Imagine a support center with a competent level 1 support team. A level 1.5 team receives warmly transferred calls and chats. Shift-left activities combined with a Knowledge Centered Service (KCS) approach ensure support processes are steadily handed off from level 2 to level1.5, level 1, and ultimately level 0. All Key Performance Indicator (KPI) targets are exceeded, met, or approached very closely. Resolution rates sky rocket to close to 90% between level 1 and level 1.5. Customer satisfaction rates are consistently high and above the 93% target. The ball seems to be hit out of the park in most, if not all respects. Support center management is pleased with the results. Might they even have become slightly complacent?
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Sure, they hear a complaint from a user every now and then. But guess what? It mostly isn’t their “fault!” Some level 2 group or another help desk is mostly responsible for the root cause. So, they’re good! Everyone should be pleased with how the support center is performing. Or…should they?
The complaints don’t stop. The stats continue to show undeniable success. Associate experience survey results show associates are not satisfied with the services delivered and prompt executive leadership to action. This needs to be fixed. Quickly.
A mini grief cycle is triggered with support center management.
Betrayal. This isn’t right. A recent benchmark showed we outperform many comparable support centers. KPIs clearly show we meet and succeed targets. CSAT scores are through the roof! Someone must have it in for us….
Denial. Well, it isn’t us anyway. Once they realize we’re doing everything right, they’ll sing a different tune. We’ll just show them the data, and they’ll understand.
Anger. Why are they not listening to reason? They don’t know how good they have it. If they’d just give us a bigger budget and more people…
Acceptance. From the perspective of our associates, getting help can be very frustrating.
Commitment. We need to change this; we are going to change this.
Does this sound somewhat familiar? What mistake did the support center management team make? They failed to look beyond their “street,” which is only a small piece of the entire customer journey, even smaller when regarding the entire customer experience ecosystem.
Once they swiftly passed through the change acceptance stages, they expanded their focus to the entire customer journey. Fixing one piece of the journey is not going to improve the entire experience. When the team was committed to improving the associate experience, they acknowledged the need to collaborate with all groups that play a part in the journey. They realized that an associate looking for help only sees “help desk” and that is fine. There should be no need for an associate to figure out who is responsible for which piece of the journey. The cogs should quietly spin and turn in the background to ensure each experience with support is a great one, the need for help is reduced to a minimum, and self-service capabilities are optimized.
You do not need to go through a change acceptance cycle to come to this realization though. Here are some tips to get you started:
- If you have not started mapping customer journeys, dabbling with emotion charts, and getting close to your customers to truly understand what is important to them, it is time to do so now. Invest in training or do your own research. You will find a myriad of resources online to get you acquainted with customer experience (CX).
- Baseline your current customer experience. Analyze the journey, gather survey results, talk to your level 1 agents and analyze relevant metrics. This will help you identify pain points and improvement opportunities.
- Devote ample effort and energy to ensuring all your support resources understand and are actively engaged and committed to improving the customer experience. The commitment should stretch through the entire organization, from executive leadership to the level 1 support agent.
- Plan and strategize for success. Be transparent and inclusive in your approach. Team members will feel more engaged and committed when they are encouraged to contribute.
- Make sure you diligently track and analyze customer satisfaction survey results. For the full benefit of conducting a survey, you must close-loop by making the necessary process improvements and communicating the outcomes to all stakeholders.
- Always align your improvements with the strategic objectives of the organization and give CX a prominent position at the center of each support process.
Keep in mind that improving the customer experience is not a project. It is a journey that requires a long-term commitment at all levels of the organization.
Improving the customer experience is not a project. It is a journey.
Miranda Reshaw is the process improvement manager at the Coca-Cola global support center. During her tenure, she's led the support transition to the Coca-Cola service desk for more than 200 application deployments, upgrades, and migrations. In addition, she managed and oversaw more than 60 process improvement projects and initiatives. In 2016, she was named one of "Coca-Cola's Corporate Women of Achievement," and in 2017 she became the VP of ambassadorship for Coca-Cola women's LINC.