Did you know as a member of your company’s contact center, you play a vital role in the company business? You are the touch-point where the “rubber meets the road”. Did you know that each and every interaction with your customers is an opportunity? Maybe this is obvious in regard to Customer Satisfaction, i.e. “The agent’s job is to make the customer happy!”, but when you really think about it, you will see that each customer interaction is also essential for understanding process improvement, brand awareness, and creating customer loyalty.
Somewhere in your organization, there is a Director, a Vice President, or even the CEO that is stumped on questions like this:
- “Why are we losing to our competition?”
- “How do we get our customers to buy from us again?”
- “How can we reduce customer attrition?”
- “How are we going to reduce our service costs?”
- “If we spend more money on each customer’s service calls would it raise revenue, or just cost us more?”
- Etc. Etc. Etc.
Sometimes in the contact center, there is the distinct feeling that we’re shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard. The calls feel like they come at an endless rate, and on those busy days you are left to wonder if it will ever stop. As an agent, supervisor, or even manager it is easy to focus on “just keep shoveling” or “shovel faster” or even “shovel better”.
Unfortunately, the “just keep shoveling” mentality isn’t really what the company, or the customer, needs. Take a moment to think about your job, and what the expectation really is. The answer? Your job in the contact center is, more than likely, centered around creating and keeping customer loyalty. The foundation of customer loyalty is built upon delivering what your customer wants in a way that exceeds their expectations.
The clincher is that the personality and skill of the agent on the other end of the customer contact will make the biggest impact on this goal. And on top of that, you know there are many times when the agent feels like their “hands are tied” or the process doesn’t allow the agent to do what needs to be done. In those circumstances there is little choice, but to follow process, otherwise you risk breaking the rules (which I don’t recommend) and risk your job, or you live with the fact the customer will not be delighted.
May I offer a different suggestion? Disposition the contact in a way that is meaningful. Take the time to identify possible reasons for a contact. This process should heavily involve your front line as they are the ones speaking with your customers on a daily basis. Then train your agents to correctly categorize the reason for the contact and how it impacted the customer; then you can deliver on your objective.
Processes and trigger events can then be created to address and resolve the main reasons why your customers are contacting you. This task can be undertaken by the contact center manager, ops manager, VP, or just about anyone in your center that can impact change. Centers often create special teams to handle these types of instances rather than opening up new processes to the entire contact center floor. In reviewing your dispositions, you may find that you need to create a retention team that focuses on specific types of events that go against creating customer loyalty. Many centers do this when a customer says “Let me speak to your supervisor!”, but what about the ones that just hang up or actually believe your agent when they say there is nothing they can do? When you make a special and specific effort to save customers, or create the impression that you are going out of your way to keep their business, you will exceed the expectations of your customers and drive loyalty.
Disposition results also help identify areas for process improvement and that will make your life easier in the long run. If your agents don’t use dispositions or have the ability to disposition a contact, either in your ACD or in your CRM, they should be. Dispositioning contacts is the foundation of getting into your customers’ shoes, identifying areas for improvement, and enhancing the customer experience, and when those things happen, you prove your value to your company and to your customers.