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5 Steps Toward Increasing Customer Success Scores
Customer ratings are the top metric companies use to track for success or failure in their efforts to improve customer experience, according to Nemertes' 2018-2019 Digital Customer Experience (DCX) research study of nearly 700 global companies.
There is no shortage in the types of customer success ratings companies use. But when we asked study respondents which was their primary metric, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores ranked as No. 1, followed by Customer Effort Score (CES), Net Promoter Score (NPS), and internally developed measurements (see figure below).
Customer Ratings Rise by Nearly 50% Overall
When companies completed any DCX project, their customer ratings increased by 49.7% compared to the rating prior to the initiative. What did they do that had the biggest impact on ratings? Here are the top five projects that positively affected customer ratings:
- Add customer-facing digital channels (i.e., video, webchat, SMS/MMS, screen sharing, etc.) -- New digital channels increased customer ratings by 67.5% on average. By adding new ways to communicate, customers get what they want, when and how they want it. It also gives them options. If it's off-hours, and they need an answer, self-service apps can rise to the occasion. If they're multitasking and can't be on a live voice call, a webchat may get them the quick answer they need. If they need instructions -- say, on a problem they're having with installing an appliance -- the agent can start a two-way video and provide verbal and visual advice.
- Automate or improve customer-facing workflow -- Workflow automation increases customer ratings by 60.2%. If done right, automation typically gives customers what they need quickly, reducing the time they need to spend getting answers. Automation comes in many forms, though. It may be automation of communications, so when a customer needs to know about an order shipment or medical appointment, they receive an automated reminder over the preferred communications channel. Or it could be forms automation. So when they're applying for a mortgage, the process runs smoothly because each step in the process (along with the communications to go along with it) is automated.
- Adopt omnichannel in the contact center -- Addressing a pet peeve among most people, companies increased their ratings by 51.5% by adding omnichannel to the contact center. With omnichannel capabilities, customers' information follows them, for the duration of a single interaction, over time, and across all channels of communications. Ideally, if you're on a call to discuss a warranty issue and need to change from live chat to two different voice agents, and then to a video call, you never have to repeat the same information. Then, if you call back a week later to discuss the same issue, an agent can see all your history. The reduction in aggravation and (hopefully) quicker resolution results in higher customer satisfaction and a greater likelihood a customer will refer the company to friends and associates.
- Analyze agent performance -- Contact-center platforms are adding sophisticated agent analytics capabilities, and those who have adopted them found a 44.8% improvement in their customer ratings. The analytics are very helpful in finding deficiencies in specific agents that supervisors can address with coaching, correlating factors (such as region, call handle time, upsell, agent expertise, time of day, etc.) with customer satisfaction, and injecting some competitiveness into the contact center by displaying agents' success scores. More proficient agents make happier customers.
- Add or improve customer data analytics -- Information is key to making the best decisions and changes in customer experience initiatives, and analytics provide those key data points. Organizations that added or improved their analytics saw a 42.2% boost in their customer ratings. By knowing what's wrong, companies can address the problems. At the same time, by knowing what's working well, they can enhance that behavior to improve the customer experience.
It's unlikely that an organization would implement all of these programs at once, but each should be part of a broader DCX strategy to improve customer experience. Each of these projects has additional benefits beyond customer ratings. These include any combination of increases in sales, decreases in operational costs, and reduction in agent turnover, among other benefits.