Will all customer-facing functions eventually operate under a single plan and budget, owned by Marketing? This is the thought-provoking question raised by Martin Hill Wilson in his blog, ‘Within Five Years Call Centres Will Be Run By Marketing’. Martin suggests that marketing is moving in on traditional call centre territory under the remit of ‘Customer Engagement’. And, while I agree with a lot of the points Martin is making, I am not sure that the contact centre is ready to hand over the reins yet!
Of course, Martin is right to point out that the rapidly evolving digital social world is playing an increasing role in terms of customer expectation management, but let’s just reflect on where we are today. Whilst most of the customer service organisations we’re talking to have ambitious plans for digital engagement (plans which are often thwarted by their legacy technology infrastructure), the question I always ask is, ‘Who in your organisation knows most about what your customers, what they really think about your products and services?’ Rightly or wrongly, it is usually only the marketing people who answer with “the marketing department!”
Collecting call centre customer insight direct from customers is to the best way to understand what’s working and not working for them and that sits with the Insight Team, ideally positioned at the heart of your customer service organisation – right at the coal face, as it were, not in the London HQ. Customer experience is a big industry buzzword at the moment, but it is your frontline contact centre agents who have the best glimpse into the real experiences that frustrate and delight your customers on a daily basis.
The problem for most contact centres is how to tap into this experience and use it to help build a customer-focused organisation. Well, this is one problem that technology can help to solve! SaaS cloud platforms such as EvaluAgent make it easy to conduct real-time surveys and feed back the data so it can be acted upon at every level in the business.
By using real-time customer feedback you can drive higher levels of ownership and awareness among your front-line staff. By linking results to business processes and generating intuitive reports you’re able to crowd-source ideas for improvement and establish cross-functional teams to address customer service issues.
Steps for getting the most out of customer surveys in your contact centre
1. Don’t try and cram everything into one customer survey
A solution that decides which type of survey each customer receives based on a set of pre-defined business rules, means your customers are more motivated to respond to the survey giving you highly valuable insights into both people and business performance – some of our customers who have adopted this approach enjoy response rates as high as 45%.
2. Find out how your customers are feeling right now
Intelligent customer surveys can track both verbal and written comments as well as free-text customer comments, which are then quickly and accurately transcribed and analysed to provide emotional and impulsive insights into what customers really think about your products and services. Real-time alerts and dashboards can also be used to highlight extreme customer reactions – so you can quickly put things right.
3. Let everyone see the results and add their own reflections
By managing your information successfully and making it accessible to managers and agents and not just the market research team, you can make sure that everyone in your organisation is accountable for helping drive change and improve customer satisfaction. Find out how NS&I significantly improved customer satisfaction within three months by using real-time feedback to put the customer at the heart of their contact centre. Let’s start the debate - Marketing v Customer Service – who knows most about the expectations of your customers?