Many companies invest a lot of money in their Voice of The Customer programme in their efforts to find out how to improve the customer experience. However, with thousands of conversations going on every day with customers, I always find it surprising that organisations forget to consult the people who could provide the most useful actionable insights into customer preferences and behaviour - their frontline staff.
Time and time again when we visit a contact centre, we discover a valuable bank of knowledge and experience amongst agents, who are rarely, if at all, asked for their reflections, thoughts and ideas. Here are three key areas where agents typically have some valuable insights to offer:
1. Agents know what customers think about your brand
Of course customer feedback is important but by requesting feedback too often, you’re taking the risk of annoying them – many sources suggest customers are getting fed up of over-surveying. Of course, an effective contact centre customer insight solution mitigates this risk, but never forget that agents spend hours every day talking to your customers so are vey much aware of the pain points your customers experience and the source of their frustration.
2. Agents have ideas on how to improve the customer experience
There are many elements to an outstanding experience, but one of the key factors is convenience. Your agents will be painfully aware of any glitches in your business processes or gaps in your policies that mean they cannot resolve enquiries in a single contact. Whether it’s a disconnect between the front and back office, a lack of customer history at their finger tips or a broken web link, your agents will be able to pinpoint opportunities to improve the customer experience.
3. Agents know what they could be doing to make things easier for customers
In a nutshell, many agents confide to us that their performance frameworks just don’t seem relevant to the job they do every day, or are overly focused on business outcomes rather than customer outcomes. This all leads to disengagement, low motivation and dissatisfaction from agents and customers. By empowering your agents to play a more involved and collaborative part in performance management, you may find that performance management reviews will become meaningful again! By actively soliciting feedback from your front-line agents and engaging them in performance management not only will you gain valuable insight to act upon, you will also make your agents feel valued and empowered.
One last thought – Irrespective of whether the agent feedback process involves a cardboard box wrapped in gold wrapping paper for people to “post” their ideas or an integrated web-based solution like that included in EvaluAgent, always remember that if you’re going to collect staff feedback, you need to act on it and keep everybody up to speed with the resulting improvement activity. Otherwise, your internal feedback programme will run out of steam very quickly!