Recently, our team had the honor and privilege to host our esteemed Customer Advisory Board for a lively discussion. It was an interactive and engaging afternoon, during which we presented on upcoming platform functionalities, and collaborated and shared feedback on future product offerings. The virtual event welcomed executives comprising 12 Fortune 500 companies, a Forrester-led presentation, and discussions with our executive leadership and product management teams.
As a CX leader deeply involved in shaping the customer journey throughout my career, I’ve found – perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly – that speaking with customers is one of the best ways to understand their needs, hopes and expectations. Today, many leaders have thoughts and questions that keep them up at night. Organizations must find their path forward to overcome the growing challenge of much of the workforce remaining remote. How do we coach employees in real-time and post-facto to improve performance based on real data? How can we achieve consistent performance levels with our teams, no matter their physical locations? How can we meet customers where they are? And how can we keep our employees engaged and content? But it isn’t just speaking with customers that I’ve found helpful. Asking questions and taking action based on the feedback is where the real magic happens. Our CAB Event allowed Cogito to do just that.
Here are several prevalent themes that much of our CAB discussions focused around.
You can’t win the customer if you don’t win the employees.
In an industry infamous for high turnover rates, the call center’s transition to remote work at the onset of the pandemic was wrought with more challenges than your typical business office. Call center agents face immense performance pressures, cognitive overload, burnout—you name it. And it isn’t surprising when you consider that customers are 11 times more likely to complain by phone than via online services.
Helping employees handle emotionally taxing customer interactions in and out of the office is a non-negotiable in today’s working world. We polled the CAB attendees to learn how they support employees to enhance their quality of life and avoid burnout. Nearly all executives have implemented wellness programs (85%) and more training (54%) to ensure frontline agents and supervisors are equipped and confident in their roles. Companies have placed a greater focus on DE&I to create an open and safe environment for all employees, and many have evaluated how to make working from home a long-term strategy rather than a quick fix solution.
What was clear across the entire CAB event was the deep thought that has gone into bettering the employee experience and the significant role it plays in CX. Ensuring the employee experience is positive must be part of your larger CX strategy.
Meet customers where they are, or your competition will.
CX success, and the brand loyalty that results from it, requires genuine human connections. If today’s customers don’t feel like they are receiving personalized, empathic service from agents, they will take their business elsewhere. Equally important, however, is meeting customers where they are.
We live in a digital-first, always-on world, and customers have radically changed expectations. Organizations must have many ways for customers to reach them via virtual and traditional channels. The solution is not to dismiss one medium for another. Generationally, for example, Baby Boomers may be more inclined to pick up the phone, whereas Gen Z might leverage SMS Texting or self-service options for certain situations. These differences in channel preferences must be considered and catered to given how quickly customers can change behavior and expectations. It is also critical to ensure that the customer journey represents an unified and cohesive experience as customers interact with these different channels and expect a seamless and context rich transition from one to another.
Leading organizations must adapt to serve customers better today, creating deeply human connections along the way. I felt energized by Cogito’s customers and our event attendees who clearly understand that notion. In 2022, I expect to see more customer-facing organizations drive the adoption of technology systems like Cogito’s AI Coach, and lean more into the changing ways to manage remote and hybrid teams at scale.