To Spot Customer Support Problems, Become Your Own Customers
Customer engagement is front and center on many businesses’ priority lists today. Putting it on a list, however, doesn’t make it happen. It doesn’t help customers that you pay lip service to a great customer experience. It won’t even help if you hire an expensive consultant to measure your customer support. The best possible way to improve the customer experience is to look for the biggest roadblocks – customers’ biggest aggravations – and eliminate them.
Too many companies look in the wrong places for answers to lackluster customer support, according to a recent article by Steve DiGioia writing for Business2Community.
“Stop looking at your flow charts or profit and loss statements,” he wrote. “They don’t tell you what or where the issues are, only the revenue lost because of your mistakes.”
One of the best ways to find the barriers to a great customer experience is to speak with customers and the contact center agents who speak with customers all day, every day. Another novel approach is to actually become the customer by interacting with your company’s contact center and self-service technologies. Pick up the phone or log on, and chances are good you’ll be able to spot the barriers yourself in a hurry.
“Get out of your office and into ‘the field,’” wrote DiGioia. “Face the same scenarios as any other cash-paying customer. How many touch-points do your customers experience during a transaction? And better yet, where does the first touch point start? Think of yourself as a first time customer of any business.”
The difference between a great customer experience and a poor one is often measured by the ease of the journey. How easily are your customers finding support? Do they have to wait on hold? Are they being transferred multiple times? Do agents have the right answers at their fingertips? Are self-service solutions such as IVRs sending them around in circles?
There are a number of common problems when it comes to the customer experience. Most often, it’s because of poor scheduling. There simply aren’t enough agents to pick up calls in a timely way. Agents who do handle calls are harried, burned out apathetic toward their jobs. Even if they’re engaged employees, if they don’t have the time and the right tools to help customers, customers won’t be happy. Unhappy customers lead to unhappy agents (and vice versa).
Scheduling and workforce management rooted in the past – in spreadsheets or outdated software – are at the core of many barriers to a great customer experience. To adequately meet call and contact volume, the contact center must be staffed to the right levels at all times of day. Often, this means changing variables on-the-fly: something that’s difficult with outdated software and impossible with spreadsheets. Today’s cloud-based workforce management solutions can improve adherence and ensure that customer support is “right-staffed” at every moment of the day.
“Customers spend more if the perceived benefit of owning your product or service is higher than what another business offers,” wrote DiGioia.
If your competitors are offering customers a better customer journey, guess where that leaves you?
Edited by Alicia Young