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Happy or frustrated — How do your customers feel?

Christian Schacht
13 Jul 2023

Studies have shown that agents often know exactly how to resolve the customer’s request but they are either not enabled or not empowered to execute on this

I’ve just had a great service experience with one of the world’s best-known tech brands. I’d called about a replacement part and was taken seamlessly through a series of processes all built around resolving my query. I felt guided through every step and loved the fact that the call handler not only had a complete record of my engagement history, from purchase to contract to service, but took the time to check if there was anything else I needed while on the call. Clearly, their key performance indicator was one of resolution, rather than call time/cost.

Compare that to how a colleague felt recently on contacting a long-term utility provider to inform them about a change of address. There was no synchronization between his electricity and gas accounts with the same company and, despite having the identical contact details and name on each, both accounts had different customer identifiers. This meant my colleague was passed from pillar to post to de-register (twice) and then register at the new address (twice).

That’s not all. Having jumped through countless hoops, my colleague received no offer of a new tariff or incentive for his loyalty. Guess which one of us loves our provider? In fact, while I’m happily telling everyone about my tech company experience, he has moved to a new utilities provider with a reputation for customer centricity.

In a situation such as that with the incumbent utilities company described above, the problem is often the way in which the company is organized internally. Internal departmental silos often don’t work together, either because their systems aren’t integrated or for political and/or historical reasons. So, a customer with a product or payment query might be routed via several departments before getting to an agent able to help.

Then there is the challenge of customer service agents organized around and measured by KPIs based on call times and the ensuing costs. Sadly, they are far more likely to hang up if they can’t resolve an issue quickly in order to hit their KPI. This applies both to internal customer engagement teams and to outsourced providers. In both instances, organizing agents around a “customer happiness” KPI instead of an “agent productivity” metric would make it far more likely that the call is successfully dealt with. Why? Because it’s all about the customer, rather than the call handler.

Studies have shown that agents often know exactly how to resolve the customer’s request but they are either not enabled or not empowered to execute on this. But giving individual agents responsibility for effective call resolution from start to finish of the customer contact is a proven approach. Here we see an agent taking the call, identifying the problem, and liaising with the relevant departments (service, payment, maintenance, contract renewal, etc.) on behalf of the customer rather than handing them on to another department. The result? The customer feels at the center of the story and the agent has only one focus – to resolve the issue or query. And the more efficient your call resolution processes are, the more cost effective they become. What is maybe even more exciting is that empowered agents can significantly increase the company’s top line. Based on a Forrester customer experience benchmark in the US from 2022, home and auto insurers that empower their agents to solve problems themselves could see a whopping $1 billion in incremental revenue. Airlines that do the same could see an $833 million boost to their top line.

Technology can be used as an enabler to empower your agent and delight your customers, for example, by routing the customer directly to the best agent to take personal control of the situation. Technology can help you understand the customer context and make smart decisions to match the customer’s needs. Technology can also support the agent by guiding them to the right resolution and providing all required access, information, and support personalized for the specific situation your customer is contacting you for.

How you organize your customer service teams is just one of several strands in the customer experience story that I will explore further in this series of articles. Look out for “How to make the customer your biggest fan — Use data” next.

To discover how Capgemini’s Augmented Service offer can help you reorganize your customer-facing teams to put your customers first, visit our website here.


Christian Schacht