Performance management is at the heart of what we do in Scorebuddy and it is closely related to customer experience; high performance in customer service equals high standard of the customer’s experience. We met customer experience guru, Colin Taylor of Taylor Reach Group, earlier this month at BT Ireland's and CCMA's conference and quizzed him up on the state of customer experience.
When Colin finished college he took up a job in a telemarketing company and has been working in the contact centre industry ever since. According to him customer experience is the flavour of month for how we describe customer service, it’s not new and it’s not difficult. CX is overhyped and most contact centres aren’t mature enough to focus on customer journey maps. With customer experience companies must deliver on what their marketing messages are delivering, the customer expects customer service, customer satisfaction; overall a great customer journey… just like you have promised them.
What is the biggest Customer Experience challenge facing us in 2015?
The biggest customer experience challenge facing organisations is the same as it was in 2010, there has been no difference since then. The greatest challenge is understanding customer expectations, and what’s ironic is that we (the company) created these expectations through marketing yet we still need them interpreted. Businesses need to train staff to deal with expectations. People high up the food chain in large organisations with big budgets talk a lot about customer journey mapping. But here’s some news; for most companies focusing on customer journey mapping is irrelevant because they aren’t getting the basics correct.It’s pointless chasing customer experience goals if you haven’t got the basics in place. People are the number one priority: having the right people with the right skills.
How can you train people in an organisation successfully?
The sage on stage is not effective. Millennials are used to multi-tasking; methods such as self-study, interactions learning, collaborative e-learning and group work are more effective than them being talked at.
Many companies today are still recruiting without doing skills and personality testing. Soft skills are hugely important, some of these are inherent in personality traits that’s why personality is so important. An example of a common misconception thrown around today is that all millennials have the technological skills required for any entry level contact centre role. Just because they grew with technology does not mean that they have good keyboard skills, many of them are only expert in the use of their thumbs! The increased usage of mobile phones and tablets has taken from desktop usage for web browsing meaning that there aren’t any better equipped than the rest of us! Math skills is another common skill we see sometimes here contact centre agents lacking basic knowledge and failing to calculate correctly.
At senior level people are getting distracted by latest trends, getting ahead of the curve and going into overdrive for certain aspects of the business to perfect it. If they lose sight of the basics and the basics are not up to scratch the rest is irrelevant because customer want the basics first and foremost.
You say basic, what’s an example of a ‘basic’?
- Being easy to do business with.
- Having an emotional and rational connection with people; listening to them and understanding the problem, not reading off a script to tick the boxes.
- Product knowledge.
- Basic Maths skills.
- Required technological skills.
What do you think of the likes of Zappos and their ethos around customer service?
Zappos don’t sell shoes, they sell customer experience, Tony Hseih told me that himself. Everything revolves around customer experience.
What role does Quality Monitoring play in Customer Experience?
Quality monitoring plays a part in performance management overall. Quality monitoring for many organisations is there to assure senior level management that a certain level of customer service is being delivered, like a guarantee of high quality. If they say we give the best quality they want to be able to back that up with statistics.
However some questions on quality scorecards detract the focus away from what’s important to customers. For example whether or not the agents was chewing gum on the call is likely to be immaterial to the customer; it’s not a quality issue, it’s simply a violation of company policy.
But what’s customer experience all about… really?
Customer Experience is all about interactions and agent empowerment is a powerful tool for improving customer experience. In an organisation Colin worked with their policy was that anything above $25 refund/reimbursement or rebate/bonus/inducement/complimentary need to be approved by senior level executives: this was 5 levels up in the organisational hierarchy. Senior level were simply approving everything as they hadn’t the time to go through them and assess them. However it was taking a long time for these refund requests to get up through the 5 levels which negatively impacted on the customer journey. When the company changed their policy and empowered the agents to make the decision they found they were giving away much less and issues were dealt with as the call was handled, not four/five weeks later.
What your best customer service monitoring tip?
“Remember when monitoring; what we (or what you) think is important might not be what the customer thinks is important”.