Last month we talked about conquering channel chaos. This month, we’ll discuss one of the next challenges – how to measure success. One of the biggest struggles multi-channel managers report is demonstrating results to executives. Many are comfortable with all the operational measures of the contact center, but not the measures that are important to the C-suite. These measures are strategic and customer centric – and they make a difference in how the business operates.
Your elevator speech to your CEO shouldn’t be about how many web hits you got or that you increased IVR retention rates by 5 percent, but relate how your success contributes to the success of the company as a whole.
Three Types of Measures
To start, gather three distinct types of measures on each channel and across channels: operational, customer, and strategic measures.
These are the measures that drive contact centers. They include service level, agent and productivity measures, and cost measures. While they play a role in multi-channel success, they are only a part of the puzzle as more and more contacts and interactions are handled on channels that the contact center never touches, like web and mobile apps.
Customer measures include things like customer experience, loyalty, and repurchase rates. Focus on several key questions:
- What are people trying to do? Look at the most common interactions and most commonly used channels to understand the core activities that are important to your customers.
- How successful are they? We have a wealth of measures to help us understand success, such as completion rates, abandon and transfer rates, speed of resolution or transaction, number of contacts to resolution, as well as quality monitoring.
- Do they need help? How often do customers use live support, if available? Do they use help functions or report errors or incidents? Quality monitoring on all channels helps here as well.
- Do they use multiple channels? Understand what the customer journey looks like and what channels they traverse. Explore the propensity of different segments to use specific channels. Analyze cross-channel effectiveness and channel strengths.
- How do they feel about it? Here’s where customer surveys come in, as well as your Net Promoter Score, complaints and kudos, whether posted online or based on feedback from agents or folks on the ground.
- Measure customer effort. This metric, developed by the Corporate Executive Board's Customer Contact Council, asks customers how much effort they had to put forth on a scale of 0 (low) to 5 (high). While asking customers about effort is important, it’s equally important for you to measure it yourself through building customer journey maps and analyzing customer contacts (single and multi-channel). These exercises make it clear where there are dead ends, where customers struggle – in other words, where they have to expend effort just to do business with you.
- Finally, measure how you’re dealing with customers at key moments of truth. Meeting customer expectations at these critical times in their lifecycles has a significant effect on satisfaction and loyalty.
These are the measures that show how you contribute to corporate goals. If, for example, corporate strategy focuses on customer intimacy, your measures should likewise focus on things like the quality of customer contact, the level of customer engagement with the website, understanding defection rates and reasons, and the cost of a complaint. If corporate strategy focuses on cost efficiencies, your measures will be quite different. They’ll include cost per contact, lifetime cost to serve, and a strong focus on reduced customer effort, among other things.
So next time you find yourself in the elevator with your CEO, talk about how successful you’ve been in meeting customer expectations at key moments of truth resulting in additional purchases, or how you’ve reduced customer effort which resulted in reduced cost for managing complaints and handling voice calls, or how you’ve helped increase customer loyalty and reduce costs by developing a mobile app for a critical customer need.
Elaine Cascio is a vice president at Vanguard Communications Corp. (www.vanguard.net), a consulting firm specializing in customer experience, self service, contact center processes, operations and technology.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi