Guest Blogger

It strikes me that for most businesses, and customers, basing your customer experience strategy on great customer service – essentially brilliant recovery from failure – is flawed.  It costs you money and frustrates customers.  After all most people don’t wake up in the morning wanting to contact you.

This in no way diminishes the need to serve customers brilliantly when they need help.  And on the whole 2015 was a good year for our customers:

  • contact volumes were down by 15%, as we frustrated customers less
  • we therefore spent less serving customers, and instead invested more in things that really mattered to them
  • we were there when they needed us, our answer rates climbed significantly to 95%
  • we saved customers at record high levels when they were considering leaving us
  • and as measured by NPS our customers’ said they were treated better than ever before when we dealt with their query

Early in the year we stripped out from our agent scorecards a plethora of metrics and asked everyone to focus on two simple measures, first contact resolution and NPS.  After all customers essentially care about whether you solved their issue and how well and valued you made them feel.

The only flaw in the plan was at the time our metric for first contact resolution was that stated by customers via a survey.  So it was to my great delight that after heroic efforts by the team we implemented a technical solution.  It simply measures if a customer needs to contact us through any channel a second time over a 15-day period.

It’s quite revealing to look at our NPS scores alongside our first contact resolution “stated” and first contact resolution “technical”.  Where our NPS scores are high the customers “stated” view of resolution far exceeds our internal “technical” view.  Where our NPS scores are lower the opposite is true, the customers view of resolution is much lower than our view.

And since customers’ actual loyalty behaviour  – do they stay, spend more, recommend, and cost less to serve – correlates to NPS and the “stated” metric of resolution maybe it’s only the customers’ view of the experience that matters after all.

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