How Customer Satisfaction Impacts the Customer Experience

If 2020 was a stage, and the pandemic was a spotlight, it would be shining on CSAT and agent experience. With everyone shopping from the comfort of their couches, and so many businesses amplifying their digital presence, CX leaders are beginning to see just how important their customer service agents are when it comes to their customer satisfaction scores.

With so many aspects of our lives transitioning to digital so quickly, how can CX leaders keep up with the shift all while improving CSAT, and what role do agent non-controllables have to play in your customer experience

We sat with Michael Pace, President at the NECCF (Northeast Contact Center Forum) and Director of Global Member Services at Virgin to talk about agent non-controllables and the best ways to improve the agent (and customer) experience.

Understanding Agent Non-Controllables

Most of you have heard of agent non-controllables but there are some who have not. The easiest way to explain this is to show you:

  • Seth calls your call center because he needs to defer future payments on his credit card due to the pandemic.
  • The agent tells him that they are having difficulty locating the account, even after Seth gave his social security number.
  • Seth insists that this is the bank on his statement.
  • Your agent puts Seth on hold several times while he tries to get answers from his managers.
  • After a lot of back and forth, the agent finally contacts a manager who explains that Seth’s credit card is with another branch of the organization and to give him a different number to call. 
  • Seth hangs up feeling like he just wasted a whole lot of time when the solution was as simple as a different phone number.

What happened? Your agent was brand new, having started the week before. He didn’t have the same training that the rest of your CX team had because he started while everyone was still working from home. He didn’t know that different branches didn’t have access to each other’s customers, and he also didn’t know to send Seth elsewhere. Not until half an hour had elapsed, anyway. 

In this situation, the non-controllables were:

  • the agent was new and didn’t know the process 
  • lack of training

In this scenario, we can see how both Seth’s and the agent’s experiences were negatively impacted by things that were outside of the agent’s control. What if there was a way to rectify this in real-time? 

Regaining Control of the Customer Experience

When asked about agent non-controllables, Jesse Holcomb, our Client Success Manager says, “diagnosing non-controllables and addressing them starts with segmentation…being able to look at your CSAT and break it down by tags or category so you can start getting more granular.”

Michael likes to break it down by cause and process:

Cause Process
  • Agent not having enough knowledge
  • Policy is bad
  • Accuracy
  • Hierarchy of process
  • Orientation of product

When Williams-Sonoma partnered with Stella Connect to measure NPS—and drive improvements through real-time customer feedback and coaching for CX team members available through Stella Connect’s technology, the company managed to boost its NPS rating by 50%.

Being able to segment data not only helps compartmentalize where the organizational process can improve, but it also helps to see where more training is needed in the agent journey, like our agent in the Seth scenario.

How CSAT Can Help Your Agents Grow

We all know that the key to great customer service starts with the agent on the other end of the phone. A lot of the time, however, it’s almost impossible to adjust or improve agent experience and strategies without manual labor involved like sifting through endless comments. This can not only be time-consuming, but also frustrating. 

What if agents could get real-time feedback on where they are veering off course, or real-time coaching to help them improve the experience they’re providing? It would be the difference between a low CSAT score and a great one. Using an employee engagement platform like Stella Connect helps bridge the gap between customer wants and the agent’s abilities to provide.

Looking for more insight on how to measure and improve your customer satisfaction metrics? Download our guide, An Introduction to Customer Satisfaction Metrics, for actionable ways to optimize the metrics that matter.

When talking about Stella Connect’s platform, Michael says “…[Stella] allows you to drill into what did or didn’t make this such a great experience and allows you to capture, in real-time, even simple things like where you can improve, which is the most critical piece of the survey itself,” he goes on to say “One of the things that I love about Stella is that it personalizes the agent.”

Personalizing the agent is something that all customers are looking for when they dial your call-center. They want empathy and answers, and it’s up to the agent to provide that. 

Position Your Team for Success

Improve your customer satisfaction scores by getting to the root of agent non-controllables and addressing them.

By segmenting your data, strategizing service entry points, and investing in AI to limit the stress on your organization, you can preemptively solve for these issues and help take your team from good to great.

Want to catch up on the conversation and get even more insight from Michael and Jesse? Check out the full recording of the webinar session here.

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