Entries by Pam Plyler
Challenges in attracting and retaining talent and the need to effectively balance quality of service with efficiencies have created a need for more sophisticated Workforce Management teams. While Workforce Management optimization is essential for providing great customer service, it is always a balancing act. The Workforce Management team is tasked with driving scheduling efficiencies while carefully considering the needs of their associates. When approached in the right way, the front-line teams have sufficient time for coaching and development which drives First Contact Resolution, customer loyalty, and sales along with employee retention. Flexibility in staffing is crucial to ensure the right number of associates are available to handle customer contacts every half hour of the day, but it is also important to offer associates a consistent schedule. It’s essential to meet associate needs but not be too tight on the number of people scheduled. If scheduling is too tight and call volume comes in 5% higher than expected, there won’t be time for coaching, offline time, or meetings. If employees’ needs aren’t met, they will leave, and it can take up to 9 months from the time an employee leaves a contact center until a new hire is competently filling their role. The cost of attrition is substantial on many levels and is frequently not included in the overall financial health of an operation.
Today’s business environment is constantly evolving, but the consumer’s expectations are as focused as ever on the fundamentals of genuine, personalized, effortless and effective service. By leveraging insights that your customers provide on a daily basis, you can ensure that your business’s means of approaching the Customer Experience (CX) remain agile.
An effective Workforce Management organization ensures a contact center has the right number of agents, with the right skills, in place to deliver the desired member experience in the most efficient manner. Forecasting call volume and determining staffing needs are becoming more complicated due to the multiple channels that are now available for customer service. At the same time, the advanced data analytics that are now available to forecasters allow them to better predict call drivers, the events that trigger calls. As a result, the following trends in Workforce Management (WFM) have emerged:
In a marketplace with shifting paradigms and evolving technologies, it’s easy for enterprises to lose focus on the value of the customer experience. However, success begins and ends with the customer. As more technologies emerge, customers expect to reach businesses from a variety of touch points.
Imagine being at this critical contact center moment.
A customer calls the contact center, upset by a problem and looking for answers. The agent is trying to find the right solution, flipping from screen to screen and quickly trying to reconstruct the situation while reading notes from previous interactions. Looking for help from a colleague, the agent stands up to ask one of their teammates and no one is available. The agent then asks the supervisor, who informs the agent that he needs to transfer the call to another area.
Market conditions and customer expectations are constantly evolving, exposing gaps and creating opportunities for customer experience improvement. With the proliferation of new contact channels, digital channels lacking new capabilities and subpar agent support by offshore providers, customers are more frustrated than ever and companies have a growing, more complex list of customer experience issues to address. That is exactly when companies can benefit from an expert with an outside perspective to bring fresh thinking into your organization. The Northridge Group partnered with a leading technology trade association to carry out an end-to-end assessment of their customer experience and contact center operations, resulting in a full roadmap of opportunities to take their business to the next level of performance.
The importance of customer experience in today’s marketplace is well understood as a competitive differentiator, as well as a driver of brand and customer loyalty. Many companies also recognize that, when executed well, customer experience strategy drives business growth and reduces costs. Clearly, making certain that you provide outstanding customer experience is critical. But what do you do if you know that your company’s customer experience isn’t as good as it should be?
Social media is impacting all of our lives and businesses are no exception. There are many reasons for businesses to plug into online social networks – the most important of which is that it’s where customers are and where they want businesses to be. Many businesses are active on sites like Twitter and Facebook, but the vast majority is not yet delivering on the customer service experience expected by their customers.
Does the phrase “there’s a time and a place for everything,” sound familiar to you? Most commonly, this is used when someone expresses themselves in the wrong way in a particular setting. This phrase also applies to social customer service because when it comes to providing customer service on social channels, there is a right time and a right place. Determining those intersection points for your business is the tricky part.
Clients frequently ask us how to improve the customer experience they provide. This is a big question that should not be answered until the root cause of the problem has been identified and well defined. The most effective way to do that is to perform an end-to-end customer experience assessment. This evaluates the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the customer experience. This also provides a clear road-map for the changes that need to be made and the impact of those changes once they are performed.