According to research by Gartner, companies focusing on a total experience (TX) strategy will beat their competition by as much as 25% in terms of satisfaction. Both for customers and employees.
In a tough economic climate, this could be the make or break for businesses regarding talent and customer attraction and retention.
What is TX?
A TX strategy combines four key disciplines — multi, user, customer, and employee — to create a superior overall experience.
- Multiexperience (MX) focuses on the channels and platforms used for communication, such as email or webchat.
- User experience (UX) explores the user journey, how hard it is for them to find a particular piece of information or tool, and any areas of friction.
- Lastly are the customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Both the CX and EX are focused on wants, needs, and expectations, but within slightly different contexts.
These elements have often been considered individually within departments. It might be up to the IT department to focus on website UX, for example, and CX-related targets might be left to more customer-facing employees, such as those in sales. But a TX strategy recognizes that these elements are dependent on one another.
If the customer is frustrated that they can’t find a solution to their problem on a company website, this is both a CX and a UX problem. If they end up calling the phone line for help, then EX comes into play. And if voice calling isn’t the customer’s preferred channel for communication, then MX also becomes a consideration.
Many of these somewhat smaller issues become more significant when multiplied across larger groups of people. With around one in three U.S. consumers saying they’ll walk away from a brand after a single negative experience, it’s clear that customer service must be a huge focus.
A TX strategy combines four key disciplines — multi, user, customer, and employee...
Poor CX also impacts the company’s wider reputation as a brand. Not only does this make the company less attractive to new business it also makes it difficult to recruit and retain new talent. Shrinking the potential hiring pool makes it harder for contact center leaders to maintain staffing levels, which can cause overburdened workers to leave.
Without replacement staff, this becomes a vicious cycle. One that risks damaging the CX, driving away customers and revenues through long hold and response times and poor service from less qualified agents by having to lower recruiting standards. One that could significantly drive up employment costs in order to attract and keep quality staff.
Ultimately, adoption of a TX strategy is about interlinking the four crucial elements — CX, MX, EX, and UX — to prevent this from happening, by providing a superior experience for everyone.
Overcoming Contact Center Challenges
A 2022 report published by Replicant found that high or increasing costs are the biggest challenge faced by contact center leaders, with more than half of respondents citing this as an issue.
Hiring enough agents, high turnover, and difficulty handling call volume spikes were cited as the next top challenges.
So, how can opting for a TX strategy help contact center leaders overcome them?
Making a contact center more efficient starts with reducing demand. This can be done by giving customers more opportunities to resolve simple queries alone.
For example, a customer filling out an insurance form online might have a question about a particular part of the form. Providing more information on the site at each section of the form can save both the customer and the employee a call.
This information needs to be somewhere easy for customers to find and view: a UX consideration. A common solution is to have icons that display additional information when you hover over them with your cursor. This works fine on desktops, but alternatives may need to be provided for mobile users or those who use screen readers.
Making the most of artificial intelligence (AI) tools, such as chatbots, can also help reduce the demand on agents, providing near-instant responses to simple customer questions. Chatbots also act as an additional channel, giving customers more choice in the way they communicate, and further improving their experience.
If customers have a more complicated issue they need to speak to customer service for, the customer service rep can now take their time with the customer. Without the pressure of handling X number of calls per day, employees can focus on providing the best service possible, improving both CX and EX.
This example illustrates how applying a TX approach to a single interaction can help in providing a better experience for both the customer and employee. But with so many factors to consider, it can be hard for businesses to identify where to begin with creating and implementing their own TX strategy.
Building and Implementing TX Strategies
Exploring the customer and employee journeys can be a good place to start.
- What are the current pain points and areas of friction?
- Could simple, repetitive queries be answered faster using AI? Or, on the flip side, are customers frequently getting stuck on chatbots that can’t provide them with answers?
Considering all aspects from the user’s perspective is key to building a successful TX strategy.
When it comes to implementation, technology plays a crucial role. The tools needed for TX strategies must meet a whole host of different requirements, which will look different for each business.
Social media, webchat, and email are all valid methods of contact. But for most contact centers, voice calls make up most external communications. Therefore, to take CX and EX up to the next level, contact centers need more than just an average call system.
This is where cloud-based voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) platforms come into play. VoIP technology uses digital lines rather than traditional landline connections to facilitate two-way communication.
Being internet-based, VoIP platforms offer a range of benefits over conventional phone systems.
The first is cost. The lack of physical hardware and maintenance with cloud-based phone systems often represents a substantial cost saving.
This also applies to installing new lines, which can be done at the click of a button. Upgrades no longer require a dedicated service team to spend a day at the offices replacing equipment and network infrastructure. Instead, upgrades can be easily managed online, allowing centers to access and download the latest features instantly.
Second, the digital nature of VoIP systems can also help to facilitate hybrid working. And with Americans now working from home more than 25% of the time, according to a March 30, 2023 New York Times article, it’s clear that the trend is here to stay.
Third, VoIP platforms can be accessed via any internet-connected device, including smartphones and laptops. Which means that employees are no longer tied to their desks.
Fourth, such cloud-based phone systems can also offer more in-depth statistics, enabling contact center leaders to monitor call activity in detail.
The result of implementing the right technology is an empowered workforce...
Tracking metrics such as wait time, average call length, and pick-up rate throughout the week can help to identify spikes in demand. This enables leaders to prepare and adjust for surges, maintaining customer service levels without putting additional strain on employees.
More sophisticated VoIP platforms can integrate with existing CRM and other software, ensuring that all relevant data is available in one place. This integration means that when a call is picked up by a handler, all the information the company has about the customer or query at hand can be immediately displayed on-screen for the agent.
This way, the operator can quickly understand the customer’s reason for calling, and what actions the customer has already taken. In the previous example of a customer seeking help while filling out a form online, such an approach helps prevent customer frustration from having to explain their situation multiple times or to different agents.
All this is achieved within a simple, easy-to-use interface. A world away from clunky old phones and long extension lists, cloud-based phone systems offer a friendly, digital user interface for ease of use.
The result of implementing the right technology is an empowered workforce, with the tools and data available to do their job well.
Better communication creates more harmony within the company, driving employees to offer a better service to their customers. In turn, this generates greater customer loyalty, boosting the business’s overall reputation and keeping it a step ahead of its competition.
Contact centers continue to face a multitude of challenges. But adopting a TX strategy could be the key to unlocking better and more inclusive experiences for everyone involved with the business.
With the right technology, contact centers can elevate their offerings to the next level, making their business one that both customers and employees are drawn to. Which could help grow revenues while lowering costs, thereby enhancing their businesses’ bottom lines.