An Advice Column Only for
Contact Center Managers
When we first read the question we ultimately selected for this month’s Challenge Solved, we knew exactly who we wanted to invite as our guest expert to offer advice. You see, the topic is customer experience metrics, and in our opinion, one of the most trusted resources in this space is SQM Group. We’ve had the good fortune to work with SQM group for over 15 years. They are the leading research specialist firm for measuring, benchmarking, and improving customer and employee experience.
Let’s read what Andrea Pow, Senior Vice President of Client Advocacy with SQM Group has to share. Andrea encourages readers interested in taking an even deeper dive on this fascinating topic to read SQM Group’s recently published blog post Top 10 CX Metrics
. SQM’s Top 10 CX Metrics are based on SQM’s experience of measuring and benchmarking leading North American organizations since 1996 as well as surveying over 5 million customers who used a contact channel. These Top 10 CX Metrics provide valuable insights on customers’ experiences when using a contact channel or multiple contact channels to resolve an inquiry or problem and on an organization’s overall CX performance.
Q: As our customer expectations continue to evolve, we want to make sure we measure the right metrics in our contact center. What metrics do you recommend we measure to build a best-in-class customer experience and what are your recommendations for how best to capture those metrics?
Senior Vice President – Client Advocacy, SQM Group
A: Thank you for your question regarding what leading metrics are being used to improve customer experience (CX) and how those metrics can best be captured. These are certainly relevant topics today!
Typically, what we find is that many contact center managers think that internal metrics are essential metrics for improving CX. These internal metrics include web analytics, service levels, hold times, transfers, call length, repeat contacts, as well as quality assurance metrics. SQM agrees that while these internal metrics can be helpful for improving CX, the metrics that matter the most for improving CX for resolving an inquiry or problem are the external Voice of the Customer (VoC) survey metrics.
Your customers know their pain points and what’s causing them to make repeat calls to the organization. You need to ask your customers what is happening at the time of a transaction to be able to get that feedback to drive customer experience improvement. As to your question regarding how the metrics can best be captured, we recommend that you conduct post-contact CX surveys for each of your contact channels within one business day. There are a few points on which I’d like to elaborate further.
1) It’s important that you conduct VoC surveys across all your core contact channels. These are the main channels that customers are using to contact your organization – the call center, website, IVR, chat, and email – so that you can get immediate, and ongoing feedback about what your customers are experiencing when they contact your organization.
During the survey process, you will want to ask customers open-ended questions about why they were unable to resolve their inquiry or problem on the first contact channel using one contact. We know that first contact resolution and one contact resolution are major drivers of customer satisfaction and improving customer experience. Once customer feedback is collected in the survey, it is a best practice to report out the CX survey data results on a weekly basis to all levels of management, and monthly at the CSR level. There is great value in holding everyone accountable to VoC metrics to help move your CX dial and improve. Although there are many CX metrics that provide different valuable insights, SQM recommends using only a few of those metrics to create accountability from the CSR to the senior VP level as outlined in our recent blog.
Also, when a customer indicates they are dissatisfied or that their contact was unresolved, you now have a service recovery opportunity. Again, when you collect your survey feedback within one business day, you’re getting immediate service recovery opportunities that allow you to improve your overall customer experience. Thus, this brings me to another point.
2) We recommend that surveying is conducted consistently, so on a daily basis, you’re reaching out within one business day to customers who contact you. Following up with a customer within one business day of their interaction with your organization is important so that the customer remembers their experience and can provide you with more granular details about their experience. Also, this is considered a valued interaction point with the customer because they can see there is a follow-up contact by your organization and you’re looking for their feedback.
I’ve encountered some organizations that conduct a touch point survey a week later or once a month with customers who’ve had an interaction with them. Think about that for a moment though. If I was to ask you what you had for breakfast three days ago, you’re less likely to remember that experience in great detail and provide me with granular feedback about that experience than if I was to ask that exact same question about what you had for breakfast one day ago. You want to collect feedback from customers within one business day, so you have actionable feedback and CX data.
