Desktop Applications Best Practices for Improving CX
Author: Mike Desmarais, Founder & CEO, SQM Group
Most contact centers have not had much success with improving FCR as a result of initiating new desktop applications. However, SQM clients that have improved their FCR as a result of a new desktop initiative have done so by focusing the initiative on improving FCR. CSR desktops are typically cluttered with as many as 10 or more applications. Not only is there a large number of applications that CSRs are required to use, but often many of those applications are difficult to navigate. SQM’s research shows that only 19% of CSRs are very satisfied with their contact center’s desktop applications. In fact, CSR desktop applications are one of the biggest sources of employee dissatisfaction with working in the contact center.
There are three main desktop applications that are essential for consistently delivering FCR and achieving a significant return on a contact center’s desktop applications investment:
Unified CSR Desktop
To help improve FCR, Csat and AHT performance, contact centers are integrating desktop applications into a simpler, unified CSR desktop. The unified desktop connects all of the contact center’s applications that CSRs typically access and brings them into a single application. With the use of a unified desktop application, the CSR can handle calls in a proper, natural call flow sequence resulting in quick and consistent responses to customer calls. In many cases, it does not matter which CSR a customer talks to because every CSR uses the unified desktop application. This results in customers’ calls being resolved in a more consistent manner.
An effective and efficient unified CSR desktop application can greatly improve Esat with handling calls, especially for new CSRs. The primary reason Esat is high with a unified desktop application is because CSRs only have to use one application thus making it easier to navigate screens. It is important that call flows are effective and efficient at reducing or eliminating CSR errors, and resolving calls in a timely manner. CSRs really appreciate when the unified desktop call flows and scripts are updated for areas such as new products, services, price changes, marketing campaigns, and policy changes.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Just a few years ago most SQM clients would say that their CRM implementation was a failure or it did not meet their expectations. Today most SQM clients view their CRM application as one of the most important technologies in a contact center. Based on the current economic condition of the marketplace, it is SQM’s opinion that the CRM application has new-found strategic and operational importance for contact centers to improve their FCR and customer experience performance. Also, because of the current tough economic conditions, many contact centers are recognizing that customer acquisition is an uphill battle. Therefore, many organizations are shifting their focus from customer acquisition to customer retention.
The main purpose of the CRM, from a contact center’s point of view, should be for CSRs to use the CRM application to help resolve the customer’s call with an understanding of the customer’s relationship and value to the entire organization. Most CRM applications have the capability to track customer contacts which can be data-mined for customers who had to call more than once to resolve their call. This information can then be used for root cause analysis in order to determine the reasons for repeat calls and to develop solutions for improving FCR. Using the CRM application for identifying and reporting FCR or repeat calls can provide essential insights for understanding customer defections as a result of customers’ experiences in using the contact center. As shown in Figure 1, the percent of customers who expressed their intent to defect increases when their call is not resolved and Figure 2 shows that unresolved calls is the largest source of customer defections.
Knowledge Management Tool (KMT)
The primary purpose of the KMT is to assist CSRs in resolving customer calls. Knowledge is central to the customer service experience. The good news is that 86% of SQM clients say they have a KMT system in place and a whopping 94% of those clients say they update it regularly. But, why then do only 19% of CSRs rate their satisfaction with their KMT as very satisfied? And, why do only 29% of CSRs say that they turn to the online manual when they need help to resolve a customer’s issue? It is clear from employee feedback that the cause of low satisfaction with their KMT is in the usability of the system rather than its absence. A best practice is to think of the KMT as a living, breathing entity that needs constant feeding, rather than another project that needs to be implemented and then forgotten. It has been SQM’s experience that for the KMT to be successful at helping CSRs resolve customer calls on the first call, the KMT information needs to be accurate, understandable, useful and easy to access.
More details can be found in SQM’s book:
The purpose of this book, One Contact Resolution 2nd Edition, is to help contact center managers use best practices for improving customer experience.