A great customer experience is what every contact center strives for but many find it hard to achieve. Managers scuffle and try to micromanage their agents in order to push them to perform only to make matters worse. Oftentimes, these managers forget that there are actually two main contributors to the customer experience; technology and agent motivation, otherwise known as “systems and smiles” (Solomon, 2017).
According to Forrester, 72% of businesses believe that customer experience should be a top priority however only 63% invest in the right technology that can help them achieve this goal (Forrester, 2016). Research has shown that if a company wants to focus on its customer, it needs to evolve its technology to meet the ever-changing needs of the consumer. This can be done through the use of “advanced data analytics and machine learning” (ibid).
Contact centers need to keep up with the times and adapt their technology accordingly. Managers should be looking out for new emerging tools that can be used to adhere to the communication trends that their customers are now adopting.
For instance, industry professionals have seen that consumers increasingly prefer to use “lower friction channels like chat or messaging” to communicate with companies (Leggett, 2017). With this being the new trend, contact center managers should be considering using this form of technology if their customers fall into the same pattern.
Agent Motivation (Smiles):
Agents are the voice of the contact center and play one of the most vital roles in providing good customer service. However, studies have shown that the contact center industry is home to one of the highest turnover rates ranging between 30 to 45% (QATC, 2015) which is an indicator that agent motivation is at an all time low.
When the smiles go away, your customer experience level is going to fade away with it. If your agents are not happy, don’t expect your customers to be happy either. In fact, researchers have found that there is a “direct link between satisfied employees and happy customers” (National Business Research Institute, n.d.).
Managers need to invest in their agents, listen to them and make sure that they feel empowered in their position. There are various solutions that can help drive up the motivation and engagement of agents but forming a positive company culture can have a pivotal impact too.
The Take-Home Message
“The behavior you see at the customer support or sales levels of the company has its roots at the top of the company.” - Blake Morgan
According to Blake Morgan from Forbes, consumers can tell when a company only focuses on the bottom line which in turn is detrimental to the customer experience (Morgan, 2015). Cutting costs and driving up service-level expectations when the root of the problem isn’t being addressed is only going to hurt the company’s performance in the long-run.
At the end of the day, the top performing companies in the contact center industry are those that put effort into their internal environment. And what’s the best way to start? Begin investing in your contact center’s systems and smiles!
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