Whose Customer Experience Is It Anyway?

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there isn't a consistent message between departments, it can trickle down to the agent and subsequently confuse the customer," Hawkins says.

Hawkins relates a story about a company that didn't establish clear lines of communication in its multichannel activities. The company's marketing team decided to promote a sale. Multiple emails were delivered to customers and potential customers, and it was also tweeted about extensively. However, there was one big problem. No one passed on that information to the contact center. When customers called in about the sale, agents had no idea what they were talking about.

"That's a huge impact on the customer experience," Hawkins says. "When agents are talking to customers on the phone, people want them to be concise and consistent, and not be put on hold because the agent has to speak with someone in marketing."

Hawkins says that the company's lines of communication have greatly improved since the incident. Now, the company's marketing team, for example, gives agents 24 hours' notice so that they can be prepared. The time gap also allows contact center workers to send follow-up questions or ask for clarifications.

The Joy Is in the Journey

Another prescription for providing an allied customer experience is for employees to walk in a customer's shoes. One way to do that is through journey mapping, which allows employees to see a number of different scenarios that a customer goes through, and see how his or her experience touches different departments. The "outside-inside view is very important," Hays says.

"We've obviously seen some painful viral instances when the contact center didn't get it right," he says. "You could trace it back to what the front line person was being tasked with and if [he was] enabled, empowered, or not empowered to do things.

"In mapping journeys, companies should look at the low-hanging fruit and find out where things went south," Hays continues. "One way they can do that is through surveys. Problems may or may not be systemic, but companies should be able to find trends pretty quickly."

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Posted September 23, 2014