Frontline employees

Metrics, metrics, metrics. It’s common for frontline employees like contact center agents to be inundated with them—schedule adherence, efficiency, handle time, and hopefully, amid all of that and more, customer experience (CX) metrics. Ostensibly, the goal with this information is to give contact center agents the guidance needed to create Experience Improvement (XI) for customers, but do they have the time and wherewithal to actually sort through comments and data? Should that even BE an organizational expectation?

Having plenty of data and feedback is certainly important, but inundating your contact center agents with it won’t make them better at their jobs. Today’s conversation briefly covers how to actually leverage data by being tactical and thoughtful with what you share with your frontline employees. We’ll also discuss how best to use data to recognize employees for excelling at the executing moments that matter to customers. Let’s get started!

Sharing What Matters with Frontline Employees

There’s no one specific type of information, insight, or data that supports frontline employees across all industries, but there are several high-level principles that brands can bear in mind when determining what those employees need to know. The first north star to aim for with sharing insights to frontline employees is to consider which of those insights will make your employees not just efficient, but actually better at their jobs and at creating Experience Improvement.

Organizations that make compliance and efficiency the high water mark for contact center excellence will not see remarkable agent performance, let alone the Experience Improvement that you need to acquire and retain customers. Finding the insights, data, and comments that will make employees better at their jobs begins with using an Experience Improvement platform to ingest data (especially customer comments) for actionable insights. Many brands end up wasting time by either trying to manually mine insights out of data mountains, or by gathering metrics and then quitting at that point because they think numbers alone can drive success.

The platform approach can help you avoid both of these pitfalls and make the most of all your data—both qualitative and quantitative. Finding relevant and actionable insights in your data will motivate your employees to act upon Experience Improvement opportunities. Enacting this approach will also enable your frontline employees to provide a far superior experience to customers. This strengthens brand connection and creates a customer-centric culture.

The Next Step

Giving your employees the tools to create Experience Improvement is one thing—demonstrating your appreciation for them successfully doing so is another. All of us—frontline agents, supervisors, and business leaders—can take advantage of data and insights that allow us to simply “be better.” However, there’s one more step on that road that is specifically applicable to driving to top-level frontline work: recognition. 

This is another area in which brands and experience program vendors underutilize  data, unstructured and otherwise. Data is great for strengthening experiences and the bottom line, but with the right plan and structure, it can drive another factor just as if not more fundamental: an employee-centric culture.

Many brands use data to measure employee performance as a matter of course, but  tracking something only accomplishes so much. Brands need to go beyond tracking—they must use data to celebrate success, continually create a positive culture, and recognize a job well done.

This is a fundamental component of being human in all of your experiences, and employees who feel both recognized and a part of the company’s success will be all the more effective in their roles. That is the heart of Experience Improvement, creating a customer-centric and employee-centric workplace, and identifying the moments that matter.

The Frontline Insights Universe

While we’ve covered a lot of ground in discussing how to improve and recognize frontline employee performance, there’s a lot more you can find by checking out my full-length point of view article here. I take a deeper dive into communicating insights to frontline employees, as well as additional strategies you can use to improve experiences for customers, employees, and your wider organization!

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The Case for Moving Your Experience Program Beyond Metrics

Experience programs can revolve around so much more than scoreboard-watching and reacting to challenges only as they arise—we’re going to go over how much more these programs can be and why brands should adjust their ambitions accordingly.

For a lot of companies, the phrase “experience programs” brings careful management and lots of metrics to mind. Both of those things are important components of any experience effort, but they can’t bring about meaningful change and improvement. Experience programs can revolve around so much more than scoreboard-watching and reacting to challenges only as they arise—we’re going to go over how much more these programs can be and why brands should adjust their ambitions accordingly.

Movement Over Metrics

Conventional wisdom holds that if an experience program is returning great measurements, that must mean it’s really working for a brand. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Metrics are effective for highlighting a brand’s high points and weak spots, but that’s about it. A true experience program’s job doesn’t end with better metrics—that’s actually where the work begins.

Companies can create a fundamentally better experience for their customers (and thus a stronger bottom line for themselves) by taking action on their program’s findings. This means sharing intelligence throughout an organization rather than leaving it siloed, as well as encouraging all stakeholders to own their part of the process. In short, taking action is what makes the difference between being really good at watching scores roll in and actually fixing problems that might be muddying up the customer journey.

Narratives Over Numbers

The phrase “program findings” from the preceding paragraph can also mean more than just numbers. It can also denote customer stories, employee reports, and other, more abstract forms of feedback. Many experience programs pick this information up as a matter of course, but it can be difficult to take action on that intel without a concrete action plan.

One reason why many companies encounter this difficulty is because their programs don’t acknowledge a simple truth: some customer segments are worth more to listen to than others. It doesn’t make much sense to try to listen to every segment for feedback on a loyalty program that only long-term customers use or know about. This is why it’s important for brands to consider which audiences they want to gather feedback from before even turning any listening posts on.

Once brands have matched the audiences they want to listen to to the goals they want to achieve, that’s when they can turn their ears on and start gathering that feedback. Companies that take this approach will find feedback significantly more relevant (and helpful) than intelligence gathered through a more catchall approach. They can then perform a key driver analysis on those customers and put their feedback against a backdrop of operational and financial data for further context, which goes a long way toward the goal of all of this: meaningful improvement.

Experience Improvement Over Experience Management

Experience improvement is not a goal that can be reached just by reading metrics. It demands more than turning listening posts on and hoping that a good piece of customer intel comes down the wire. Rather, experience improvement demands action. Much like water molecules, the forces that drive customer expectations, acquisition, churn, and other factors are in constant motion, and thus demand constant action to stay on top of it all.

Desiloing intelligence, motivating stakeholders, and expanding program awareness to customer stories instead of just higher scores and stats is what makes the difference between an industry-leading experience and everyone else’s. These actions create better experiences for customers, compel employees to become more invested in providing those experiences, and creates a marketplace-changing impact for the brand.

Click here to learn more about how to take your program from simple metric-watching to meaningful improvement for all.

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