3 Takeaways from the UK Customer Satisfaction Index
The Institute of Customer Service produces an annual review of customer satisfaction in the UK. This hugely respected publication covers all sectors, from retail and eCommerce through to travel, banking and utilities, and identifies key trends and topics in UK customer service performance. As an outsourced contact centre provider, exclusively operating in eCommerce and Retail customer service management, the UK CSI is of particular interest. Here are three takeaways we found particularly enlightening:
1. Young customers deliver a mixed bag of customer satisfaction results
Whilst older customers tend to have a higher level of customer satisfaction than their younger counterparts, there are areas where the younger generation are more satisfied. For example, younger customers tend to give particularly low scores for web-based customer service interactions, helpfulness of the staff and staff competence, however in contrast they score much higher for complaint handling and resolution.
On the contrary, the older generation score complaint handling much lower. This all points to further research which suggests that millennials, in particular, want to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with brands through personalisation and by having brands better understand their needs. When millennials do complain they expect the customer service team to go further and use a proactive approach to solve their problem – even if this means that the call/email/chat handling time takes longer.
In Summary: Millennials want brands to understand their customer service needs, and offer a proactive help service.
2. Boosting Employee engagement in customer service teams boosts customer satisfaction
The ICS report shows that a 1 point increase in employee engagement is likely to deliver a 0.41 point increase in customer satisfaction. So how can contact centre or customer service directors increase employee engagement levels in their teams? At Whistl our bureau contact centre team have an average tenure of over 9 years, so here are 3 tips from our contact centre manager, Trevor Flack:
3. Variety really is the spice of life
One of the reasons we’ve developed a loyal and deeply engaged contact centre team is through variety. At Whistl we manage the customer services for multiple brands and retailers and are challenged with multiple query types on an hourly basis. Our agents really do enjoy representing a variety of clients and serving multiple customer groups, and this variety really has helped us to maintain an incredibly stable and engaged workforce.
Whilst an in-house customer service team can’t quite replicate the multi-brand variety we see, there are ways to offer in house agents a similar level of variety. For example, you could rotate agents across channels, allowing a voice call specialist to manage email or webchat channels for a period of time and vice-versa. We find regular rotation works best. Another option is to rotate agents across service functions, such as handling returns, helping with product support, or managing complaint handling. By allowing agents to handle multiple types of enquiries, they will get a better feel for the overall customer journey, and be better positioned to manage customer queries before they reach a compliant or manager escalation point.
Give agents the opportunity to give regular feedback on the customer experience
Giving agents the ability to feedback on their own ideas and suggestions is one of the simplest ways to boost employee engagement. Not only does it cultivate a culture of ownership and commitment, but it also helps develop an ongoing culture of continuous improvement and innovation in customer service.
Any customer service department must have a process that allows agents to suggest ideas and be offered feedback on their idea – even if that idea is not practical. It is also important to educate the agent as to why their idea is not feasible, which will help guide their future thoughts and suggestions.
Measure employee engagement regularly.
Many organisations continue to rely on a once annual employ survey in order to gauge employee engagement. Here at Whistl, we were the first contact centre operator to adopt Hive.hr, a cloud-based employee engagement platform that allows businesses to collect and measure weekly employee feedback in a completely anonymous fashion. Having access to weekly engagement data means we can be much more agile and proactive when it comes to maintaining or improving engagement across our business. The scoring and reporting ability allows us to better understand key trends and quickly address any areas which may show concern.
3. A fast, efficient service is not necessarily the winning formula
You might think that speed is of the essence when it comes to customer service. And whilst speed is important, it appears that speed is not always the most important factor in customer satisfaction scores.
The UK CSI asked customers to select their preference on a sliding scale of preference, from “a fast, efficient service” through to “proactive advice, even if this takes longer”.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of customers preferred a blend of both (40%), however, where customer expressed a choice of fast service, and slower, proactive help, the proactivity was most popular. This backs up a long-held belief within our own contact centre, that customers are relatively happy to wait to have their issue dealt with, as long as they know that when they do speak to an agent, their query is resolved the first time, and professionally.
Of course, this only happens where a brand is focused on first-time resolution, which builds customer confidence in the brand, and that of its customer service operation.
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