What Today’s Connected Customers Really Want For CX

Published on: 3/3/17, 8:56 PM

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Today’s connected customers expect to resolve their inquiry or problem on the first contact regardless of what contact channel they choose to use. This conclusion is based on SQM’s research of benchmarking over 500 leading North American contact centers and conducting 7.5 million surveys with customers who used a contact channel to resolve an inquiry or problem. In fact, SQM research shows that 93% of customers using the call center channel, and 72% of customers using the website channel, expect to be able to resolve their inquiry or problem in one contact. The bottom line is when the mission is to deliver world class customer experience (CX) on any contact channel used by the customer, One Contact Resolution (OCR) is really what today’s connected customers really want for CX.

OCR is a tougher metric to achieve than First Call Resolution (FCR) because OCR factors in whether or not other channels were used, and FCR only factors in one channel being used. For the average call center, an alarming 42% of customers are not able to resolve their inquiry or problem on the first contact. Given that only 58% of customers have an OCR experience, it should be viewed as a huge wake-up call for the contact center industry to start measuring the customer’s entire experience (i.e., all contact channels used) when trying to resolve the same inquiry or problem.

The following figure shows what is most important to customers when interacting with an organization to resolve an inquiry or problem. It is important to state that all these business practices can be important for providing a world class customer experience when using a contact channel.

Figure: What is most important to customers when interacting with an organization

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The four business practices that are most important to customers are as follows:

First, resolving an inquiry or problem in one contact is the most important business practice that customers want to experience when using a contact channel. There are many metrics that organizations use for measuring a customer’s experience when using a contact channel such as Csat, sentiment scores, Net Promoter Score® (NPS®), ease of effort, and QA. These are all worthy metrics to use; however, given that most customers want to resolve their inquiry or problem in one contact using only one channel, OCR must be measured.

Second, treating the customer as being important to the organization. This can range from something as simple as a CSR telling the customer they appreciate the customer’s business or the CSR going the extra mile to resolve the customer’s inquiry or problem.

Third, providing personalized customer experience such as offering needs-based products and services in real time, extending special offers or coupons, or when customers pay their bill online and subsequently call the organization to confirm payment, having the IVR automatically thank them for their bill payment and their business. As organizations provide more personalized service, they need to be aware that the vast majority of customers are concerned with data security and privacy, so care must be taken when delivering personalized service.

Fourth, showing customers appreciation by rewarding them for their loyalty to the organization. Customers like to be advised through an outbound contact channel (e.g., email or SMS) on what their loyalty to the organization has earned them such as points, frequent flyer miles, or cash rewards.

The following figure shows CX preference of contact channel service delivery practices. Of the four contact channels service delivery practices (i.e., One Contact Resolution, Omni-Channel CX, Seamless CX, and Non-Seamless CX), OCR is by far the preferred CX. After all, most customers who use a contact channel expect that their inquiry or problem will be resolved on the first contact using only one contact channel. When the customer uses more than one contact channel to resolve the same inquiry or problem, then the organization should provide a seamless CX. It is important to understand that even when the customer has a seamless experience they might still be dissatisfied because they expected to have their inquiry or problem resolved on the first contact using only one contact channel. The non-seamless service delivery practice should be eliminated, or significantly reduced, for all contact reasons. There are customers who do not mind a non-seamless experience; however, they tend to be the exception. The bottom line is that the easier it is for a customer to resolve their inquiry or problem, the higher their Csat.

Figure: Channel usage CX preference

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To help clarify the differences on contact channel service delivery practices, SQM has developed the following definitions:

  • One Contact Resolution – A customer who resolved their inquiry or problem in one contact using one channel.
  • Omni-Channel CX – A customer who had a seamless experience across all contact channels that they used for resolving the same inquiry or problem. In addition, the customer was very satisfied (top box response) with their entire experience using multiple channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem.
  • Seamless CX – A customer who had a seamless experience across all contact channels that they used for resolving the same inquiry or problem. In other words, when a customer used another channel to resolve the same inquiry or problem they were easily able to pick up from where they left off in the previous channel and, as a result, did not have to start from the beginning. Most of these customers will be satisfied; however, some will be dissatisfied because they had to use two or more contact channels.
  • Non-Seamless CX – A customer who did not have a seamless experience when using multiple channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem. In other words, the customer had to start their interaction from the beginning each time they used another channel to resolve the same inquiry or problem.

