As I discussed  in last month’s blog Creating a Customer-Centric Culture, the president of a division of a Fortune 500 utility company drives her organization’s customer engagement optimization strategy by incorporating a combination of business and workforce optimization initiatives.

I met with the president again a couple weeks ago, and we discussed some additional areas around her strategy including workforce optimization and customer focus. Strategy_pic_for_August_Pivotal_blog_resized.png

The executive strongly believes that customer experience and customer focus go hand in hand. At the forefront of her strategy is a belief that motivated and driven employees who deliver an excellent customer experience are core to her organization’s success. One interesting concept she discussed was a focus on contact center “first person” resolution. The organization extended the usual definition of first contact resolution to first person resolution, where not only is the goal to resolve the customer’s issue on the customer’s first call to the organization, but the issue is also resolved by the first person who receives the call.

How do they do this? Agents are empowered to help customers and have the ability to handle whatever is needed on a call. Almost every question on the organization’s quality monitoring evaluation form has the word “customer” in it—including questions on listening ability, problem resolution, professionalism, empathy and appreciation.

Screen capture records the agent’s use and proficiency with systems, so managers can use the recorded agent-screen interactions to develop agents and increase workflow efficiencies through agent coaching and process improvement projects. Best practice examples of issue resolution,  customer saves, agent selling techniques and other types of service excellence are also archived and used to train other agents.

From a contact center systems perspective, the organization consolidated 13 different systems to a single employee desktop, so the need to transfer calls, put customers on hold, or call customers back was dramatically reduced. Customer experience was optimized through reduced average handle time (AHT), plus guided call flow that helped agents collect data from customers much faster than before. Efficiencies increased and training time was significantly reduced: Because one employee desktop replaced 13 systems, there was a leap in agent workflow efficiencies and a 50% reduction in agent training time.

Employee scorecards drive further excellence. In addition to recurring coaching sessions and twice a year performance reviews, the organization was able to put primary ownership of performance improvement in the hands of the agents, enabling them to drive their own success.

In total, the scorecard KPIs—including Sales Conversions, Quality Assurance Score, Schedule Adherence, Availability and Save Rate—drive customer excellence, customer retention and an increase in the frequency and results around cross sell/upsell.

The executive’s philosophy is that customers are the center of their business. So, if the organization takes care of customers, they’ll stay with the organization, and also buy more.

Your organization’s customers are a click away from the competition. How does your customer engagement optimization strategy compare to your competitors? What are you doing to make service faster, easier and more personalized? Leverage insight derived from business and workforce optimization initiatives, and start helping advance your organization’s customer engagement strategy—and business results.