In 2017, Ofgem, the UK energy regulator, announced that it was considering fines of £13.9m in the form of revenue cuts against the country’s six largest electricity distributors due to poor customer service.
According to Ofgem’s investigation, some customers were not given timely or thorough information from the distributors about when they might receive power connectivity, and further updates did not contain enough detail to satisfy customer needs.
In this particular industry, the regulatory agencies have the ability to demand better service for consumers by levying such fines. For the rest of us, our customers simply find another provider.
Regardless of industry, a company’s top priority should be delivering a great customer experience that perpetuates customer loyalty, not regulatory sanctions. But accomplishing this goal means that brands must take an outcomes-based approach to customer service, and doing so involves changing their approach.
Here are some ways brands can shift gears and focus on the right metrics, tools, and methods to meet, and exceed, customer expectations.
View everything in context
The traditional approach to customer service satisfaction focuses on single engagement metrics, such as contact centre call resolution or average call handling time. However, those metrics mean that agents are often trying to get customers off the phone as quickly as possible in order to meet a particular time requirement.
While these numbers do have merit, it’s important to remember that 86 percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but achieving that experience requires a holistic approach. Emphasis should be placed on the dialogues and conversations that agents have with customers and the long-term results of those conversations, not just a snapshot in time. When call resolution metrics are used in concert with benchmarks such as customer sentiment and retention rates, companies can gain a comprehensive view of the entire customer experience and take steps to make improvements.
Moving beyond traditional metrics requires businesses to move beyond traditional technology. To stay ahead of issues and accurately gauge customer sentiment, it is important to implement a speech analytics strategy. With speech analytics, brands can drill down into recorded call data to better understand how representatives were able to reach a resolution, not just that a solution was reached. Companies can analyse this data to understand if, for example, customers prefer their utilities correspondence to come via text message as opposed to email or post.
In addition, the more conversational data that is collected, the more patterns will arise, so brands can adjust long-term strategies based on customer needs and preferences.
Not only are speech analytics beneficial for customer service strategies, that information should be viewed in conjunction with all other organisational data. Then, every department can make adjustments in overarching business strategies because, just like sales or marketing, the contact centre is a critical piece of the customer journey.
Focus on employees
Contact centre employees are on the front lines of customer inquiries, issues, and – ultimately – happiness, making them a vital asset to any brand. Research shows that employees who are five percent more engaged than their counterparts can help increase revenue growth by three percent the following year. If they’re disengaged or aren’t empowered to make the right decisions, it’s safe to say that customers will also be dissatisfied. To keep employees equipped and engaged, it’s important for brands to employ the right strategies with the right incentives, feedback and tools.
Companies can use speech analytics technology to offer the rapid feedback and coaching agents need to be effective. When these insights are combined with desktop analytics, brands have insight into which resources successful agents are using and implement those strategies across the department. If brands create tailored programmes to give agents individual feedback and incentives, agents are more likely to be proactive and enthusiastic and to create satisfied customers.
Brands owe their customers a great experience that keeps them coming back for more. By taking an outcomes-based approach that combines the right metrics, technology and employee engagement strategies, companies can exceed customer expectations (and stay out of regulatory hot water).
Thanks to Tom Goodmanson, CEO at Calabrio
To find out more about Calabrio , visit: www.calabrio.com