Having happy, engaged employees in customer-facing roles will help to drive your business forward. Richard Branson, who’s built a few successful businesses in his time, has made his views clear:
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business.”
“Your employees are your company’s real competitive advantage. They’re the ones making the magic happen- so long as their needs are being met.”
And in a study by Salesforce, Employees who feel their voice is heard are 4.6 times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
But as companies strive to automate more processes, how much do customers value the personal touch? Isn’t it all about price? Won’t a shorter queue wait time have a more positive impact than great Contact Centre Agents? And isn’t it easier (therefore better) to be able to sort issues online or via an app?
These are all questions worth asking and a good Voice of the Customer (VoC) programme will provide the answers and help highlight what matters most to your customers.
For the past 14 years, we have been delivering VoC programmes for businesses across a broad range of industries. One of our specialisms is in CX measurement for Financial services providers and here the evidence of the value that your employees bring is compelling.
Of course, there will be a handful of occasions when price is king or when a painfully long contact centre queue time will dominate the experience. There will also be a few times when enforced channel switching and painful/lumpy customer journeys could cause irreparable damage to the customer experience. Thankfully, these are actually surprisingly rare.
For all our clients we categorise the comments that customers leave in their surveys. This has given us a knowledge bank based on hundreds of thousands of pieces of feedback which paint an astonishingly consistent picture. Time and time again, we see the call agent being the very first and the most frequently mentioned thing which a customer talks about.
Of all the comments which we categorise, those relating to the call agent are the biggest single category – at between 30% and 50% of the total comments made. A far higher percentage than comments relating to price, call wait times, or channel switching.
And when it comes to positive comments, the numbers are even more compelling. Complimentary comments about call agents account for between 70% and 80% of all favourable feedback. Agents are being talked about – and talked about in a very positive way.
These positive agent-specific comments also generate NPS scores as much as 30% points higher than when agents aren’t mentioned at all.
We also frequently see evidence of agents making up ground lost because a process hasn’t worked effectively. For example:
“The call wait time was disappointing but when I eventually spoke to Katie she was fabulous”
This commentary ‘yin yang’ is really quite common, with call wait times and price often being the negative side of the equation and the Agent creating a positive balance.
So, despite advances in technology, people remain the lynchpin of successful CX and are key to driving your KPIs to better levels.
Your Agents will be delivering their best service and engaging well with your customers when:
- they themselves feel engaged
- they know what is expected of them
- they feel their voice is heard
- they feel they are fairly treated by your company
- they have prospects for development and growth.
In my next update, I’ll be looking at how you can understand how your employees are doing and whether they are at the top of their game. What’s going well and what’s not? How can you create an employee feedback mechanism which checks the pulse of how they are feeling and even mirrors the frequency of your VoC program? Once in place, what are the issues identified and how can you put this instantly into the hands of someone who can help?
I’ll be sharing information about the importance of why you need to check in regularly to see if your Agents are doing well – rather than through just an annual employee survey.