3) In addition to consistently measuring your core contact channels on an ongoing and daily basis, it is equally important to use a standard set of CX metrics (e.g., OCR, FCR, Csat) so that you can effectively compare how each contact channel is performing for resolving the same type of contact reasons. It is important to emphasize that of these Top 10 CX Metrics there is no single metric that can measure all aspects of a customer’s experience. Therefore, it is essential to use all 10 or multiple metrics for measuring and managing CX. We have found that many organizations will use VoC metrics with the call center but end up using internal data for measuring their website or self-serve IVR performance. Unfortunately, these organizations don’t have a consistent CX metric for comparing data across their contact channels to determine how each contact channel is performing from their customers perspective, making it difficult to improve their CX. Internal metrics can be helpful for improving CX, but the metrics that matter the most for improving CX for resolving an inquiry or problem are the external VoC survey metrics. And, it has been SQM’s experience that organizations conducting post-contact surveys on customers’ experiences trying to resolve an inquiry or problem are more likely to improve CX than organizations using only internal metrics. After all, the customer should be the judge of their own experience.
4) Another important message which gets back to one of the points you noted in your question, is that customer expectations continue to evolve. And in many cases, customers judge their experience with an organization based on their ‘best’ experience. Thus, it is a best practice to benchmark CX performance across all contact channels, with comparisons against a specific industry, an average of all industries, and world class organizations. SQM’s Top 10 CX Metrics apply to any industry and contact channels used by customers to resolve an inquiry or problem, and we have split these metrics up into three main areas: Contact Channel CX Metrics, Omni-Channel CX Metrics, and Enterprise-Wide CX Metrics to help clients benchmark their CX performance.
The contact channel CX metrics and omni-channel CX metrics are primarily used for measuring a customer’s contact channel experience, whereas the enterprise-wide CX metrics are most often used for measuring a customer’s overall experience with an organization. Typically, enterprise-wide CX metrics are based on customer perception surveys. However, enterprise-wide CX metrics can also be based on post-contact customer transaction surveys. Using enterprise-wide CX metrics based on a customer’s experience using a contact channel or omni-channel can provide valuable insights on how contact channels and omni-channel delivery is impacting the organizations’ overall CX.
5) Finally, once you have your CX benchmarking data and comparisons, you will want to create an action plan based on customer feedback regarding their repeat contact reasons for resolving the same inquiry or problem. Then, hold all employees accountable for implementing the action plan, and most importantly, for improving one call resolution (OCR) and first call resolution (FCR). Accountability is key.
Keep in mind that SQM’s Top 10 CX Metrics and corresponding world class performance targets are not only for contact centers that handle simple issues but also contact centers that handle complex issues. Customers do not judge their contact channel experience based on the complexity of the inquiry or problem; rather, they judge their experience based on whether or not their issue was resolved, preferably in the first channel used and in one contact. The benchmark average for FCR is at 72%, and the benchmark average for contact resolution is 88%. Based on SQM’s top 5% best performing organizations for delivering world class CX, the world class performance target for FCR is 80% or higher, and contact resolution at 95% or higher.
Most managers agree that VoC metrics yield important information necessary for uncovering customer experience improvement opportunities within their organizations. However, there is still much debate on what the right metrics are for measuring a customer’s experience when using a contact channel or multiple contact channels for resolving an inquiry or problem, and which metrics to focus on when measuring enterprise-wide CXperformance. Our CX research at SQM Group supports that there are, in essence, 10 CX metrics that are considered to be the main components in improving an organization’s overall customer experience. Because there is not a single metric that can measure all aspects of customer experience and because each organization is unique, it’s essential to use all 10 or multiple metrics for measuring and managing CX.
For more details about the Top 10 CX Metrics and best practices for improving your CX performance, I encourage you to review SQM Group’s blog post on Top 10 CX Metrics, or reach out to SQM Group at any time! Thank you for your question!
This month’s featured expert is…
Senior Vice President – Client Advocacy, SQM Group
Andrea Pow, BComm, is Senior Vice President of Client Advocacy with SQM Group. She is currently an MBA candidate and has her bachelor’s degree in General Business with a focus in Marketing and Organizational Behaviour/Human Resources.
Andrea’s experience includes research and development of new certification and training programs, developing industry-specific training for organizations and managing quality assurance control. She brings over 15 years of customer relations, business and training development experience and her responsibilities include customer account management and business development.
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