• March 17, 2022
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

CX Connect Speaker Identifies the Five Customer Experience Traps That Derail Company Growth

Customer experience today is a real differentiator for companies and has a real ability to drive corporate profits, but still far too many companies aren’t giving it the attention it deserves, a Zendesk executive told attendees during the afternoon session of CX Connect Wednesday.

“Companies can use customer service as a game changer for the business. It should be a competitive advantage and something to celebrate,” said Josh Bean, director of product marketing at Zendesk.

Done right, it can be a real “profit-generating source,” he said.

But unfortunately, many companies are falling into some or all of what Bean outlined as the five CX traps that deprive companies of growth.

Trap 1:  Customer service is not about ‘wowing’ the customer.

The problem occurs when the goals of the business and the goals of the customer are not in synch, according to Bean.

The key to overcoming it, he said, is to make customer service easier, which can be done with more accessible channels, more intuitive self-service, and better-trained agents.

Trap 2: Leadership talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk.

While 72 percent of executives say their companies view CX as important to the business, only 40 percent report that CX initiatives are overseen at the c-suite level, and even fewer executives actually look at CX metrics with any regularity, according to Zendesk research.

Additionally, CX metrics are seldom tied to compensation, the data further showed.

Executives at high-performing companies, on the other hand, view CX metrics, immerse themselves in CX projects, take ownership of CX, have a three-year strategic CX plan, tie compensation to CX metrics like customer satisfaction or net promoter scores, and make sure they create a clear CX story and push it throughout the company, Bean said. 

Trap 3: CX is seen as a cost center.

Because companies don’t view the revenue-generating potential of the contact center, thes under-fund it, according to Bean.

Conversely, at high-performing companies, executive view the contact center as a revenue driver, track profit and loss for the department, provide funding that keeps pace with growth, and have plans to increase their CX investment by 25 percent or more, according to Bean.

At these companies, CX has a positive impact on growth, customer retention, and cross-sell and upsell revenue, so Bean recommends that companies train and empower agents to upsell and cross-sell and provide recommendations to customers during interactions. 

Trap 4: Agents feel undervalued and overworked.

Agents are feeling burned out, especially as the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on them, Bean said.

At many companies in Zendesk’s research, CX teams feel that they are not treated as well as other departments and do not believe they have received an adequate amount of training, particularly as it relates to upselling and cross-selling, solving very specialized problems, and serving customers on multiple channels.

This has a negative effect far beyond the contact center, according to Bean. “Unhappy agents are a slippery slope to higher churn rates and dissatisfaction among customers,” he said.

But, at high-performing companies, agents are of the highest caliber, receive extensive training, and are more properly compensated for the amount of work that they do.

Happier agents starts with listening to agents, making their workloads more manageable, and using better performance metrics, Bean said.

Trap 5: Disjointed systems confuse customers and employees.

To combat this, Bean suggested that companies make sure they are capturing data from all interaction channels; allowing customers to start and stop conversations and pick up where they left off; using chatbots to offload simple requests; retuning their metrics around CX outcomes; giving agents access to customer data during interactions; and verifying customer identities and purchase histories before connecting the interaction to agents.

Of all the findings in Zendesk’s research, Bean said he was most surprised by the lack of commitment to CX by executives at many companies. But, at the same time, he was also glad to see that companies are finally starting to see the value in CX and giving CX leaders a seat at the table.

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