home Customer Experience Are contact centres measuring the ‘right’ things?

Are contact centres measuring the ‘right’ things?

Measurement has always been important to the contact centre industry and over the last 15 years the way we measure and what we measure has evolved and matured. In the past, we focused on marrying efficiency-based activities, like call durations, with effectiveness measures, like first call resolution to measure our performance. Today, with more channels available to customers, we use a number of metrics and collection methods to measure the overall customer experience.

How are contact centres measuring customer experience?

According to the latest Australian Contact Centre Industry Benchmark Report* (Fifth Quadrant) the primary metric utilised to measure customer feedback is customer satisfaction (CSat) (59%), followed by agent quality (52%) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) (38%).

With such a strong focus on customer experience in our industry, what was surprising was that 14% of organisations still don’t measure it at all. According to the report the largest vertical with an opportunity for improvement in measuring customer experience, is the Services Sector (i.e. utilities and telecommunications) with 21% of organisations not measuring customer experience let alone understanding it – does that mean they simply don’t care?

Do we need to review how we collect customer feedback?

According to the benchmark report the most common methods for requesting customer feedback utilised by contact centres are via online surveys (54%), followed by IVR surveys that take place after a call (24%), outbound calls (13%) and by contact centre staff during a call (12%). Given that 71% of interactions are still handled via the phone channel with the remaining 29% handled primarily via email (16%), the methods for collecting customer feedback are still aligned to the channel breakdown.

Despite the reduction in phone interactions being slower than anticipated, the next few years we expect to see a significant reduction in the number of phone interactions and a rise in self-service. As channel interactions change, our industry will need to review and adapt our approach to collecting customer feedback if we want to continue to effectively measure the customer experience.

What do we need to measure to ensure high performance and does the score really matter?

The importance of measurement metrics such as CSat, Customer Effort Score (CET) and NPS are always debated in the industry. But there is no right or wrong way to measure performance. This will be different for each industry and organisation depending on the customers’ wants and needs balanced with the organisations’ objectives.

For example, if we look at how different sectors measure, we’ll see that 76% of the government sector measure CSat, which is a greater proportion than all other industry sectors. In contrast, the preferred feedback measure in the financial services sector is NPS (63%). Both sectors are providing different services to their customers and have different organisational targets therefore the prominence given to certain metrics will be different.

How does the number impact on the customer experience? Let’s face it a number is a number, what does it really tell you? Shouldn’t the focus be on how customer insights are used to drive changes?

What role do service levels play in achieving customer experience?

Service levels have always been a strong part of the contact centre industry and a way of monitoring our performance within an organisation. But do our service levels align with our customers’ wants and the business’ objectives or is this simply another number to be chased?

The latest benchmarking report shows the most common service level target for inbound calls is 80% of calls answered in 30 seconds or less (37%). This shows a variation in service level targets, with the trend in recent years being 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds or less (based on customer segmentation).

If we look at the performance for inbound calls, currently 76% of calls are answered within a defined service level target. With lower service level targets in place and performance tracking below target, it is being flagged as an area that contact centres need to improve, but, does it really have a bearing on the customer’s satisfaction and how many of your customers are saying that they are one of the 80% answered in 20 seconds?

According to a study by Genesys, when it asked customers about the 80/20 ‘rule’ it found that customers were willing to wait longer, in fact up to two or three minutes longer, without it having a negative impact on customer satisfaction. So, is the ‘loosening’ of the 80/20 ‘rule’ just a reflection of adapting our performance measures as we start to better understand and to reflect the customers’ wants.

What customer experience measure is the best?

Measuring customer experience is complex just as we are all different and complex as human beings. With that, it’s clear that there is no one metric or survey that is the be-all and end-all for measuring customer experience. Each has is merits and it depends on your organisation and your customers, as to what metrics you should use and what prominence they are given within your organisation.

What is important is that what you are measuring is actionable, issues and opportunities are acted on, and the insights are shared and reviewed throughout the organisation – good and bad. This will help to improve the customer experience and refine how you improve the experience for the customer in the future.

Fiona Keough

Fiona Keough is the CEO of Auscontact Association, the leading customer contact industry association in Australia. Auscontact aims to connect people, industries and organisations, locally and globally, to deliver excellence in customer contact experience.