The following figure shows contact channel service delivery CX for OCR and multiple channel usage. Again, 58% of customers had an OCR service delivery CX when resolving an inquiry or problem and 20% used two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem. Of the customers who used multiple channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem, 53% of customers had a non-seamless CX, which means the customer had to start their interaction from the beginning when they used another channel to resolve the same inquiry or problem. This also means that 47% of customers had a seamless CX. However, only 29% of customers had an omni-channel CX which means that they had a seamless experience and were very satisfied when they used two or more contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem. In other words, customers were easily able to pick up from where they left off in the previous channel and, as a result, did not have to start from the beginning.

Figure: Contact channel service delivery CX

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From SQM’s perspective, very few organizations know their customers’ satisfaction when using specific contact channels (e.g., IVR self-service, mobile self-service, email, chat) or when using multiple contact channels to resolve the same inquiry or problem. As a result, SQM is often asked, “What are the differences between OCR, seamless, and non-seamless CX from a Csat point of view?” The following figure shows Csat (top box response) based on the contact channel CX for resolving a customer’s inquiry or problem. The main finding is that for a customer who uses two or more channels to resolve the same inquiry, Csat is 39% higher when it is a seamless experience than when it is a non-seamless experience. The easier it is for a customer to resolve their inquiry or problem, the higher their Csat. That is the reason why the OCR practice, at 89% Csat, is the highest by far of all the contact channel customer experiences. The Csat for a seamless CX is 67% and for a non-seamless CX is 28%, which is the lowest of all contact channel customer experiences. What customers really want when they use two or more channels to resolve their inquiry or problem is to have a seamless experience and be very satisfied with their multi-channel experience, which is what SQM has defined as a true omni-channel CX.

Figure: Csat based on contact channel CX

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The following figure shows simultaneous channel usage. Of the customers interacting with an organization, 37% of customers use two or more contact channels simultaneously to resolve an inquiry or problem. When customers use two channels simultaneously to resolve an inquiry or problem, 62% of the time it is the combination of the web self-service and call center channels, which is by far the most popular combination of channels being used. Given the high percentage of customers who use the combination of web self-service and call center channels simultaneously to resolve the same inquiry or problem, it is essential to understand why this combination is preferred and the effectiveness of this combination. It is important to state that the customer is typically in the non-authenticated areas of the website when using these two channels simultaneously.

Figure: Simultaneous channel usage

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The following figure shows the usage for the combination of call center and another channel. For customers who used the call center, 20% of customers also used another channel to resolve the same inquiry or problem. Similar to simultaneous channel usage, the other contact channel was the website channel in most cases. Of those instances of multiple channel usage, 74% of customers used the other contact channel prior to calling the call center. Given the high percentage of customers using the call center last when they used the combination of the call center and another channel, this underscores the view that the call center is the last line of defense for resolving an inquiry or problem. 13% of customers used the call center and another contact channel at the same time for resolving an inquiry or problem. However, the contact channel simultaneous usage for order call types is significantly higher than the 13% seen here for inquiry and problem call types.

Figure: Combination of call center and another channel usage

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If you are interested in learning more about What Today’s Connected Customers Really Want for CX in order to improve Csat, increase customer referrals, and retention, please contact SQM.

About the Author: Mike Desmarais

Mike DesmaraisMike Desmarais is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SQM Group. Mike is currently an MBA Candidate at Athabasca University. Mike has over 25 years of customer experience (CX) measurement, benchmarking, and consulting. As a consultant, Mike has experience working with leading North American organizations on improving CX. Mike has developed several key best practices that are fundamental to providing world class contact channel customer experiences. He uses his best practice knowledge to assess contact channel operations and to pinpoint the 3-5 pivotal changes that will drive real and significant CX improvement. Mike is a pioneer and visionary in contact channels’ CX measurement of first call resolution, one contact resolution, omni-channel, CX greatness, customer emotion, and retention metrics. Mike has written five thought-provoking contact channel CX research books (i.e., World Class Call Center, First Call Resolution, FCR Best Practices, One Contact Resolution and most recently One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition). Mike has conducted best practice case studies with organizations such as American Express, FedEx, and VSP Vision Care. In addition, Mike is a popular contact center industry thought-leader with over 20,000 LinkedIn followers and is one of the top 10 most influential contributors in the contact center industry based on a recent Fonolo poll. Mike is a sought-after speaker for contact center conferences and has a world class satisfaction rating for speaking at those events.