As a third-party service provider in the investments industry,
U.S. Bancorp Fund Services relies on its call center agents to deliver a positive customer experience to its clients and shareholders. The company had found that its biggest service challenges had revolved for five straight years around one theme: customer experience.
To combat this challenge, U.S. Bancorp implemented a Customer Experience (CX) initiative that included an increased focus on performance transparency, coaching effectiveness and employee engagement. The bank made interactions more personalized by learning customers' stories and tailoring a response accordingly. This required the definition and coaching of tangible agent behaviors, inspiring them to go above and beyond expectations. U.S. Bancorp also shifted its focus from quality alone to include efficiency that impacts the customer experience.
turned to NICE Performance Management (NPM) to track the progress and success of the initiative. NPM gave agents visibility into their own performance and helped inform and enrich the scorecards used by managers. NPM also enabled contact center leaders to target coaching with greater precision, consistency and follow-through.
By aligning call center performance and coaching processes with its customers' basic needs, NPM enabled U.S. Bancorp to elevate the level of service provided by its agents. It realized a more than 450 percent increase in the agent behaviors that create positive customer experiences, reduced after call work (ACW) by 30 percent and achieved first call resolution of more than 98 percent.
Understanding how performance management drives customer experience
Management literature often presents profit as the one-step goal of performance management, but performance management is actually a process of clarifying goals, uncovering opportunities and
effecting measurable performance improvements – a process that also results in increased profits. 2
In the customer service industry, those enterprise-level goals translate into key performance indicators (KPIs) that reflect customer experience and satisfaction. Therefore, true success requires an understanding of customer needs and wants and the ability to react accordingly. Customers play an essential mediating role in the link between the call center operations and long-term profit for the organization. As one coaching veteran has noted, "When you're coaching to what the customer wants, then suddenly you start seeing your net promoter score go up as well."3 A performance management system can be utilized to address most common call center customer service complaints, including long wait times, uninformed agents and frequent transfers.
Fueling a performance improvement plan with customer research
To make SMART goals and align performance management results with desired business outcomes, businesses need to learn more about their customers.
4 Research, surveys and Voice of the Customer (VOC) programs can be used to define the appropriate KPIs, inform agents and improve customer service, which in turn elevates the bottom line.
For instance, EE Limited, a UK telecom company (originally established as a merger between T-Mobile and Orange), employs a performance management system to collect information and survey responses directly from customers. The company uses this data to develop a performance management feedback strategy. It issues agent scorecards that include efficiency and effectiveness measures plus the most important feedback: the customer 'verbatim'. The results? After the program's initial release, EE realized a 27-point increase in its Net Promoter Score (NPS).5 Thus, informed research ensures that performance management indicators and strategies are aligned with customer needs, positively impacting long-term profits.
Customer experience is the road to success, and performance management illuminates the way
Assessing customer experience is hard. Assessing it remotely, from a call center, is even harder. It's easy to get bogged down in stats and scores, but managers and supervisors committed to performance improvement need to keep the customer in mind at all times. U.S. Bancorp didn't know what mistakes it was making until the company researched the trends and needs of their customers. The bank learned that data is most powerful when it answers the essential questions and when agents remember where it comes from and why they're using it. A positive customer experience is the one and only road to long-term success – and the journey is a lot easier if you can see the path using performance management tools.
"U.S. Bancorp Case Study"