By Liz Osborn
Losing customers to the competition should be your greatest fear. The cost of attracting new customers is significantly greater than retaining your existing ones. In addition, depending on your business, word of mouth referrals will often account for a large percentage of new business growth. All the more reason to keep customers satisfied, loyal to your company, and advocates for your brand. Most contact center leaders have caught on: recent research from ICMI indicates that CSAT is the most important agent metric to contact center leaders, agents, and customers alike.
In a perfect world we’d all be in agreement and there would be no reason to continue this post. Unfortunately, that’s not the case – ICMI’s research shows there are disconnects between what contact center leaders are saying is important, and what they’re doing to show it. For example, in the same ICMI study, when asked about what would motivate their company to invest in a new agent facing application, only 21% of respondents answered to improve customer satisfaction, while 38% prioritized lower costs.
Results like these beg the question: Does customer satisfaction really matter and, if so, are organizations willing to be realistic about what it will require of them? ICMI’s research would indicate that most organizations have yet to see the big picture opportunity.
A prime example of this is the agent experience; In many organizations, the agent experience is overlooked and far behind in priority, budget and attention — YET it is agreed that agents have the greatest impact on the customer experience. In order for agents to do their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible, they need the right tools and a recognized level of empowerment to get the job done, and feel good about doing it. If these elements are lacking, agent satisfaction — and consequently — customer satisfaction will most likely suffer.
Contact center leaders are in agreement on this as well: 100% of research survey respondents believe agent morale and satisfaction directly affects the customer experience and over 99% recognize the correlation between high agent engagement and improved job performance. But the truth remains that whether it be the tools they’re given, the level of stress they experience, or their ability to be productive, there are still operational decisions that are preventing the frontline from providing the best experience possible:
- 92% of contact center leaders believe that their agent facing applications could be more effective.
- 87% acknowledged that their agents experience a moderate to high level of stress during their workday.
- 71% recognized system and tool inefficiencies and difficulties as the top contributor to the agent’s workday stress.
- Being equipped with necessary tools to effectively perform in the position has the greatest positive impact on agent performance.
The agent is arguably the most important touch point of the customer journey and it is simply not sustainable to actively prevent them from providing the best customer experience possible. Neglecting to invest in effective agent tools and resources negatively impacts agent engagement, and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Are you willing to do what it takes to become a true front-runner in a customer-centric world? Empower your agents.
See more of ICMI’s research findings. View the Interactive Research Report: