It’s 2019, which means contact center metrics from 1999 are almost old enough for their first legal beer (and already knocking them back in Canada.) Those metrics were born in an era when customer service was a race, where whoever got to the finish line first (i.e. off the phone) – upsetting the least number of hurdles, extra points for a graceful gait – was the champion, the most successful, the most likely to win “customer service agent of the year.”
Today’s consumers and their shifting expectations have turned that perspective on its head. Instead, we live in a customer-centric world, where metrics like Average Speed of Answer (ASA), Average Handle Time (AHT), and First Call Resolution (FCR) are, by themselves, short-sighted and more focused on controlling costs instead of enhancing the experience. That said, the contact center accumulates millions of data points every single day. How do we use that data to improve the customer experience?
We get it; earning executive buy-in on the decision to outsource your contact center usually includes a discussion about ROI. But calculating how the costs of your customer service solution make an impact on your bottom line can be complicated. For example, at first glance, an hour-long phone call with a customer that doesn’t result in first call resolution or a sale appears to be a high-cost, low-efficiency interaction.
What you may not initially see is how that hour inspires the customer’s lifetime loyalty and widespread promotion and advocacy, converting other customers on top of increasing their own spend. If that call was cut off at two or three minutes in the name of low AHT, an important opportunity to provide exceptional customer experience would have been lost.
Though hour-long calls are extraordinarily rare (though still nothing compared to the Zappos record customer-service call of 10 hours, 43 minutes!), this example holds its integrity even when scaled down to mere minutes and seconds. The point is, while data that describes an agent’s efficiency has its place (no one wants to be kept on hold unnecessarily or sit through minutes of pointless back-and-forth with a less-than-stellar agent) these metrics, taken alone, do little more than tell us to work as fast as possible to disengage from the customer.
Even if we are committed to delivering an exceptional customer experience, the fact is that many businesses turn to these metrics by default when making an outsourcing decision. Changing this approach and perspective is the first step in becoming a brand that your customers love. (For the same reason, we also believe that contact center pricing should never be your first question in the quest to outsource). But where do we start?
What one metric best reflects the state of your customer experience? Consider that today’s consumers are loyal to the brands that personalize the experience, are instantly responsive to their needs, and are authentic in the way they deliver service. The more loyal those customers are, the more they buy.
With that in mind, it’s clear that the quality of your customer experience is directly correlated with Lifetime Customer Value. (We discussed the LCV metric in more depth in our recent blog post, The True Cost of Losing a Customer.)
When you focus on improving that metric, what you’re really doing is shifting your efforts to decrease churn rate and increase retention. In our blog post about the cost of losing a customer, we referenced the example of a client who worked with us to implement a 24/7 team of Subject Matter Experts in support of a customer who had threatened to leave after a disappointing experience. The increased effort to meet expectations and provide a better experience was highly successful. Not only did the client stick around for the long run, their continued business meant a higher lifetime value.
While Lifetime Customer Value is a critical measure of your customer experience, it can’t by itself tell you what to focus on in your efforts to improve it. That’s where you have to take a holistic approach with the underlying data.
For example, we can’t forget about Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT). NPS was a metric first introduced in 2003, which feels like a lifetime ago. But instead of growing obsolete, this metric has simply entered its wiser golden years. Asking a customer to rate the probability of their promoting your brand to friends and family is a highly effective way to measure how well each interaction is being handled. We are big fans of the “Willingness to Assist” (WTA) metric which we measure through post-contact surveys. WTA is an actionable coaching point for your agents and relates directly to the customer experience. Moving the bar on Willingness to Assist is almost always correlated to an increase in CSAT and/or NPS.
That said, it’s important to remember that most customers respond to an NPS or CSAT survey with one specific interaction in mind, which doesn’t necessarily reflect their big-picture perception of your brand or their lifetime loyalty as a customer. A high NPS score after one successful interaction doesn’t guarantee a customer won’t switch brands next month. Thus, NPS, CSAT, and other scores like Customer Effort Score (CES) are still only a fraction of the big picture when it comes to improving the end-to-end customer experience.
