Contact centres are at the heart of the customer experience and as such are under constant scrutiny from the public and the industry to provide a consistently high level of service. It is commonly acknowledged that the sustainable differentiator between companies is now the level of service they provide and the subsequent impression left with the customer when each call ends.
As such the performance measurement criteria used by a contact centre should complement and not conflict each other in order to achieve a successful level of service.
The business objectives
Organisations need to be clear as to what their overall objective is in order to establish what they are looking to achieve as a business, whether this be maximising profits, maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction, recruiting new talent, driving new business or all of these things.
Managers can then create and execute successful plans for each area of the goal. However, if a brand fails to consider its intentions at the start of a project, it is in danger of potentially skewing one set of results which could be detrimental to another.
Customer satisfaction surveys
To understand whether a contact centre is developing in the right direction, it is essential to use some form of customer satisfaction survey. A CSAT Index, for example, can be simply implemented to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty.
The survey method can help to reduce the complexity of implementation and analysis frequently associated with measures of customer satisfaction. In turn, this provides a stable measure of business performance that can be compared across business units.
Another critical factor is pro-actively assessing customer advocacy and word-of-mouth feedback by looking at whether existing customers are talking about the services and products on offer. Brands should be continually looking for new ways to elevate their service not only to ensure repeat business from customers but to activate the spread of the business name through word of mouth.
Start measuring Twitter
The internet has given consumers the ability to express their opinions on an easily accessible platform where they can openly applaud or criticise a brand and its service. Word of mouth online can work in two ways; negative comments posted on review sites or Twitter can be read by thousands of people and become a deciding factor in brand or product choice. Conversely, a satisfied customer can pass on positive comments which have a considerable impact on a brand in terms of generating new custom and increasing profit.
To drive customer satisfaction there should be a clear definition of first-contact resolution and the opportunity to provide customers with better processes in response to their needs. It is essential for managers to look at how efficient their contact centre’s current processes are by identifying any existing weaknesses in first-contact resolution. A focus on speed of delivery can often mean contact centre agents have far less interaction with customers which can result in them feeling less valued and can remove the personal aspect from conversations.
In order to monitor first-contact resolution effectively, contact centres can use automated technologies but in the initial stages agents should be trained to handle situations without any props. To do this, agents should be briefed on the detailed processes that will solve customer problems efficiently and appropriately. Managers must ensure that customer’s satisfaction levels remain high by establishing a timeframe to monitor customer requests and track progress. Through this approach, contact centres can save money and essentially avoid losing customers.
Customer lifetime value
For contact centres, an essential indicator of performance would be one which considers the value of the brand to the consumer. This can be analysed by looking at how many products a customer has purchased from that organisation and the value that this relationship has generated.
To fully understand a consumer’s affinity to a brand, a contact centre must distinguish whether the customer is heavily engaged and happy with the service being provided. In theory, customer lifetime value represents exactly how much each customer is worth in monetary terms, and therefore how much a brand should be spending to acquire and retain them as a loyal customer. Those customers which are defined as giving greater lifetime value can be maintained with approaches tailored to them.
It is essential to provide a positive working environment in the contact centre, recognising and rewarding each individual’s efforts. Agents should feel they can openly contribute and are supported when exchanging ideas during day-to-day activity.
To achieve this, it is essential to evaluate and measure turnover, employee satisfaction, employee attitudes, and management effectiveness continuously in order to develop the potential of the workforce.
Call centre effectiveness
It is equally important to look at hard, quantitative measures of call centre effectiveness. This can be done by looking at how quickly agents are able to resolve calls and the ability to build rapport whilst gaining additional insight and data. Encouraging a customer to impart any information, especially in light of the somewhat negative view the media has placed on the use of personal data, can be a challenge for agents, but will enrich the customer service experience. But a warm, personable, individual and interested conversation can overcome this and an agent who is able to do this well can open up opportunities for subtle cross- and up selling, generating more income for the organisation.