What Is Contact Centre Customer Experience?
Contact centre customer experience is exactly as it sounds – this is the overall experience that a customer has with a contact centre. This can be through a call, email, chat, or social media and encompasses the entire experience, from interaction initiation to resolution, and whether expectations were met.
The Importance of Contact Centre Experience
The contact centre customer experience can make or break loyalty, impact customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, and even affect sales.
Below are a few factors that contribute to a positive experience, and can improve call centre customer service:
A Fast Response
Customers expect to be able to get in touch with a company quickly and easily. If they wait on hold for a long time, they’re likely to get frustrated and give up.
A Human Connection
Contact centre customers should be treated with respect, professionalism, and courtesy. Some calls might involve a distressed customer, so agents must be empathetic.
Agents should have the training needed to answer questions quickly and efficiently and find the best solutions for the customer.
Agents should be as clear and concise as possible, ensuring that they understand the inquiry and that the customer understands the resolution or any needed next steps.
Measuring and Improving Contact Centre Customer Experience
Measuring the contact centre customer experience can include any applicable metrics, depending on the contact centre, such as:
Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)
This indicates the level of satisfaction that a contact centre customer has with their overall experience. Customers completing CSAT surveys typically rate on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “very dissatisfied” and a 10 representing “very satisfied.”
Net Promoter Score (NPS)
This measures whether a customer would recommend a company to others. Contact centre customers will rate on a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 indicating “not at all likely” and 10 indicating “extremely likely.”
Average Handle Time (AHT)
This is a measure of the average amount of time it takes to resolve a customer issue. AHT is calculated by dividing the total amount of time spent on customer interactions by the number of interactions.
Customer Effort Score (CES)
Customer effort score measures the ease of customer interaction. Customers will typically base their ratings on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being “very difficult” and 10 being “very easy.”
First Call Resolution (FCR)
This indicates how frequently inquiries are resolved during the first contact. FCR is calculated by dividing the number of inquiries resolved that are on the first contact by the total number of inquiries.
Consider measuring other aspects of the contact centre customer experience, such as agent performance (agent availability, accuracy, and empathy) and technology performance (wait times, abandonment rates, and system uptime/unscheduled downtime).
Use a variety of metrics for better insights and consider using industry benchmarks to compare performance with peers. Finally, consider using customer feedback as part of your evaluation process.
How to Improve the Contact Centre Customer Experience: 7 Essential Steps
The contact centre customer experience starts with the employee experience. Agents that are well-trained and know what they are being measured on will deliver an exceptional customer experience. Here are a few recommendations for improving call centre customer service:
Set Clear Goals
Determine contact centre goals and what success looks like. Are your goals to reduce churn, improve customer satisfaction, or increase sales? Once those goals are set your team can plan strategies and train employees to meet those goals.
Train Your Agents
Agents are on the front line of the contact centre customer experience. Set agents up for success by ensuring that they have thorough product and services training, and are familiar with processes and policies, as well as any regulatory requirements.
Also ensure that agents have the “soft skills” (such as empathy, professionalism, and friendliness) which can be part of training.
Reinforce Agent Knowledge
Contact centre agents have ever-increasing training requirements, including product training and updates, policy updates, and shifting compliance requirements, as well as upskilling and cross-skilling.
Given these requirements, it is easy to fall victim to the “forgetting curve.” Supplement learning and development initiatives with microlearning, which delivers bite-sized learning at intervals to increase knowledge retention.
With all the training requirements comes the need to create frontline training materials. But this need often exceeds bandwidth. Fortunately, there are solutions that enable the fast and scalable creation of learning materials by leveraging generative AI, such as ChatGPT.
Offer Transparency Into Performance
Tracking employee progress identifies areas for improvement and increases agent motivation and engagement when they see progress toward their goals. Real-time performance insights enable agents to easily see where they are and have meaningful conversations about how to get to where they need to be.
Evaluate Quality Assurance Processes
Quality assurance processes help improve the contact centre customer experience, but they are often transactional, static, and not as effective as they could be. Explore ways to optimize your QA processes with flexible forms, a robust feedback loop, and better insights into root causes.
Gamify the Experience
Adding gamification to the employee experience can boost motivation, engagement, performance, and ultimately the contact centre customer experience. Tie gamification goals and initiatives by using leaderboards, levels, badges, rewards and recognition, employee contributions, and more.
The Future of Contact Centre Customer Experience
The future of the contact centre customer experience is being shaped by new approaches and technologies, including:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is already being leveraged by contact centres for task automation, answering customer questions, and resolving issues. It is also increasingly being used for team training and development.
An Omnichannel Approach
Customers increasingly expect a seamless, satisfying interaction that extends to more than a single channel. Whether by phone, chat, email, or social media, agents must be able to deliver an outstanding customer experience.
A modern contact centre customer experience will need to be personalized. Leverage data and analytics to provide the information and assistance a customer might need at that moment.
Improve Your Contact Centre Customer Experience
A performance experience platform elevates the employee experience, enabling a heightened contact centre customer experience.
The platform takes a holistic approach to the employee experience, offering AI-powered microlearning, personalized, real-time performance insights, augmented coaching, and tying these elements together with gamification.
Key Takeaways for the Contact Centre Customer Experience
The contact centre customer experience is critical to brand loyalty. This experience can serve as the differentiator for customers who might consider taking their business to a competitor – or remaining with the brand. Below are a few key takeaways:
- A positive contact centre customer experience includes a fast response, clear communication, efficient inquiry resolution, and a human, empathetic connection.
- Contact centres should use a variety of metrics for greater performance insight, including CSAT, NPS, AHT, customer feedback, industry benchmarks, and agent performance.
- Steps for improving the contact centre customer experience include setting the right goals, training agents and reinforcing their knowledge, leveraging AI and gamifying the employee experience.
- Personalization, AI, and an omnichannel approach are increasingly shaping the contact centre customer experience.
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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.