Want Better Customer Service? Here's How You Should Look at ROI and Metrics!

Here are three quotes from Linnea Johnson, Unilever’s director of consumer services. Which doesn’t belong?

a. "If you don’t like to have measurements, and you don’t like people watching what you’re doing, you don’t want to be in a contact center—we measure everything."

b. "You want to look at what happens to your average handle time—did it improve or not? Clearly, if you put in a better knowledge management system and your average handle time comes down, you can see a clear ROI."

c. "Our actual average handle time is higher than it was five years ago."

Answer: none of the above.

How is that possible?

While Johnson’s philosophy towards call center performance benchmarks would suggest that quote "c" is indicative of failure at Unilever, the executive reveals in this exclusive CustomerManagementIQ.com video interview that her organization sees the increase in average handle time for live reps as a sign that its strategies for automation, self-service and multi-channel customer contact have been successful at resolving trivial issues.

"The easy stuff is being taken care of 24-7 in self-service, so the more difficult items are being left to our representatives," explains Johnson. "[Call center reps are now dealing] more [with] the issues with the products, so we want to dig a little bit further. We’re getting more critical information, feeding it back to the constituencies within Unilever—supply chain, quality and R&D."

And Johnson’s evidence of success is not one-dimensional—their self-service tools and use of technology like IVR are exceeding expectations in their own rights. Unilever’s online self-service platform resolves 96-97% of customer issues, while a self-contained IVR interaction will be resolved about 30% of the time, a figure Unilever feels is at or above the industry standard.

Pivotal to Unilever’s ability to excel across channels, which includes directing customer contact to the most effective medium, comes from its approach to ROI. Not content being just a cost center, the company holds itself accountable for implementing those practices and technologies that generate real value.

How does Unilever do this? Linnea Johnson shares her insights in this exclusive video.

And if you want to know how award-winning powerhouses like Capital One and General Electric are achieving call center excellence from the intersection of technology, people management and multi-channel interaction, check out the International Contact Center Summit!