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21, December 2016

Four New Critical Contact Center KPIs and Metrics for Customer Experience success in The Digital Era

It is a well-established fact that companies no longer compete on products or pricing but on the experience they deliver across the customer journey. Raise your hand, if you have ever paid a premium for a better experience. You are not alone, according to a Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive/RightNow, almost 9 out of 10 U.S. consumers say they would pay more to ensure a superior customer experience*. When we truly enjoy the experience, we gladly reward the brand with our loyalty and soon, we begin expecting the same experience from others as well.

Therefore, delivering an outstanding customer experience becomes critical to every organization and this responsibility comes down to the contact center. This customer experience revolution has changed the way contact centers are measured.

How are Contact Centers Measured Today?

There are multiple contact center and call center KPIs by which they are measured on. Before we dwell into how they should be aligned to customer experience, let us first understand what the usual call center best practices include as their top 5 KPIs:

1)  Average Speed of Answer (ASA): Often referred to as Average Time to Answer (ATA), or ASA denotes the time that is taken by an agent to answer an inbound call. This KPI helps in measuring a customer’s wait time. The longer the customer is made to wait, the inferior is the customer experience.

2) First Call Resolution (FCR): FCR denotes the percentage of customers whose queries have been addressed in the first instance. A high FCR usually means that customers have been properly understood and their needs have been resolved there by avoiding multiple interactions on the same requirement.

3) Average Handling Time (AHT): AHT denotes the total time spent in a customer interaction and other related administrative processes. It usually starts at the point when the customer starts his interaction to the period when all documentation related to the call is completed. There is often a conflict between AHT and FCR.

4) Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): CSAT helps in measuring a customer’s overall satisfaction level with an interaction or a service that was provided and usually measured using a form. Many contact centers consider this as the most critical measure of the quality of services offered by them.

5) Net Promote Score (NPS): NPS was originally developed by Fred Reichheld, Bain & Co. and Satmetrix and helps in measuring customer loyalty. Measured in a range of -100 to 100, it indicates a customer’s readiness to recommend a company to others.

Now that we’ve taken a look at 5 critical metrics and KPIs for a contact center, let’s now take a look at outcomes that are more critical than just KPIs.

Going Beyond the Contact Center Metrics to Customer Experience Metrics:

When it comes to the contact center, you are what you measure. According to Forrester 73% of companies say improving customer experience is a priority but only 1% of organizations deliver an excellent experience for their customer. This brings up a question if the above-mentioned KPIs are the right contact center performance metrics?

To differentiate themselves, businesses depend on their contact center to deliver a tailored experience. And, to deliver such an experience, contact centers need to consider customer experience metrics in addition to traditional contact center metrics.

According to Gartner, to achieve successful outcomes in a voice-based customer management contact center, it is essential to align these five key metrics – average speed of answer (ASA), first-call (contact) resolution (FCR), average handle time (AHT), customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) — with intended goals and business outcomes, such as reducing cost or improving quality or service and customer experience.

Based on what we hear from our customers across the globe in the last 21 years, we believe contact centers need to raise above the standard contact center metrics and start measuring qualitative considerations as well. They need to start looking at the 4 new Ps of CX – Painless, Proactive, Personalized, and Predictive.

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1. Painless Customer Experience

Customers prefer dealing with businesses that make it easy for them. If a business wants to deliver a superior customer experience, then they have to start aligning to the customer’s view of things. And that starts with reducing Customer Effort. Traditional metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction score (CSAT) do an imperfect job when it comes to measuring customer effort, therefore they need to start measuring Customer Effort Score (CES).

How many times was a customer transferred? How many times did he or she have to repeat the same information? How many times did he or she have to switch channels? These are real things that should be accurately measured and what gets measured gets done. It’s all about doing a set of actions, repeatedly, keeping in mind the customer’s view. Customer Effort Score is a good contact center KPI to measure an effortless customer experience. It is a simple way to find out how much effort your customer has to put in before they achieve the desired results. One of the ways you can measure your customer effort score is through a customer feedback process immediately after an interaction.

“The biggest cause of excessive customer effort: needing to call back. 22% of repeat calls involve downstream issues related to the problem that prompted the original call, even if the problem itself was adequately addressed the first time around”

Source: Harvard Business Review, Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers

2. Proactive Customer Experience

Your ability to simply react to a customer interaction is no longer enough. While First Call Resolutions (FCR) are important, what is important is to ensure a Full Resolution. According to the above HBR report, 22% of repeat calls involve downstream issues related to problems that prompted the original call, even if the problem itself was adequately addressed the first time around.

One of the new metrics that savvy contact centers have started adopting is Next Issue Avoidance (NIA). NIA has now become the new gold standard to measure performance. Simply focusing on First Call Resolution prevents a full resolution that takes into account the inconvenience likely to happen. Customers now expect companies to respect their time, they want them to go beyond the explicitly stated issues, they want companies to recognize their implicit needs. If there is a likely delay, they want to be proactively notified about it. So it is vital that contact centers build their capability to anticipate customer needs, preempt a possible future contact on a related issue and solve it before it impacts the customer.

According to industry data Sears engages visitors who show a propensity for purchasing products, it reports a 20% lift in revenue by using proactive engagement, and it has a customer satisfaction score (CSAT) of 90%. “Proactive engagements anticipate the what, when, where, and how for customers and prioritize information and functionality to speed customer time-to-completion” says Forrester. Customer journey analytics can be used to proactively offer a method for issue avoidance.

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3. Personalized Customer Experience

Customers pick brands because of what they feel about it. Customers like a brand or dislike it based on their personal experience and when it comes to customer service; they want you to know them, know what they want, when they want it and how they want it and deliver it in a time and manner that is convenient for them. Not all customers are same, and enterprises cannot take a one size fits all approach when it comes to giving them that ‘personal’ experience.

“Whenever you see the opportunity to create a wow moment, act on it”- Shep Hyken

Generic service can lead to customer dissatisfaction and disloyalty while a subtle personalization can lead to a ‘moment of wow’. Delivering a personal experience is not easy, it is more than just getting the demographics right. Savvy customers are not often satisfied with basic personalization and expect the context of the interaction to be understood in advance. It is about delivering the right experience, to the right person, at the right time, in the right context.

4. Predictive Customer Experience

Proactive customer care and predictive customer care are often used interchangeably. However, proactive denotes something that is qualitative and knowledge-based, while predictive refers to something that is quantitative and based on hard data points. Companies need to put to use transactional, behavioral data and advanced analytics to develop deep insights about customers.

Contact centers need to predict the customer’s interaction intent based on behavioral, transactional and interaction history and be proactive about servicing. Predicting the interaction intent accurately can help contact centers to retain an excellent customer experience even during spikes and surges. When done right, this will skyrocket your customer experience.

These 4Ps may not be and cannot be the only aspects a contact center should measure to improve customer experience. They are not the typical contact center metrics that are featured on contact center KPI dashboards, but they are indeed the most important aspects of customer experience that future of businesses depend on.

Do you know of other contact center KPIs that measure customer experience success? Do share them!


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