Once upon a time, when a call center agent had resolved a customer’s issue, the caller was typically asked to answer a series of short questions about his or her experience on a 1 to5 ranking scale. Contact center managers could then manually compile those answers and try to evaluate agent performance and construct best practices using the responses as a road map. Still, without meaningful insight into what was behind those numerical rankings, improving customer satisfaction was a difficult chore.
Fortunately, contemporary contact centers have the opportunity to implement technology that facilitates more in-depth data collection and examination. Today’s best-in-class contact center software gathers information derived from phone, email, chat or any other channel available to the customer and helps break it into smaller chunks of actionable data. That information then becomes the foundation on which contact center managers build customer service best practices.
One of the most difficult challenges contact center managers face is aligning their internal agent evaluation criteria with customer sentiment. A supervisor may listen in on a customer interaction and determine that the agent did an exemplary job on the call. As a result, the manager gives the employee a high grade for the communication.
The caller, however, may have had a different opinion of the agent’s performance and gives decidedly negative feedback. Without in-depth survey questions, the contact center manager will never know exactly why the customer was dissatisfied. Not only does that interaction jeopardize the organization’s relationship with that consumer—because 39 percent of customers avoid vendors for two or more years after a negative experience—it also prevents the manager from adjusting best practices for future communications.
Top-shelf contact center surveys provide Voice of the Customer data that goes beyond general measures of satisfaction to what the customer is thinking and feeling. How did the customer feel about the agent he or she dealt with on the call? How did the experience compare to the last time the customer reached out? Would the consumer recommend the company to a friend? If not, what can be done to improve the experience moving forward? These are all questions that need answers.
“The customer is always right” is one of the most oft-used phrases in business, but what that popular expression neglects to encompass is that it’s not easy to know what that customer is actually thinking and feeling. Without that information, attempting to improve customer satisfaction is a little like wandering around in the dark.