers buy.

To master customer experience management, it's essential to understand the circumstances that drive need awareness, integration with other solutions, and customers' adaptation, expansion, and eventual disposal of the solution.

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Paradigm #2: A Window to the Customer Experience Management

The second paradigm shift is to view your company's Service function as a window to customer experience management. A contact center is an excellent tool for improving customer experience management - not only when customers contact you - but also across the entire customer experience management spectrum. First, analyze contact center data to explain why customers contact you. Second, there are many opportunities to close the loop with customers, either individually or collectively, by letting them know what kinds of issue resolution you've achieved. And third, focus on customers' desired outcomes by eliminating waste, simplifying complexities, automating routine activities, leveraging growth opportunities, and improving all aspects of your customer experience management solutions.

Whirlpool Corporation is an excellent example of transforming its contact center into a customer experience management center - which they call cXc. 

Whirlpool achieved 10% savings each year, along with these business benefits:

  • Customer experience management used to view the contact center as a cost center and necessary evil … but now views it as a profit center and competitive advantage.
  • Customer experience management incentives were solely on efficiency and cost containment … and now include customer retention, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth.
  • Agents were low-skilled, with 30-50% annual turnover, and now there are some highly skilled agents and a career path that is a source of management talent with lower attrition.
  • There used to be fragmented customer information and little or no analytical capability … but now Whirlpool actively mines customer data to identify trends and valuable findings for management across the company.
  • Customer experience management reporting was focused on calls and queue performance, but now a broader set of customers and segment-focused metrics are used.
  • Customer experience management technology silos have replaced an integrated multi-channel IT landscape.

Paradigm #3: Re-Frame Value of Customer Experience Management

The 3rd paradigm shift for generating a goldmine from your contact center is to re-frame contact center roles by comparing values and irritants. From the customer's point of view. This means shifting the focus from simply resolving customer issues to understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points for customer experience management.

By doing so, contact center performance management for agents can identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell products or services that align with the customer's interests and provide better overall customer experience management. By proactively addressing irritants and offering personalized customer experience management solutions, contact center agents can turn dissatisfied customers into loyal ones and create a valuable source of revenue for the business.

Paradigm #4: Leverage Contact Center Data for Customer Experience Management

The 4th paradigm shift is to define value the way customers define it. The cost-benefit trade-off exists everywhere, and from the customers' perspective, the deal includes products, services, personnel, and images, while costs include money, time, energy, and worry. Customers have numerous measures of functional, social and personal desired outcomes throughout the customer experience management spectrum from need awareness to need extinction. We can quantify customer cost-benefit tradeoffs as a value quotient, a ratio of desired results to undesired effects. For each product, the customer's choice of possible solutions can be plotted to understand customer experience management better. This can allow more proactive customer experience management and innovation.

Contact centers can sometimes derail business results by over-focusing on cost reduction, revenue generation, or customer experience. Over-focus on customer experience management limits revenue and increases costs; over-focus on cost reduction limits revenue and weakens customer experience management; and over-focus on income leads to poor customer experience and higher prices. Ideally, contact center metrics will translate customer expectations to tactical execution, balancing these three goals.

Cisco's award-winning customer intelligence center director, Theresa Kushner, said," More companies are putting the customer at the central part of their data collection systems and managing from the outside-in. That's when you know you're working to optimize the customer experience management."

Remember that the company's solution is a means to an end toward the customers' desired outcome. We quickly think of the firm's solution as the product, service, and business model that the customer buys. Additionally, the solution includes conveniences such as availability by place, time, form, and so forth … and affinities such as brand symbolism, status, philanthropy, and other brand expectations. And don't underestimate the impact of policies, processes, and culture on your firm's solution, impacting the customer's desired outcomes.

It's been said that goodwill or adjusting a policy has a small dollar cost and time cost relative to a Better Business Bureau claim which runs 16X in dollar cost and 6X in time in the customer experience management strategy. A small claims lawsuit runs 27X in dollar cost and 12X in time. Whirlpool finds that more than half of customer escalations to top management are about policy, such as out-of-warranty repair, parts, and exchanges. 20% are product failures … only 3% are cases where agents didn't follow processes or policies.

The contact center is traditionally considered the culminating touchpoint after engineering, manufacturing, and retail functions have completed their work. The contact center can significantly expand its impact on the company by mining customer call logs and streaming relevant data enterprise-wide. Through change management, the contact center can influence services and products…

Contact center data is largely under-valued. Whereas formal survey data centers around customer satisfaction enablers that the company has defined for tracking customer sentiment, contact center data for customer experience management … as such, it revolves around the customer's world and is potentially more pure and valuable for innovating products, services, business models, processes, policies and so forth. For a panoramic view of customer experience management, stream relevant integrated data from sales and service reports, complaint logs, the CRM database in customer experience management, the blogosphere, social media, win-loss reports, and formal surveys.

We typically think of customer-facing organizations as the primary recipients of customer experience management feedback. Yet all other functions can and should understand their impact on customer experience management. Stream relevant data to each organization to make customer experience management part of each employee's job description.

Virgin Mobile is practical in acting on its formal contact center survey. They use a 5-point scale and pay particular attention to the top-2 box (ratings of 4-5) and bottom-2 box (1-2), emphasizing the latter. They formed a customer experience management advisory group that looks at surveys with a bottom-2 box rating hour by hour to identify what went wrong and turn the wrong into a right. 

They categorize feedback by contact center skill issues and business operations issues in customer experience management. They also call customers to acknowledge issues when a poor rating is given … people are surprised and pleased with the personal attention and commitment to resolution for effective customer experience management. Dennis Weikle, VP of Customer Care, says: "We are customer champions across the business groups - we try everything we do to anticipate the impact on the customer. Over the past year, we saw the percentage of bottom box ratings shrink in half” about their customer experience management strategy.  

For effective customer experience management enterprise-wide, stakeholder management is essential. A stakeholder is anyone directly affected by a change, has something to gain or lose, and has information or ideas helpful to the success of the change. Compare the best contact center software with the best customer experience management options to improve your business revenue. 

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