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Call Center Week 2016 Preview: Contact Center Consulting


Presented By: CrmXchange

Call Center Week (June 27-July 1, at the Mirage in Las Vegas) is drawing ever closer.  In the final preview in our series of conversations with sponsors, we gain insight from the Northridge Group, a consultancy where the policy is to choose its business leads on the basis of having an extensive hands-on background in developing and implementing strategies within the chosen industry. 

 It’s no secret that companies are competing more intensely than ever and that it’s become more challenging than ever to build relationships with customers. “With online buying now the norm and consumers being continuously inundated with ecommerce offers, companies naturally focus on offering the right product at the best price,” said Pam Plyler, Customer Experience and Contact Center, Executive Practice Lead, of the Northridge Group. “But to differentiate themselves in this competitive, commoditized environment, they need to better identify customer needs and deliver across the entire organization.”

north.june2016 Northridge operates under the premise that traditional customer satisfaction survey methods and metrics generally lack the necessary depth to provide the level of insights to drive meaningful improvements in customer loyalty and improved business performance. In addition, there is a great deal of overlooked behavioral and transactional data that can be leveraged to gain additional insights into the customer needs.

Plyler, who comes to the table with more than 20 years of experience in planning and executing CX initiatives in financial, service and retail operations, believes that businesses need to pay closer attention to such areas as NPS scores and customer complaints. “How are people referring to your company on social media? What are their pain points? Too many companies just don’t use the data that’s available to them.”

Her background also includes direct workforce management, training and quality assurance. “There are still a large number of companies that don’t fully grasp the importance of their front-line personnel,” said Plyler. “When customers can’t get their answers from the website or self-service, calls are more complex and emotional than they have been at any time in the past.”

In her perspective, QA is more than just checking the boxes, which points to a need for 3rd party analysis to determine if agents are being judged by faulty existing measurement systems. Taking such an “outside in” view can make a difference. “People on the inside tend not to see all of the problems,” she noted. “When agents and supervisors are constrained by factors beyond their control, they can’t fix things. Setting up a closed-loop system that identifies recurring issues helps to ensure that these problems won’t continue.”

She is also a firm advocate of robust, end-to-end journey mapping which assesses all touch points and allows a company to know which are causing the customer pain. “If customers are having issues logging in, is the password reset too complex?” she said. "Every experience they go through needs to be looked at: purchasing, shipping, follow up and ongoing service.” 

“When companies receive an independent assessment, there’s no rationalization. What truly matters is the outcome,” said Plyler. “While every company needs to do journey mapping, it can’t be done just once and then put in a drawer. A journey map needs to be a living, breathing document that helps enable a business to create a roadmap for the future. The goal is to highlight and prioritize specific actions and initiatives required to reduce repeat calls and escalations and help achieve the kind of high-level customer experience that can ultimately have a positive impact on the bottom line.”