May 10, 2016 | Mike Redmond

How to Measure CX In the Contact Center the Right Way


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Contact Center

What are some good metrics that companies use today to measure the contact center customer experience?

A few come to mind that I hear prospective clients mention often before they begin talking to ForeSee: Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Effort Score (CES) and First Call Resolution (FCR). Each of these single-question metrics can be helpful, but if you’re looking to make critical business decisions based upon NPS, CES or FCR alone, you are missing an opportunity to truly manage your business towards growth. Here’s why…

Using these one number metrics as standalone contact center metrics won’t provide you with what every organization is seeking — the ability to measure customer experience with certainty, and to enable you to receive credible, reliable and accurate insights in order to pinpoint and predict what your customers are going to do next.

Here are some of the common challenges when these “single number” metrics are used as stand alone:

With Customer Effort Score (CES)…

Much like other popular single number concepts that are presented as silver bullet metrics, CES should not be taken as a proxy for satisfaction and used to run your business. Expectations and experiences are what actually drive satisfaction, and satisfaction drives future customer behavior.  It’s a law of human nature.

Let me give you a quick example: A customer calls into the support center because they want a refund on a purchase they made – however it’s the company’s policy to not issue a refund on that purchase. The customer asks, “Can I have a refund?”  The agent says “No.”  The exchange takes 30 seconds… the customer effort was really low. However their satisfaction is also low, and the likelihood to engage in positive future behaviors is also low.

This low customer effort did not result in creating a loyal customer or one that was even slightly satisfied.

With NPS as a metric…

Many clients tell me NPS is tied to their annual bonus. As an executive and business stakeholder, are you ready to throw out all other measurements and run your business on a one question, one number, measurement? If you do, then how do you act upon NPS?

NPS lacks diagnostic capabilities. You need a comprehensive measurement program that enables you to understand which improvements are needed within the contact center experience (agent professionalism, knowledge or responsiveness) that drives and moves the needle on NPS. Want a bigger bonus? Then scientifically link customer satisfaction using the ForeSee CXA methodology, providing managers with powerful, forward-looking insights that tie business decisions to specific financial outcomes.

Call Center stats

With First Call Resolution (FCR)…

Many contact centers are measured on First Call Resolution. According to ForeSee benchmark data from the last three years, overall satisfaction with the contact center has decreased while consumer expectations of a “seamless brand experience” continue to rise.

First Call Resolution is important, but there are some interesting facts to consider after analyzing over 100,000 end-consumer surveys from all different industry types (such as retail, financial services, product, etc.), reviewing three years of historical data, and measuring the contact center Live Agent interaction for both sales and service experiences…

When we looked at first call resolution for seven of our contact center clients, we found that first time callers — where their issue was resolved — had a high satisfaction score (91). What’s interesting is that non-first time callers, who had their issue resolved, had the same satisfaction score (91). Additionally, nearly 10 percent of callers who had their issue resolved during their first experience with a company’s contact center had a low satisfaction score and were 50 percent less likely than satisfied customers to recommend that company!

So what’s the moral of that FCR example? Well, resolving a customer’s issue the first time they call does not automatically lead to a happy customer. First call resolution tells you how efficient you were, but looking at this one number metric can make you stumble, ignoring deeper insights about how your customers viewed the experience. It also makes it very difficult to identify — with certainty — where you should focus improvements beyond call resolution.

Success requires more than single-metric analysis

All management decisions make basic cause-and-effect assumptions (i.e., If we do X, Y will happen), but without knowing what outcomes to expect, decision-making becomes a guessing game. And unfortunately, it’s due to managers too often basing their decisions on these “one number metrics”. Using the right measurement system gives business leaders the ability to concisely identify and prioritize changes in the contact center, or any channel for that matter, that will have the greatest impact on driving behaviors most desired for both your customers and prospects.

The best performing companies are paying attention to the customer experience on a daily basis. It is critical that organizations quantify the impact of changes before making them using a complete and effective system of VOC metrics.

How do we know this? Since 2001, ForeSee has collected more than 175 million customer satisfaction surveys, including the “likelihood to recommend” question. In fact, we like NPS, CES and FCR questions because they’re a nice complement to ForeSee’s rigorous proven cause-and-effect theoretical question model and framework that’s based on empirical findings from 80 years of social psychology research, 20 years of econometric research, and more than a decade of practical field implementation at leading global organizations.

If you are serious about running a successful VOC program and platform — and want to transform your business using next-generation customer experience analytics — don’t get drawn into the simplicity of using just one question, one number, it’s a recipe for disaster. You’re essentially using a fragmented process, simple analytics, guesswork, and rear-view decision making versus a true VOC measurement system, which includes business discipline, predictive analytics, and algorithmic certainty that gives you the widest and deepest customer experience benchmarks in the world.

For a more in-depth look at ForeSee’s solution, check out our Contact Center Measurement product overview today.

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About the Author

Mike Redmond is Regional Director at ForeSee in the New York City area with U.S. sales responsibility stretching from the east coast to mid-west. With more than 15 years experience managing and selling SaaS technology products and programs, he has played a key role in the company’s strategic growth in the contact center space. He partners with prospective and existing ForeSee clients to help maximize their technology investments and guides them on using best practices in customer experience analytics across all digital and offline customer touch points. Mike earned a B.S. in Management and Finance from the Binghamton University - School of Management.

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