Customer Interaction Scorecard: 11 Signs of Success or Failure



Brian Cantor
11/10/2015

At the end of the day, the success of a support interaction hinges on the answer to a simple question: did you satisfy the customer?

That answer to that simple question, however, is the product of an extensive array of moving parts. From the genesis of an interaction until the moment the brand and customer bid farewell, ample opportunity exists to boost – or reduce – the customer’s satisfaction.

To identify those checkpoints, Call Center IQ is happy to share a customer interaction scorecard. Comprised of questions, the scorecard allows your brand to assess whether it is progressing or regressing in its attempt to reach the destination of satisfaction.

Genesis of the Interaction:
Who identified the problem? Did your brand leverage its wealth of product knowledge and voice of the customer insights to proactively identify a potential issue? Or, did the customer independently recognize a problem?

Who initiated the discussion? Once the issue had been identified, did you proactively contact the customer? Or, did the customer bring the issue to you?

Best Answer: For customer-centric organizations, the process should be as close to proactive as possible. The moment a customer identifies a problem is the moment his satisfaction level comes under fire. Asking him to initiate the solution process will only compound the frustration.

Location of the Interaction:

Did the customer choose the location of the interaction?

If yes, did he have a great number of options for potential interactions?

If no, did the business provide a compelling reason—implicitly or explicitly--for imposing a channel selection?

Best Answer: In an omni-channel world, the best answer is that you honored the customer’s ideal preference.

If you opted to reject the customer’s preference, you must either have a compliance or pro-customer motivation for doing so. Customers can understand a legal restriction to communicating in a certain channel, and they will appreciate right-channeling that results in a more efficient or effective experience.

What they will not accept is being forced into an unwanted channel because it served the business’ more immediate needs.

Issue Awareness:

Were you aware of the issue prior to the interaction? What about at the onset of the interaction? Are you clear on the best possible solution?

Best Answer: Knowledge of the problem comes with pros and cons. On the one hand, there should be no such thing as a recurring issue in the "age of the empowered customer." If your business notices a common problem, it should quickly establish a permanent solution.

On the other hand, familiarity with an issue allows your organization to more accurately and more efficiently provide a resolution. While the mere idea of a customer support interaction represents a negative, the harm can be greatly mitigated by expertly managing the interaction.

Ultimately, it is better to be aware than unaware. Too much awareness, however, suggests indifference.

Customer Awareness:

Did you know the customer’s identity at the moment the interaction began? What about at the moment he first encountered a live agent?

Did you know and understand the customer’s issue at the moment the interaction began? What about the moment he first encountered a live agent?

Could you connect the customer’s issue to his history of interactions with the business at the moment the interaction began? What about the moment he first encountered a live agent?

Best Answer: Ideally, you want your answer to be affirmative as possible. Knowing the customer – and doing so early – demonstrates appreciation. It also allows for a more accurate, more efficient, more effortless interaction. Collectively, the scenarios produce more satisfaction.

Tone:

Did your agent warmly greet the customer at the beginning of the call? Did your agent apologize when required by context, even if your business was not actually to blame? Did your agent express enthusiasm about the opportunity to find a resolution?

Best Answer: Yes to all. If there is ever a scenario to pretend the customer is always right, it is on the matter of tone. The agent should always communicate that he is working –and excitedly so – the customer.

Contact center interactions are not necessarily easy. Your agent may face issues precisely understanding the customer’s issue or precisely identifying the right solution. Do not add difficulty by disputing or dismissing the customer’s thoughts and feelings.

Transfer Rate:

Did you transfer the customer? More than once? If so, did you have a valid, pro-customer reason for doing so? Did the transfer bring the customer closer to a resolution?

Best Answer: In order to maintain personal connections between agents and customers, your business should minimize call transfers.

The transfers that do occur must be rooted in legitimate customer need. Disinterest in dealing with rude customers or desire to maintain low average handle times do not count as legitimate customer needs.

If the organization is truly customer-centric, it doubtfully has many legitimate reasons for a transfer. All agents in such organizations are familiar with the products, capable of connecting with a diverse array of customers, and empowered to offer relevant resolutions. Rarely should such agents need to transfer a call.

Use of "No":

How many times did your agent say "no" during the interaction?

Best Answer: Unless the customer asked a question like, "Do you hate customers," the answer should be zero. The purpose of the interaction is to bring a customer closer to resolution. It is not to enforce the unsatisfactory status quo.

Issue Investigation:

Did you truly listen to the customer? Did you correctly understand his issue, his feelings, and his preferred resolution?

Best Answer: Your answer should be of the resoundingly affirmative variety. While it is acceptable to incorporate product knowledge, insight from previous interactions, and knowledge bases into the resolution process, you must never lose sight of the individual customer and his individual concerns. The tone of your interaction, the length of your conversation, and the nature of your resolution should be rooted in what the customer actually needs and wants rather than in what the book or policy says to offer.

Relevance of Resolution:

How did you arrive at the selected resolution? Why do you feel the resolution is the appropriate fit?

Best Answer: It is important to personalize the listening and investigation processes. It is even more pivotal to personalize the resolution. When justifying a selected resolution, your answer should never involve words like "policy" or "standard." It should always be connected to the customer’s specific issue and feelings about that issue.

Quality of Resolution:

How do you know the matter is truly resolved?

Best Answer: The customer is content with the outcome. Far too many businesses make their own decisions about resolution quality, and the customer experience consequently suffers. A business may have applied a personalized, level-headed, objective approach to the interaction, but if the outcome does not meet the customer’s approval, it is not the correct outcome.

Good Goodbye:

Why did the interaction end? How did the interaction end? How will the relationship progress?

Best Answer: Once again, the ball is in the customer’s court. An interaction – positive or negative – ends at a moment deemed appropriate by the customer. If the customer communicates his gratitude and happiness with the outcome, it is safe to bring the interaction to an end. If the customer identifies an impasse as insurmountable, he can choose to withdraw from the interaction. And he will not be "wrong," "rude" or "difficult" for holding that against the business.

The business and its agents must take cues from the customer. They may have followed the proper protocol, but if the resolution they provided has not earned the customer’s approval, the call cannot end. They may feel the customer is being rude and disrespectful, but if they have not worked to reverse the customer’s ill-sentiment and win back his satisfaction, the call should not end.

Moving forward, the business should use the conversation as a springboard to further the relationship. It should use the knowledge it gained from the interaction – both about the customer and about the specific product or servicing issue – to improve future experiences and improve its rapport with the existing customer. It should gauge the customer’s needs to identify opportunities for proactive engagement and chances to introduce upsell and cross-sell offers.

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