Take a look at every customer service or contact centre magazine (or blog) and what are the usual focus areas? Of course there are all the discussions around trends in the market and how fast things are changing, but one of the key areas that is repeatedly addressed is customer effort.
Of course, customer effort is a critical measurement. If it is difficult for the customer to engage with a brand then the satisfaction of that customer is adversely affected. Some angry customers have even accused brands of making it deliberately hard to engage. I don’t believe that any company would make it deliberately hard to get in touch, but on a corporate website where it might take half a dozen clicks to find contact details it is sometimes easy to believe the accusations.
But as an industry we spend so much time thinking about this side of the equation – the effort a customer needs to make – and much less focused on the effort that the agent undertakes.
Why don’t we see an equal focus on how to make the agent job easier? An agent that can perform their job better and more easily will also provide a better service to the customer naturally. Any company that looks after their team will already be providing great tools and training, but what more can be done?
Now that a single view of the customer is more important than ever, planning how your agents can hop across channels to get that omnichannel view of the customer is essential.
Companies specialising in customer service need to invest in the technology that allows agents to manage across channels and to have every other piece of information that can help them manage the customer relationship. The agents need to be empowered to look after customers in any way that is appropriate for the brand. Are enough companies making a commitment to train their agents to attain this gold standard?
I know that we are making a big effort in this area inside Teleperformance, but I don’t see this topic getting much attention in the trade journals. What do you think about reducing agent effort?