Today, the customer experience is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. In many industries, it is an elusive goal. Industries where this is most challenging have a lot in common. Most importantly, the work of their contact center is often complex. The transactions are no longer, and maybe never have been simple. Think healthcare.
Yet, the hardest part of is how to get there? What objectives and goals are achievable quickly, and which ones will take time.
Operational assessments are frequently done in contact centers to drive and move metrics like handle time. Those assessments and the work that comes from such an assessment are important.
Assessing how a contact center adds or detracts from the member experience is a bit more complex. Any assessment of the customer experience requires an operational performance thinking approach.
So where do you start?
Start by completing an assessment of your contact center. Look at performance metrics, agent centered metrics, processes, dependencies outside of the contact center, how technology enables the customer service function, and the learning function. I could write for days about each of these items you want to look at to create a comprehensive view, but let’s focus on one that is often an afterthought: the learning function.
The learning experience holds the key to creating meaningful change.
It’s not enough to think about learning as the vehicle to communicate the changes that come out of an assessment. Spend time looking at the learning function itself. It will be telling. As you take a close look at your contact center training programs, look for these success indicators:
- Engages agents more than 50% of the total timeframe
- Dedicates at least 25% of total time to contact simulations performed by EVERY trainee
- Articulates your industry with simplicity by teaching critical topics independently and in concert with each other
- Creates building blocks that get broken down and put back together again and again
- Focuses on how to translate knowledge into explanations that a customer can understand
- Facilitates rather than lectures
If you aren’t seeing these indicators in your evaluation, it is likely that the learning function itself needs some focus and attention because it is likely contributing to the customer experience challenge. Addressing these opportunities is good for operations on many levels. Namely, shoring up the learning function can produce an operational ROI that funds other improvements outside of the learning function including:
- Reduction in training time
- Reduced learning curve
- Earlier identification of non-performers
- Reduced attrition
Your measure of ROI should include performance measures improvements
- Improved First Contact Resolution
- Improved Net Promoter/CSAT
- Reduction of complaints
- Reduced Performance Penalties
To achieve your objectives and goals, create a roadmap that leverages ROI savings to improve needed tools and create a more positive employee and customer experience. Assessments that change the customer experience are complex, but critical. As you proceed through your own assessment, don’t forget the learning function. Time focused there will have a multiplier effect in your contact center, with your agents, and with your customers!
Jenny Graham, co-founder of Zelus LLC, is an expert in operational performance and excellence with over 15 years of experience developing and implementing innovative operational strategies to improve overall business performance and utilization.