These metrics are most valuable when you can segment and filter them by type of customer (especially by tenure and lifetime value), type of interaction (related to the channel they use or teams they interact with), and the customer’s score over time. Comparing these metrics against data about buying habits, social media interactions, eCommerce activity and more will begin to give you the bigger picture. This is also where you get to add in those more elementary contact center metrics, like Average Handle Time, Average Speed to Answer, and First Call Response rates.
The key is to map out the data in alignment with the customer journey – even in the moments when they are not interacting with you – creating a picture of exactly how well you are serving a customer throughout the lifetime of their advocacy. How that data maps out for high-value customers will likely look very different than the map for short-term, low-value customers. The differences between the two will indicate areas where you can use the data to improve the customer experience in a way that increases the average lifetime customer value.
Sound complicated? It can be, but the time and energy invested into using your customer service data will be returned ten-fold in the value of your customers.
Need a hand? We’d love to chat about building a better customer experience by using the data at your fingertips. Contact us here.
Publish Date: February 7, 2019
Contact Center Innovation Channel and Digital Transformation Enabler
Providing Research, Training and Consulting related to Customer Experience Delivery, support Project Management by Unit or Corporate.
Have the ability to conduct research for specific needs.
Having deep knowledge on the Digital Interaction/Contact Center / Omni Channel / CRM various Stakeholder and Emergency Response ecosystem in Indonesia.
Combines knowledge management with call support as continue improvement.
eGain Knowledge + AI
eGain's knowledge management software, powered with Case-Based Reasoning, an Artificial Intelligence technology, lets you provide intranet or extranet access to the common knowledge base, enabling contact center agents to provide distinctive, productive, and brand-aligned experiences in every interaction, across all channels and touchpoints.
eGain Knowledge + AI
eGain Knowledge+AI™, the top-rated, analyst-awarded knowledge management software, guarantees quality customer service by infusing your customer service agents with knowledge, making all agents as productive as your best ones. By providing agents and other users a range of ways to get to information from the common knowledge base, it ensures fast, consistent, and accurate answers.
FuzeDigital offers an affordable yet comprehensive knowledge base to answer your consumers' and staff questions. When assistance is needed, our email management system ensures your timely and accurate delivery of responses. Used by companies large and small that seek to deflect common questions while providing exceptional support.
Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.
Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!
We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!
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Knowmax is a knowledge management software for enterprises. Customer service of any organization can leverage this tool to create, curate & distribute the knowledge at assisted as well as digital channels promoting self service.
Knowledge Management software
livepro are experts in Customer Experience Knowledge Management and are passionate about improving customer experience. livepro is feature-rich yet easy to use, delivering answers to agents – not long complex documents to dig through. This makes customer service quicker, easier and more efficient. Staff require next to no training on complex procedures thanks to livepro’s intuitive design, which brings confidence up and training costs down.
ProcedureFlow is a step by step visual guide that supports agents as they navigate company processes. With a knowledge management solution that simplifies complex information, employees can spend less time searching and focus on what they do best. ProcedureFlow’s simple and intuitive platform enables contact centers to quickly and easily create, maintain, and update company processes in real time. With ProcedureFlow, teams can work more efficiently, better serve customers, and drive results that matter most to their business.
Knowledge: For Your Team
Synthetix’s intelligent knowledge base software, Knowledge: For Your Team empowers your agents whilst fuelling your digital customer service channels.
With one centralised source of knowledge that is simple to use and update, providing customers with the right information – whether that be through self-service or direct – is efficient and always consistent.
With their own integrated knowledge base that recommends articles based on what they’re typing and decision tree technology that produces scripting, agents are more productive and Average Handling Times can be reduced by 25%.
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