March 30, 2015
Report: Companies May be Holding Back Front Line Customer Service
By Casey Houser
Recent market research reveals that companies openly admit to holding back their front line from providing customers with the best possible customer service.
In its joint report, “Own the Moments! Understanding the Customer Journey,” the International Customer Management Institute and cloud contact center software provider LiveOps (News - Alert) surveyed more than 400 contact center professionals in various positions across multiple organizations. Researchers found that 74 percent of organizations actually admit to holding back their front line with poor training and a lack of access to customer information such as communications histories. Companies are not always giving their agents the attention and information they need to properly address customers.
Justin Robbins, a senior analyst at ICMI, says companies can make a big difference by being honest with themselves and responding to the results of their honesty.
“The first step in understanding, as well as improving the customer journey is honesty,” Robbins said. “Organizations must be willing to be truthful about the state of their centers, and have the guts to stand up for what is right and necessary to eliminate factors that keep them from providing excellent customer service.”
The collaborative report makes note of five types of “Moments” that can define brands. First, the Moments to Empower are the ones that allow agents to own their interactions with customers by driving each customer's initial interaction with a company. As many as 62 percent of respondents to the survey said agents were the most critical touch point in the customer service journey.
Moments to Empower address the needs of agents with regard to their training. Contact centers noted in the survey that they wanted to improve their agent training to empower them and allow them to reach their full potential. The other side of that equation, as a result of poor training, is a set of unmotivated employees who provide poor customer service. Agents can also find empowerment through the information on their dashboards, says the Moments to Excel. Access to the latest technological tools and customer information, such as through modern CRM software, can be the key to customer engagement.
There are also Moments to Enlighten. With empowerment and access to the forefront of call center technology, agents can better complete their jobs. In the same vein, customers can be in control of their own journey as they choose to engage with brands through voice, video, chat, email, and all other manner of communications modalities. Moments to Delight discusses how 80 percent of the survey respondents said their customers were not “extremely engaged” with their brands. This part of the survey results suggests that customers who are engaged will stay loyal.
It is not hard to see the chain of events listed above. Employee training and access to information leads to better engagement with customers. Customers then begin to control their own experiences and feel more connected to their brands. Finally, customers continue to access those products and services because they are attached to the people behind each brand. Companies may be holding back their front line, and one wonders why they would ever do such a thing.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino