The customer experience is defined by the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation, and advocacy.
In other words, it is the subjective perspective that people have of any direct or indirect contact with a business. This includes phone conversations, emails, click to call and chat conversations, and all other non-agent related connections to a company ranging from advertising, packaging, the services and features of a product, how easy it is to use, quality the interactions they have through any communication channel with the company, and reliability of the product and the company.
When we talk about “customer experience”, we are referring to all interactions that take place between a company’s employees and their customers. There are multiple customer experience touch points, and therefore all branches of a company are involved and responsible for the experience, for example:
The marketing department is often responsible for the first interaction, and therefore the first impression, that consumers form about a company, product, or service. They are responsible for all commercial forms of interaction like advertising and email marketing, which take place prior to all points of the sales funnel.
Next, the sales experience moves the customer along from point of interest to purchase.
- Customer Service:
Customer service reps, or call center agents, take responsibility for the majority of customer interactions once a sale has taken place. They provide support, answer questions, trouble-shoot, and even upsell.
If a company operates in a regulated industry, like healthcare or finance, they are responsible for maintaining compliance with laws and rules to protect their customers, and have a significant influence on the customer’s perception of the company, especially if something goes wrong, like a security breach.
In some companies, the human resources team is responsible for initially training employees. After that initial training, department managers take on the role of coaching and training to help employees develop their skills relevant to the role they perform. Training and coaching ensures that call center agents and employees in the company are following a company-mandated script, and complying with any relevant federal regulations.
With experience being a high priority for consumers (60% often or always paying more for a better experience), and with so many touch points within a company now playing a role in the customer experience, it is vital for businesses to be aware of the experience they deliver, and to commit to making the customer experience a top priority-both at the executive level and flowing down to all departments that have a hand in the customer relationship.
Technology to Capture and Evaluate Customer Experience:
Businesses of all industries and sizes need to be monitoring their customer experience, including retail businesses, hospitality, financial services, healthcare, insurance, and the for-profit education market.
With phone calls being the preferred method of contact, the need to capture those conversations becomes heightened. The next steps however are altogether different, and companies justifiably find themselves confronted with the enormous undertaking to extract that information, analyze it, take action and make improvements based on the findings.
The Value of Monitoring and Evaluating Calls:
The challenge lies in how to best collect and analyze this vast amount of data in a manageable way. Consequently, advanced call recording with automated speech analytics applications have begun to rise in implementation. With the latest development of cloud-based solutions, businesses have immediate access to real-time data, which is both cost-effective and helps them address many different business objectives.
Regardless of their current monitoring methods, companies need to consider how their call data could be more efficiently aggregated and analyzed, and whether the use of speech analytics technologies can expedite turning that data into actionable business insights and practices.
Ways to Improve Customer Experience:
While we know that the experience is important to the customer, as cited above, and that 60% of customer service managers consider satisfaction to be the most important call center metric, only 26% of companies have a well-developed initiative in place to make sure they are monitoring the experience they provide, and using technology to help them identify areas of weakness and candidates for improvement.
As consumers are twice as likely to share their bad experiences with a company than they are to talk about good experiences, this should be a high priority area of focus for any business that provides products and services (hence, any company!).
Small improvements in the customer experience can have enormous financial impact on a business. With a better experience comes more customers who will spend more and it is proven that improved customer retention will increase the value of a business.
Learn more about recent advancements in call center technology that will help your business monitor its customer interactions for quality and compliance, and provide the data you need to start building a customer experience program.
Sources: Harris Interactive, Customer Experience Impact Report
Evaluating & Improving the Customer Experience in Call Centers