Thursday, June 27, 2013

Customer Experience Matters

According to a recent CRM Magazine article, only 8 percent of companies succeed at delivering excellent customer service.

That’s a sobering number, but it’s also an opportunity, as it suggests that a renewed focus on the customer experience might be the fastest way to gain a competitive edge and increase sales.

The call center can play a critical role in this strategy. And according to this CRM article, one of the keys to improving customer service is for companies to “realign their customer experience ecosystems.” That means making sure employees, partners, policies, processes and technologies are all working together to optimize the customer service experience.

Call recording software and workforce management solutions exist to make agent forecasting and scheduling more accurate, but if agents aren’t adhering to the schedule or company guidelines, it won’t matter. Conversely, the most efficient and dedicated agents imaginable can be hampered by technology that is improperly set up or too difficult to understand.

Ideally, a customer wants to acquire a product or service with as little inconvenience as possible. The ordering and payment process should be streamlined in a way that allows the customer to get on with their day and the agent to complete the transaction quickly and move on to another call. That is more difficult than it sounds when the agent has certain company-required responsibilities to try and upsell a related product, or request customer feedback on their encounter.

When customers call with complaints it is obviously too late to provide the ideal experience, but the right agent using the right words stands an excellent chance of salvaging that customer relationship.

A healthy customer experience ecosystem allows agents to meet their professional and personal objectives (days off, breaks etc.), incorporates technology that improves customer service and agent performance, and discovers customer preferences before striving to meet them.