Reducing Customer Effort – Make it Easy to be Your Customer

Are you measuring Customer Effort Score? First introduced in 2010, Customer Effort Score (CES) is a fairly new contact center metric. Together with the “tried, trusted and true” Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) it helps you to measure just how happy your customers really are. NPS focuses on long-term happiness, whereas CSAT zeroes is on one particular interaction (usually a recent one). CES takes a different angle: it does not directly measure satisfaction, but assumes that lowering customer effort when interacting with a company will in turn create customer loyalty.

Making your customers exert effort when interacting with you is – no surprises here – obviously a bad thing. If your contact center does not make it easy for customers to do business with you, then you risk losing customer loyalty, and – eventually – run the risk of losing customers. So what can you do to make interactions in your contact center effortless for your customers?

In todays’ contact center environment, omnichannel is expected. Customers expect to be able to contact you in numerous channels, both voice and digital, inbound and outbound, and the number of channels is growing. Not only that, but customers are not willing any more to be “bound” to the channel that an interaction started out in. If, as things progress, another channel may be more appropriate for the interaction, then the expectation is that multiple channels can be made available as part of a customer session – sequentially, or simultaneously. There are many examples where the ability to add or switch channels will greatly reduce customer effort. Just consider: You are chatting with an agent. You thought this would be a quick call, but things have started to become more complex. Wouldn’t it be pleasant if the agent could simply call you to discuss right then and there? Easy, right?

Also consider the impact that an Omnichannel environment has in terms of personalization. NICE research indicates that the majority of customers expect a company to know their purchase history, regardless of the channel (or channels) they use to contact you. An omnichannel environment gives your agents access to customer data and interaction history regardless of the channel your customers use to get into touch with you. That means that instead of having to repeat your story to every agent you interact with over the course of your customer journey, the agents – if there is more than one – have access to those data right away.

Lastly, optimizing the agent interface helps with reducing customer effort simply because a streamlined, intelligent, situation aware interface reduces desktop clutter, which in turn enables the agent to concentrate on what they do best: helping your customers. Integrated access to presence-based collaboration tools enables agents to reach out to resources both within and beyond the contact center when they are needed to help the customer. And the fact that all channels are handled in a consolidated interface and based on a unified queue not only makes routing better, it also reduces the number of applications agents have to work with to do their job.

Are you interested in getting more detail on this? Take a look at the webinar hosted by CRMXchange: How to deliver an Effortless Customer Experience, where – after presenters from Verint and Virtual Hold, we bring together omnichannel, personalization and agent optimization, share more data and research on the topic, and talk though customer use cases!