Executing a CEM Strategy
by Susan Hash
Most companies agree that ensuring a consistent, high-quality customer experience is essential for building loyalty and growing revenue. In fact, last year, two out of three organizations worldwide said that customer experience management (CEM) was important to their business, according to research by global enterprise feedback management firm Vovici and CGA, a UK-based customer experience consultancy, in their Customer Experience IQ Report.

Yet the findings also revealed a significant disconnect between strategy formulation and implementation. While almost 75% of respondents said that they have a CEM/VOC (voice of the customer) strategy, less than half have formal programs and compensation systems in place to implement the strategy. What are some of the key factors for successfully executing a CEM strategy?

Measure the Customer Experience
Many organizations are not measuring the customer experience against any metrics, according to the Vovici study. Of those that do, some rely on a standard CEM measure, such as Net Promoter Score, the Apostle Model, Customer Heartbeat, ACSI or other standard metrics, while a quarter said that they were using homegrown measures rather than existing measurements.

Jeffrey Henning, Vovici's founder and VP of strategy, points to two measures that have generated increased interest among contact center organizations: 1) Forrester's CxPi, which is derived from consumer evaluations across three areas: usefulness, ease of use and enjoyability; and 2) a Customer Effort Score (CES), developed by the Corporate Executive Board's Customer Contact Council, which is based on a single question to determine the amount of personal effort that a customer must put into the service experience.

Leverage Data in the Contact Center
Even the most effective measures will not impact the company's ability to deliver an exceptional experience if the feedback cannot be translated into improvements at the point of contact. Leading-edge organizations regularly analyze behavioral data for frontline performance issues that impact the customer experience. For instance, if a manager identifies reps who have a higher call transfer rate than their peers, it may be an indication that they are having difficulty taking control of their calls. Another KPI to look at is first-call resolution, which is considered to be critical to high-quality interactions. For FCR issues, managers may look at three indicators:
1. Training. Does the rep have the proper training to service the call?
2. Technology. Does the rep have access to perform the transaction functionally for the caller?
3. Call routing. Does the contact center have the appropriate skills-based routing in place to get the calls to the right rep who is best prepared to handle it?

Enterprisewide Execution Requires a Dedicated Leader
One challenge in implementing a CEM strategy is that the customer experience touches and crosses so many different parts of an organization. Since each department has its own performance objectives, aligning a common focus across the various groups requires an executive-level leader to drive the vision.

Three-quarters of the respondents in the Vovici study said that they did not have a leader who was responsible for customer experience or a chief customer officer, which may be one reason why so many organizations are finding it difficult to execute a CEM strategy, Henning says.

“There are a lot of challenges associated with silos in organizations,” he adds. “Every department tends to do what's best for the department rather than what's best for the customer overall. That's where you need a leader who can stand above it all.”

Inside View — Access Development
by Susan Hash
How do you handle remarkable business growth while maintaining a culture that emphasizes work/life balance for your staff? For affinity marketing firm Access Development, “doing more with less” was not an option, nor was outsourcing customer calls. The company's rapid growth was felt strongly in the contact center where call volume doubled in the course of a couple of months. Ramping up the center to handle the increase required additional staff—the problem was, there was no place to put them. The company found that an at-home agent program offered the opportunity to attract higher-quality applicants, draw from a larger labor pool and expand scheduling flexibility while lowering the center's overhead costs. The overall results have been so positive that other parts of the company are now following the contact center's lead.
Read the full story here.


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