After our webinar with Fred Stacey, General Manager of Cloud Contact Center Search, Outsource Consultants, I wanted to pick his brain for additional insights into the future of customer service, particularly as it relates to the intersection of CX and technology.With a background in call center leadership and consulting, Fred has experienced the evolution of customer service. See what he has to say about the future of contact centers and how leaders can create happier agents.
Jarrod: You spend a lot of time thinking about contact center technology and helping companies select the software that best meets their needs. Do you think organizations nowadays are too focused on choosing the right technology over say improving their people?
Fred: I believe that most companies are investing in both. There is no question that the shiny new objects on the tech side are warranting a look but most companies today recognize that the employee experience is critical to success. The interest in tech that helps solve for both automation and employee experience while improving the CX seem to be a very hot topic.
Jarrod: There are still a huge number of companies that suffer from outdated software or just plain bad software not designed for their use cases. In the short-term, do you think dedicating more resources to technology improvements is more important than say the agent experience?
Fred: As above, I believe both can be focused on and a company in today’s landscape should not have to sacrifice one for the other.
Jarrod: How important are desktop tools and software for agents and how does that translate into overall customer experience?
Fred: Considering the average agent’s age and expectations of technology it is critical that the agent desktop gets serious focus from companies in any vertical. Depending on the technology, the agent desktop tools can show significant reduced handle times, improved personalization and many other upticks for the CX.
Jarrod: Self-service and chatbots for example are basic expectations of modern consumers. Yet, at the same time, customers complain about it being difficult to reach a human or outsourced call centers. How do you explain this contradiction?
Fred: The customer expectation is leaning towards self service which requires bots of all kinds. The problem is that most deployments were not developed by conversational experts and still have the same kind of pain points as a traditional IVR. They simply have added NLP/NLU tech but really have not thought through the whole flow from a customer experience perspective. Getting to an agent is a completely separate conversation that involves authentication all the way through getting to the right agent. Modern technology has made tremendous leaps in integrating multiple channels for just that to allow for easier, frictionless experiences but it will take time for companies to adopt these technologies.
Jarrod: As someone who holds an executive position, we wanted to save the toughest question for last. Some people suggest CX should be a C-level KPI. But for that to be true, there'd have to be an agreed upon method of measuring it. Do you think CX should be a C-level KPI and what data should go into measuring it?
Fred: That is a tough question. The one true statistic that to me speaks to the value of CX is that when CX is owned by the CEO, the company produces 20% more revenue on average. The modern measurements that we associate to CX, like CSAT, NPS, and voice of the customer survey results, are all a part of it but they are by no means the end all be all of CX measurement.
I think CX has to be a core part of every company and should be owned by the CEO and driven down the organization. Personally, I have always believed that companies should focus on the employee (EX) first and foremost and ensure that they are given all of the tools and resources necessary to take care of the customer. Removing friction at every point for both the customer and the employee will always impact the overall organizational health. If you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers.