Customer engagement and the contact centers that sit at the heart of those engagements remain critical elements for great experiences. But because contact centers are so good at measuring every aspect of agents’ work life, they tend to use those measurements as a proxy for great results. Reduce average handle time and positive customer experiences blossom goes the thinking. But agents are not the core of customer experience, customers are. After all, while agents can influence sales and brand promises, they have little do with self-service channels, process design, the web site experience, or the mobile app experience – all critical elements in any given customer journey today. It may seem obvious when stated plainly, but more than ever customer experience executives and managers need to take into account the end-to-end customer journey, tailoring interactions to serve those journeys.
Here’s a quick test to see if your organization is focused more on your agents than your customers: what are the metrics used to determine if you’re performing well when it comes to customer experience? If the key metrics used to judge success in your organization are focused on your employees (average handle time, average speed to answer, etc.), rather than the benefits to customers from the work your employees do (net promoter score, customer effort score, first contact resolution), you are likely focusing your CX too heavily on contact center agent performance.
Consumers form their ideas around a customer experience from much more than just their interactions with agents. Customer experience is a complex concept, it’s made up of all the impressions formed by your customers after every interaction with them over time, including:
- Your brand
- Your products or services
- Your people
- Your IT systems
- Your policies and procedures
How do you tie this journey together?
Customer journeys take place over multiple channels and multiple touch points. If you take an airline as an example, customers will create their idea of their experience based on the brand promise, the actual flights they take, including the airplanes, as well as the food served – or not served as is usually the case – the gate agents, the flight attendants, a contact center agent, the check-in kiosks, and the boarding procedures.
This is not to say contact center agents are not important. Agent-assisted interactions are a critical piece, often making or breaking the experience, However, customers may prefer to purchase tickets online because it is easier to comparison shop, They may prefer to check in for the flight using a self-service app on their mobile phone so they are sure to always have their boarding pass with them. So, agents are a key piece, but only one piece in the much larger customer journey.
If you’d like to take a closer look at the importance of measuring all aspects of the end to end customer journey, check our our On Demand webinar, Focus Your Customer Experience Efforts On Your Customers, NOT Contact Center Agents.