One of Albert Einstein’s well-known statements is “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”  This is a statement that should be remembered in the business world since it basically means: “the way customers think and judge our products or services is based on the customer experience we provide to them”.

In contact center context this quote from Einstein makes me think about Customer Experience Management (CEM). CEM is a strategic approach to improving customer experience and company’s overall performance. CEM will help to put processes in place which will facilitate the whole organization to focus on the customer. Contact centers often play an important role in making or breaking customer experience therefore companies need to make sure that customers get the experience they want – otherwise they will say goodbye. Also customers, who have had a bad experience, have a powerful outlet to express and share their disappointment – social media. One unhappy customer can create 50 or more skeptical prospects. That is clearly something no company can afford.

Use Customer Focused Contact Center Metrics

In order to bring CEM from strategy into practice, companies should incorporate customer focus into organization’s culture, values and also to KPI’s. Historically, the contact center focus has too often been on items such as the average handling time and cost efficiency. Sure, these are still important elements, but one thing that should always be in the focus is the customer experience! According to the new US Contact Center Decision-Makers’ Guide 2013 by ContactBabel, 50% of the decision makers’ rate customer satisfaction as the most or second most important metric in the contact center. The average call duration – which used to be one of the top criteria – is only on sixth place. To me this is a very positive sign, and this is a shift we have seen in our customer organizations too: the contact center KPI’s should be measuring the aspects of the operations which are relevant in increasing customer satisfaction.

Providing Great Customer Experience will Create Satisfied Customers

How do contact centers make customers satisfied? By providing a positive experience and by at least exceeding expectations and offering personalized customer service. It means knowing your customers and providing the kind of service they need. This is a broad topic, but I would mention three key elements in contact center technology that enables personalized customer service: customer insight driven routing, multi-channel support and linking the interaction with the business processes and context. In an ideal scenario that means that the customer can choose the communication method and can be sure to receive speedy and personalized answers via all contact channels. Customer insight driven routing allows the customer to be automatically connected to the right agent who can provide the best service to one’s needs. Thanks to the integration of communication and business systems the agent has the customer transactions, preferences and history at hand immediately. In that case the agent can better understand the customer need and is able to offer truly personalized service.

I started this post with a quote from Albert Einstein and I will also end this post with one of his statements: “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else”. In contact centers the focus has shifted from agent performance KPIs to customer experience. One way to ensure that your contact center can adopt the new rules of the game is by implementing metrics focusing on customer satisfaction. By optimizing operations around outstanding customer experience will allow you to build the core capabilities to play better than anyone else – provide exceptional customer service!