The customer experience has proved itself. A true distinguishing feature for a brand, it helps to build customer loyalty, strengthen your brand image and create new business opportunities. Today, companies understand this and are doing everything possible to create a special relationship with their consumers.
But did you know that the customer experience you provide depends on your employees’ experience? This is the “Symmetry of Attention” principle. The concept is based on the premise that the quality of the relationship between a company and its customers is symmetrical to the quality of the relationship between that same company and its employees.
Before going into the subject in more depth, we must first define what employee experience means: the emotions and perceptions felt by the employee within the company.
Yet only 44.8% of customer-facing employees claim to be highly engaged in the experience an organisation offers its customers (1). Acting on all levels of the employee experience is therefore a real challenge. Put another way, we must put people back at the heart of the company’s priorities.
In this article we share some best practices on how to improve your contact centre operators’ experience, and how they can maximise your customer relationship.
Gone are the days when operators were considered to have little added value! Today, operators have a strategic role within an organisation because of their direct contact with the customer. Our very first recommendation is therefore to develop your employees through training, empowerment and attention.
54% of employees who are in direct contact with customers want more training and support to develop their skills (2).
Today, training is taking on a whole new dimension. In addition to the traditional format, technology opens many other doors. Mentoring, coaching, e-learning, group sessions… choose the most appropriate method to motivate your staff over the long term.There can be two types of training in particular: raising your staff’s awareness about client focus and communication, and improving their technical and business skills.
(2) Etude Forrester 2021, aller au-delà de l’expérience client
It is a proven fact that the organisations that excel in customer relations are those that provide their employees with a rewarding work experience.
For example, you can give them autonomy and latitude, especially during discussions with customers, so that they feel fully involved in their role. We also recommend that you regularly give them new responsibilities with high value-added tasks, while making clear the objectives to be achieved.
It is also important to listen to your operators as the best recommendations often come from frontline staff. To do so, we suggest that you set up internal, anonymous satisfaction surveys to collect feedback and identify sources of frustration, and to encourage your staff to voice their opinions.
This is what O2 Care Services’ Customer Service department decided to do. Vanina Poirier, the Customer Service department manager, set up an anonymous satisfaction questionnaire to gather feedback from her teams and take concrete action on areas for improvement.
The daily lot of call centre operators is not always easy. They often have to juggle a lot, between urgent requests and the need to be attentive at all times. Our second recommendation is to set up tools to support them as much as possible. This will allow them to focus on high value-added tasks.
Our first observation is obvious: switching between different windows or tabs is really energy sapping for your call operators! It is therefore important to provide your employees with an efficient and intuitive contact centre tool so that they can work in the best conditions.
Choose a solution that brings together the functionality they need while allowing them to handle customer interactions from different channels. There are many solutions on the market at present: we recommend that you choose cloud-native software, i.e. a solution that provides a consistent user experience. More responsive, scalable and resilient, this kind of solution will greatly improve the user experience.
Finally, make sure that this solution can be easily integrated with your other business tools, such as your CRM. This will take you up another rung on the employee experience ladder!
Second observation: customer details that are difficult to access or are incomplete can waste valuable time for your advisors.
We recommend that you provide them with an interface that will give them a 360° view of the customer journey in real time. These days there are many features that make it possible to collect, centralise and above all share customer data. User profiles and interaction history, for example, are information your agents need if they are to deliver a rich, consistent and personalised experience.
Finally, it is very frustrating for your advisors to waste time on repetitive tasks. Many issues that are raised with your customer service department can be resolved easily through automation.
For example, a digital channel may well be able to handle questions to do with delivery tracking and an IVR may enable your customers to pay their bills independently. In other words, implementing more “self care” for simple requests will make the customer experience more streamlined, while at the same time improving your employees’ skill set as they focus on more empowering tasks.
Who better than your employees to be ambassadors for your company? Our third and final recommendation is to look after your operators as well as you do your clients! The working conditions, team cohesion and flexibility you give them are all aspects that will motivate them on a daily basis and this will be reflected in your customer relations.
An important factor in engaging your employees is the working environment : we all work much better with the right equipment and a pleasant environment.
It is therefore essential to provide your operators with equipment that will enable them to be productive (quality headphones, dual screen, comfortable seats, etc.). We also recommend that you define a proper break area where your staff can disconnect, as well as areas that facilitate cooperation between operators.
The life of a call centre operator can be very stressful. To overcome this, our tip is to provide flexibility while maintaining the discipline that a contact centre demands.
For example, feel free to introduce home office days. In fact, contrary to popular belief, 74% of contact centres now have remote staff and 28% of managers have observed an improvement in their efficiency (5) ! Your operators will be more fulfilled, more productive and have a better life balance.
A good team dynamic will make all the difference. A number of practices have proven their worth on this aspect.
You can “gamify” your employees’ working day, i.e., make certain tasks entertaining and foster healthy competition between operators. You can also organise team events such as outdoor team building or morning coffee breaks. In the end, these simple practices will enable you to keep your teams motivated long term, with a good working atmosphere as the icing on the cake!
A motivated, efficient operator is a real asset for both customers and the company. A real virtuous circle in short, and now you know how to set it up!