The customer is the final authority on quality

The “customer experience” describes the entire cradle to grave experience a customer has with your organization from how they initially find your company, how they learn about your products and how they buy, to how they feel that purchase is ultimately serviced.

And perhaps most importantly, would they do it all over again?

Customer experience is ongoing and agents – assuming the contact center is a part of this experience – can greatly contribute to a customer’s overall satisfaction and loyalty.

For example, when a customer calls into a center or contacts an agent through the web, chat or e-mail, agents must understand how that customer got there, how they can best help them with their inquiry, how they can measure their success, and how they can deliver world-class customer service to drive loyalty so that the customer will repeat the process.

On the other hand, if an agent delivers a poor customer experience, you could lose the customer forever – regardless of how superior your product may be. (This is especially true in commodity markets where it is easy for customers to leave your company and purchase the same product from someone else. They may even be willing to pay more if it means they receive better customer service.)

So, how do you measure the customer experience to determine if your customers are happy? There are two basic measurement categories: emotional and behavioral.

The emotional measurement describes how a customer feels about his or her experience with your company. Did they reach and agent on the first try or did they get stuck in the IVR? Was it easy to reach a live person or did they have to wait? And if they did wait, how long? Were they treated the way they felt they should be treated? Did the agent listen to their issue and solve the problem?

The behavioral measurement addresses the critical question of would the customer call your company again? Would they buy your product again? Was their issue resolved the first time they called (FCR)? What do they think of your company based on their experience (Loyalty Measurement), and would they recommend you to a friend based on their experience?

Ideally, when a customer contact has ended, either through e-mail or a third-party, the customer is quickly contacted and asked a series of behavioral and emotional questions.

If their response is negative, supervisors can identify which agent handled the call and review the agent’s performance to understand why the interaction was unsuccessful. (Maybe the agent couldn’t find the correct record, quoted the customer the wrong rate, etc.)

Once the issue has been identified, targeted training or coaching can be sent to the agent to address the gap so that they can be better prepared for the next call. This completes the loop.

Otherwise, if the issue is not fixed right away – and this is only the first or second customer the agent handles of 60 they will interact with that day – then you expose your company to the possibility of handling multiple customers’ inquiries incorrectly.

This way, the customer acts as the true quality analyst, driving agent training and coaching agendas. Ultimately, it is the customer who is the final authority on quality. If they are happy with their experience, they stay. If not, they go.

About the author

Bob Fletcher

Bob leads the sales and solution delivery initiatives for Intradiem’s global business process outsourcing (BPO) clients, helping to transform their business models and drive profitability via Intraday Automation. He brings a wealth of operations, management and consulting acumen to the BPO practice, having delivered guidance to more than 1,000 call centers and trained over 5,000 managers and supervisors worldwide. Bob's experience includes executive management of Arvato's customer service operations and as executive vice president for Deutsche Telekom. Bob has also served in critical management roles in engagements with leading companies such as T-Mobile, Verizon, Pitney Bowes, TeleDenmark, Gateway of Dublin, DecisionOne, Delta Dental, Wells Fargo and Cox Communications.

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