Smart is More Important Than Nice – Defining What Matters Most in a Customer Experience

Smart is more important than nice – Defining what matters most in a customer experience

In our recent study defining what customers want in a great service experience, respondents said that the item they value most in a customer service experience is “a knowledgeable representative.” Interestingly, when we asked the professionals behind delivering those customer experiences, what they thought was most important, they ranked “a timely response” as their number one answer. Now in full disclosure, the scores showed that both are important, but given the choice between the two, which is right?

Clearly, it is the response of the customer – because he or she is who we are working to satisfy. The results tell us that timely responses and efficiency take a back seat for the consumer’s need to “just get me someone smart who can answer my question!” Are consumers willing to wait for that knowledgeable agent? The survey results would say yes. So if you run a contact center, what is the action to take? Here are some ideas:

  1. Don’t put agents on live interactions too soon. Putting them out there before they are fully trained will only frustrate your customers.
  2. Put in place a method to measure applicable knowledge. That’s right, test the agents and make sure they know what they need to know to satisfy customers.
  3. Be sure you’re surveying customers about the knowledge level of the agent they dealt with and use this as part of the agent’s quality score.
  4. For top level contact center metrics, be less concerned with the efficiency of average time to answer and more concerned with the knowledge measurements for your agents.

So smart wins. “Give me someone who can answer my question” is the simple, straightforward, no-nonsense request of our customers.

Can you provide any other best practices on this topic? Please comment.

Joe Staples – long live the smart agents