I was having lunch with a call center executive and the conversation drifted to contact center metrics, and more importantly, how she was measured by her boss. Since a great deal of her job was centered on workforce optimization, I expected her to speak of service levels or service consistency. But she didn’t. She told us that her performance and her bonus were tied mostly to customer satisfaction scores and other customer feedback metrics. Of course service levels and service delivery were important, and she would certainly hear it whenever there was a service delivery failure, but her main goal was customer satisfaction.
Since that meeting we, of course, began to look more closely into customer experience data, and have spoken to several more of our customers. The anecdotal evidence showed:
- Customer experience data tends to be seasonal and it follows the reasons customers are calling the contact center. For example, leisure travelers contact hospitality companies at different times of year than do business travelers, and they have very different expectations and needs.
- Different flavors of customer experience scores tend to track closely with each other seasonally as well. Customer experience scores may have more to do with the reason customers are calling, rather than the nuance of the various scores. This implies that the scores, when rolled up to a group level, may track pretty well with the systematic competence of the company as a whole to providing that specific experience. If the same hospitality company provides great business service, but a less great leisure traveler experience, then this would show in the seasonality of their scores (relative to the mix of the business/leisure contact volumes).
- Understanding and forecasting these scores will allow a company to do a couple of smart things: they will be able to set appropriate expectations -“Boss, please don’t freak out if our scores dip—it is normal.” Or fix the processes before it happens again -“We are coming into leisure season, how can we make the customer’s experience better?”
- Customer experience scores are also local. Some centers are better than others at providing a quality interaction. For this reason, customer experience scores should be coupled with the capacity planning process to push agent hiring toward better performing locales – if experience scores are truly important to your business.
What is cool is that by forecasting experience scores and adding this forecast to the strategic or capacity planning process, trade-offs can be drawn between service levels, costs, revenues, and now interaction quality. For additional information on the art of staff planning, I suggest that you read, “A Practical Guide to Customer Experience, Trends, and Staff Planning.” When you put this advice into practice, you can start to deliver exceptional customer experiences.