World-Class Contact CenterDuring our recent Genesys Best Practices webinar on 5 Steps for Building a World-Class Contact Center in 2014 we discussed the new customer experience model companies can adopt to address the changes in customer behavior and expectations coming in 2014. We also discussed the key capabilities to look for in a modern contact center solution to help you get there.

If you have yet to view the webinar, click the link above. Below is a recap of the question and answer session, providing some additional insight beyond what’s included in the initial webinar.

Does the concept of customer journey apply to B2C business only or also B2B?

The concept of a customer journey applies to any situation with a supplier of goods or services and a recipient of those goods or services. In fact, given the numerous parties potentially involved in a B2B situation, the journey concept might prove more valuable in such instances. For example, gaining a deep understanding of the journey through a customer’s purchasing approval process might provide a B2B supplier with the tools needed to anticipate all the support needs during that purchasing process. Such proactive outreach makes the supplier a more trusted partner while also making the purchasing process smoother.

Do customer experience metrics change when you take a customer journey-centric approach?

They absolutely do! McKinsey & Co. studied this very question and came up with some astounding results. For example, McKinsey found that journey-centric approaches are 36% more correlated to customer satisfaction than a focus on touchpoints alone. Conversely, focusing on customer journeys show a 33% greater reduction in churn than concentrating on optimizing touchpoints. Clearly these are the kinds of results that drive not just customer experience, but also companies’ bottom lines.

What is customer effort and how is it measured?

The Customer Effort Score is a metric based on research done by the Corporate Executive Board. The score is derived from the answer to the question, “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” Many companies find it more effective to word the question differently, focusing instead on how easy it was to do business with the brand. Additionally, many companies add further questions to their surveying to focus on what type of effort customers had to put in to get their request handled. This could include the mental energy needed to read documentation, or the time required to wait in queue, or even the emotional effort to stifle frustration from unhelpful customer service representatives.

How would the service levels be managed in contact centers if the handle time metric is taken out of the equation?

First, a clarification: We don’t envision a world in which contact centers completely ignore handle time. Handle time will always be measured. We believe, however, that in many cases it reduces the customer experience to reward or punish agents based on handle time metrics alone.

For companies that have decided to remove handle time from their agent performance evaluations, there are other metrics that encourage the types of hands-on connection that drive excellent experiences. Online retailer Zappos measures total call time and not time per call. The idea is that Zappos wants to forge an emotional connection with the customer and quickly getting the customer off the phone hampers efforts to achieve that goal.

So, rather than measure the length of a specific call takes to handle, the company can measure the percentage of total working time that an agent spends on the phone with customers. Agents are expected to spend at least 80% of their time actually interacting with customers, but it doesn’t matter if that time comes from 10 calls or 100 calls.

In what common direction (if any) do you think routing strategies are moving? Skills-based, schedule-based, cost-based?

There is no one right answer to this issue. Even within a specific company there may be several different routing strategies that can be harmonized to provide the best experiences for customers. That said, among our customer base we are seeing increased interest in using schedule-based routing to drive better adherence. This strategy, however, rarely stands alone. For example, schedule-based routing can take into account skills in making the best routing decisions.

Seems to be a no-brainer, but the first point-of-contact, and perhaps the most important, is the company website. More a comment than a question, curious of your thoughts about this – the re-definition of the word “Contact”.

Yes, for many customers the Web would be the first port of call.  Being able to track a consumer’s actions on a website and then marrying that information with whatever context the company has about that customer can supply all of the data needed to proactively serve that customer. Genesys Proactive Engagement  provides exactly that type of tracking and decision-making functionality, check it out!

What’s the best plan to modernize the integration of mobile apps with the contact center?

Conceptually, we believe the most important factor for providing customer service via mobile apps is to get your customers to actually download and use the apps. Companies have already invested a lot of time, effort and money on both creating their mobile apps and marketing them to consumers. From there, the best way to reach the greatest number of consumers is to ‘customer service-enable’ existing apps rather than create bespoke service-focused apps. This approach allows mobile channels to be integrated into the existing cross-channel customer service strategy, and provides your mobile app user with a fast and seamless connection to customer service.

Our leading-edge customers have seamlessly integrated mobile customer care applications with ‘live’ support by adding a ‘Contact Us’ button inside their mobile apps to connect directly to an agent, who receives session information, customer history, preferences, location, and other contextual information for quick resolution. This button could also provide numerous options such as “Speak to an Agent,” “Chat with an Agent,” or “Schedule a Callback.” Companies can even provide actual wait-times from their queues to allow customers to choose the experience that best works with their schedules. Check out Genesys Mobile Engagement.

In case you missed it, here is the link to access the on demand webinar 5 Steps for Building a World-Class Contact Center in 2014.

Thanks for reading!