April 4, 2017

Why frontline employees are the most important factor in your CX equation


Artificial intelligence has long been a threat of customer-centric organizations. The contact centre industry has seen the ebbs and flows of outsourcing various functions to bots, IVRs and auto-response communication.

The newest AI trend is Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs), networking systems modeled after the actual behavior of human brains. These self-learning, sophisticated data gathering tools are capable of linking information, systems, and interactions to make conclusions and behavior-based decisions.

While this sounds like a huge benefit to service-focused companies, it comes with its risks. Infusing too much AI into your service practices can easily result in a loss of human touch. Because, as AI suggests, these interactions and decisions are in fact artificial. Regardless of how far we’ve come technologically, and how comfortable humans are engaging with lifeless forms to get what they need, when it comes to service, humans are irreplaceable.

Some companies are beginning to use ANNs to make critical business decisions that directly impact their customers. In order to do this, they bypass the most important information-gathering source possible – frontline employees.

Frontline employees actually hold the key to your customer experience – and are the best tools when it comes to making improvements. If you rely only on ANNs and other AI methods to improve your CX, you’ll miss fundamental feedback that is imperative to satisfying your customers.

For proof of what listening to the frontline means to your business, check out these examples:

Banking – An international bank was in the process of redesigning its mortgages. To make sure they were aligning the product with customers’ needs, a group of call centre agents were gathered, without their supervisors, to identify problems that existed in the mortgage process. Within 30 minutes they identified the top 10 issues faced by customers. A team of data analysts spent the following six weeks analyzing customer and operations data to conclude the agents were 80% correct.

Wireless carrier – A telecom company wanted to reduce the number of times customers needed to contact them. To achieve this, they planned to listen to customers and frontline agents to fix what they claimed was broken. They ended up resolving 81% of issues highlighted by frontline employees, therefore reducing customer propensity to call by 88% in the span of two years. Their efforts also helped increase their Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Employee NPS by 21 and 57 respectively over the same two-year period.

Web Conferencing Provider – By conducting interviews with customers, suppliers, resellers, partners and employees to establish what was wrong with their NPS, this video, audio and web conferencing solution provider was able to transform their NPS from an abysmal -4 to +80 in just under two years.

These examples clearly show that if companies are willing to access, listen to, and act on the insight and intelligence that’s directly in front of them from their frontline employees, they can achieve significant improvements in CX satisfaction. So, before getting caught up with AI and fancy tech tools, learn about the various ways we can implement human-focused feedback solutions for your business.