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Here on the blog we're often saying that the most important person in the contact centre is the one on the other end of the phone! Today we held a webinar where we invited our attendees to walk a mile or two in their customer's shoes and understand how to improve their customer experience.

Paul Cooper of Customer Plus kicked off the session with some statistics from BT Research

83% of people want organisations to make it easier to deal with them

86% of people say that a good experience with contact centre positively impacts their loyalty

In today's world of comparison sites you might think that customer loyalty is dead, and that people want to switch based on price at the first opportunity - but that is not the case. Customer loyalty is alive and well, people ultimately would rather stay with the company they have previously chosen if they can. Customers are for you to lose.

NewVoiceMedia Customer Experience Webinar

What is changing is that whereas the product itself was the main brand differentiator in the past, today service excellence is what sets you apart. Great brands like Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Air, Waitrose and First Direct have set out their stalls to offer the best service and this on its own can attract and retains loyal customers.

Paul then discussed customer surveys as a way of measuring your customer's experience. 81% of the attendees voted that learning and improvement were the main reason for running surveys, but whilst that might be the main motivation, it might not be the actual result.

If you are running customer surveys you need to make sure that there is a good process in place to monitor and act on the feedback - otherwise it is worse than not asking in the first place.

Longer term surveys are a good idea, but fellow-panelist Paul Turner recommended real-time surveys being added to the end of customer calls. If a caller says that they had to wait too long to speak to someone, or they were disatisfied with the response they can be called back immediately and the call plan can be investigated right now. Knowing this information in two weeks is no good. And if your team are getting great survey results, get these up on the walls right now - improve morale in the team. We know that happy staff means even happier customers - a virtuous circle!

For more information on running post call surveys check out Friday Feature: Customer Satisfaction Surveys

During Paul Turner's presentation attendees were asked what was the biggest annoyance when calling into a contact centre (not their own)! The top result was staff with poor knowledge. Ultimately this results in being passed around multiple agents and having to repeat yourself. Check out our previous post "Is your call plan more snakes than ladders?" for more on this!

With today's technology it is easy to 'know' who is on the other end of the line, to know that they are a customer, to know what products they have, and whether they have already called for help. Point these callers to the agents that can best help them and you get a myriad of benefits but mainly - improved customer satisfaction.

Jonty Pearce from Call Centre Helper wrapped up the session with his three tips.

  1. Listen to calls - get supervisors, managers, directors and CEO's to listen to what is really happening. Don't just record the call once they are put through to the agent - record the IVR, record the hold music - and experience what your customer experiences. Is it acceptable?
  2. Search Twitter - on Twitter search for your company name and "customer service" and you'll get the pulse of your customer base. If you're brave add the word "Fail" to your search! Better to know than to sweep under the carpet.
  3. Quality not Quantity. In days gone by Average Handling Time was the key metric - get them off the phone quickly and move onto the next call. But today customer satisfaction and First Call Resolution are the key metrics. If it takes longer to ensure your customer is happy then do so. In other departments like Sales or Telemarketing a long call is seen as a sign of success - and it should be the same here.

Our attendees provided some of their own suggestions to improve customer engagement.

  1. Meet the manager - monthly or quarterly sessions that give customers direct access to the management or Executive team. This feedback can really help businesses to make appropriate decisions.
  2. Ask the customer what they feel would be a suitable resolution - listen to the customer, empower them and show them you really care about solving their problem.
  3. Get your team to discuss great examples of customer service - by getting your team to think about their own experience of good (or bad) customer service from their own lives they can empathise with their own customers that day.

That final point brought the webinar full circle. To deliver a great customer experience you need to put yourself in your customer's shoes. Think about your call plan, your staffing, your technology by all means - but do it from your customer's perspective.

We hope you enjoyed the webinar and will post up the recording shortly.

For more information on how you NewVoiceMedia can help you implement some of today's suggestions just visit the ContactWorld page on our website.

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About Charlie Cowan

Charlie is passionate about cloud computing and how it can help real businesses to run more profitably.

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