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Building overwhelming agreement on an issue is not easy. Should your child’s school have a dress code? Is coffee good or bad for your health? Are dogs or cats better pets? Should the paper be over or under off of the roll? You can easily add to this list.

One area which is not difficult to garner consensus on is the importance of customer experience to the bottom line of your business. No one ever says that service is not important – customers be damned! When customer service leaders are asked what they are ready to invest in, the list supports an overwhelming agreement that it’s customer service.

Like you, I receive a lot of emails. One about where customer service leaders are looking to invest caught my eye recently. It showed:

  • 63% were planning to invest in Customer Feedback
  • 58% in Quality/Customer Satisfaction Monitoring
  • 58% in customer Experience Management

It does not take my PhD to see that 100% of leaders fall into one of the categories related to a need for higher CX performance. They are ready to invest in Customer Feedback, Quality/Customer Satisfaction monitoring, and CX Management which all lead to business growth.

Why are Customer Service Leaders Ready to Invest in these Solutions?

Ask yourself what you are ready to invest in and the answer is likely to be in the Customer Feedback and/or the Quality/Customer Satisfaction monitoring category. But why are you in lock step with all the other customer service leaders? Because:

  1. Profits are eroding. True, but there’s incredible opportunity to preserve and increase your profits when study after study say that customers will pay more for a better experience, hence the desire to have better analysis on the customer experience. For example, 55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience (Defaqto Research) and in 2011 Harris Interactive Survey found that a whopping 86% of consumers are willing to pay for a “better” customer experience.
  2. The costs to attract new customers are on the rise. But for you a better customer experience will lower your costs due to your customers helping to attract new customers on your behalf.
  3. The demands to perform are higher and the spotlight is on you. The customer experience is gaining in Board Room and Executive performance demands. And they want results!

The importance of the customer experience doesn’t seem like a new focus. If you’ve also been in the contact center for more than 20 years, you can testify to that fact. But the performance demands and the level of importance are new. So we know that customer service leaders are ready to invest in the customer experience.  But what should you be considering when they are looking to invest?

  1. Don’t be a victim to changes in leadership and the stability of key personnel so you can keep customer experience initiatives on the list of projects under development.
  2. Avoid the temptation to be reactive to perceived issues and instead be proactive by leveraging customer feedback models to predict outcomes and to prove ROI.
  3. Eliminate company processes and protocol that are the unintentional constraints on your customer relationships and perception of service.
  4. Correct customer feedback and quality/customer satisfaction monitoring activities that lack the methodological discipline necessary to achieve confidence in analysis to the point where the organization follows the CX path defined by your customers.
  5. Increase your analytical skills. The people-aspect of contact centers is practically innate in those who gravitate toward the industry. But new demands require those who can perform analysis and apply the results to impact change.
  6. Get a coach. Your leaders need more than training to increase their skills. They need mentors and coaches to meet today’s demands.
  7. Continuity issues within the contact center is normal, meaning that most if not all great contributors are lured away to other departments within the organization (or worse, to another organization). The need to replace an excellent quality analyst or a lead training person can seriously affect the operation of a contact center. Everyone may be replaceable, as they say, but not everyone can be easily replaced and replaced without detriment to the contact center. Make sure succession planning is part of every key position and capture their knowledge.

Contact Center Leaders Have Different Needs

cta-you-should-knowGiven the barriers that contact center leaders must hurdle, it is no wonder how my role as a voice of the customer solutions provider has evolved over the past 2+ decades.

My primary responsibility is to design, implement and conduct customer feedback and voice of the customer programs to improve the customer experience. Secondary to creating contact center agent scorecards, providing the analysis and coaching teams to apply the results, the role has become more than that to many clients.

Unlike ten years ago, I and my team are looked at to be part of the critical institutional knowledge of an organization. Through changes at many levels, we are the stability for the clients as they work through the above listed barriers. This role has certainly surprised me but is one that brings greater satisfaction to my work because I get to help people even more than I used to.

If you are one of these contact center leaders looking to invest in these solutions I am sure you have many questions you would like to ask. But as a person who has served leaders like you, I found the questions they should ask become more valuable to them as they advanced (or not) in their careers.

What should you ask and consider as part of your search of the CX holy grail?

  1. Should I buy software and build the high level performance from solutions I need or are we better equipped to take advantage of solutions and hosted tools?
  2. How much do I need to build my customer experience skills? Do I need to know CX at a high-level and rely on support or do I need to heavily invest in becoming an expert?
  3. Do I want feedback or performance?  Do I need to change my mindset from Voice of the Customer to External Quality Monitoring?
  4. Do I need to rethink quality assurance? Does the traditional method work or do I need to consider a more lean approach like the impact Quality Assurance (iQA) model?

Has the contact center leader requirements changed?

To move forward many people ask, “how can I do more with less?” I am sure you have heard this (and said it) a lot. When a job is simple, doing more with less can be a simple answer. But when a job is complex, trying to do more means you’ll be doing less. Complexity requires deeper focus and concentration. So ask yourself. Has the contact center leader job gotten harder? For that answer I think you will find overwhelming agreement to be easy.

About Dr. Jodie Monger

Jodie Monger, Ph.D. is the president of Customer Relationship Metrics and a pioneer in voice of the customer research for the contact center industry. Before creating CRMetrics, she was the founding associate director of Purdue University's Center for Customer-Driven Quality.

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