Published: September 10, 2018 | Comments
Research by Forrester shows that “Customer experience leaders grow revenue faster than CX laggards, drive higher brand preference, and can charge more for their products.” (The US Customer Experience Index, 2018; Forrester Research, Inc., June 19, 2018). Traditionally, businesses have focused on creating the most high-quality and low-cost products. In today’s environment, however, without the ability to match it with equally high-quality service, customers will go running to your competitors. In fact, eight in 10 customers are willing to switch companies due to poor customer service.
Still, as organizations adjust to this new mandate, there can be friction between senior leadership and customer service operations teams on how to best tie exceptional customer service to overall company value. Much of the tension comes from rethinking the way businesses measure contact center success.
Contact centers typically focus on KPIs that measure cost per customer transaction, such as average handle time (AHT) and deflections. However, building long-term loyalty and advocacy is significantly more impactful in the customer experience economy. Customers have a different definition of “value” than they did just several years ago. Evolving customer tastes require business leaders to prioritize investments in the contact center – which often acts as the front line of customer experience – and shift their mindset from minimizing transaction costs to maximizing customer value. This prioritization includes providing customer service teams the right tools for the job, such as upgrading from inflexible legacy solutions (even if “fully cost depreciated by accounting”) to modern, analytics-powered cloud contact center technology.
Here are three things to consider that help your contact center deliver on your brand promise.
Matching KPIs to Modern Customer Expectations
At a strategic level, the majority of businesses leaders do appreciate the value of prioritizing customer experience. There are, however, conflicting views on how to implement that strategy. 81 percent of customer experience (CX) leaders report they will compete mostly or entirely on CX, but less than half have established a rationale for why CX drives business outcomes. In many cases, the critical indicator of a business’ true commitment to customer experience is how they measure success.
It’s important for brands to measure contact center KPIs that correlate to revenue, such as Net Promoter Score®, CSAT, customer lifetime value, loyalty and advocacy metrics, and share of wallet. Short-term cost-focused metrics like cost per interaction or AHT time reveal a mentality of: how much does it cost to serve my customers today?
Measuring by cost is a short-term fix and doesn’t capture the increasingly complex relationships customers have with businesses. Contact centers need to be focused on creating customers for life and assign a meaningful value to each relationship, while continuously looking for ways to surprise and delight.
Implementing Effortless Omnichannel Communication
What makes your brand valuable to the customer? Brand promises mean much more than delivering the best product or service. It’s an ongoing relationship, and the many channels in which that relationship exists are essential. While there’s value in the transaction itself, there is equal if not greater value in the process and experience of engaging with the brand. Today, customers expect seamless and responsive omnichannel service.
This is especially potent for industries where consultative experiences are the norm. Rather than one end of a transaction, businesses need to serve as multifaceted resources. Understanding customer preferences is critical here – does it make the most sense to share information via self-service bots or web forums? If not, customers need to be seamlessly ushered to the right channel. In fact, according to the NICE inContact CX Transformation study, 87 percent of consumers expect companies to point them towards the channel that will resolve situations the fastest. Delighting customers requires meeting them where they are and making the entire experience as effortless as possible. Clunky interfaces, difficult-to-find information, or unpleasant agent experiences are massive detractors from your brand promise.
Powering Agents as the Face of Your Brand Promise
To deliver the types of seamless and engaging experiences the modern customer is looking for, contact center agents need the right tools at their fingertips. A unified agent experience that delivers both customer context and analytics is key. Most often, best-in-class agent experiences are built on an open cloud customer experience platform. On average agents spend 15 percent of their time finding relevant information, using an average of 5-7 interfaces. This is a significant amount of time that is keeping agents from resolving issues – in the age of instant gratification, it’s untenable. Without being supported by the right analytics, CRM integration, and omnichannel functionality, agents are severely limited in their ability to deliver exceptional customer experiences and, thus, organizational growth.
For businesses operating on legacy systems, making this transition may not seem like an immediate priority – especially when the systems purchased years ago have completely returned on the initial investment. In many cases, however, they are obstacles in delivering best-in-class customer experiences. Investing in cloud systems improves business’ ability to deliver on brand promises through powerful, agent-driven experiences. Agent productivity and effectiveness are crucial to building customer relationships that yield greater, and more meaningful results.
Building the Next Generation of CX
In today’s highly competitive landscape, standing out requires businesses to look beyond the traditional drivers of brand value. Product and price are considerable influences, but they cannot make the emotional connections that keep customers coming back – as only authentic, engaging experiences can. Unlocking your brand’s true potential requires investing in modern cloud contact center technology that empowers your customer service teams to deliver fast and personalized service – at scale – that will delight customers well beyond the crowded field of good products at a reasonable price.
Joining us this fall at ICMI Contact Center Demo? Be sure to visit the NICE inContact booth.