Michelle de Haaff

Customers’ satisfaction rates with contact center experience have universally dropped four years in a row, Forrester Research reports.[1] And only 26% of consumers responded positively when asked if they believe contact centers provide great support, compared to 49% who did not. These numbers clearly show how the industry is missing the mark in relation to customer expectations of their support experience.[2]
To improve customer experiences with your contact center, you should start with your agents.  Your contact center agents make up most of the experience that your customers have when they interact with your customer service center, yet agents are typically only measured on efficiency metrics like call time and first time final. Customer satisfaction metrics, while sometimes captured, are typically not used in daily efforts to improve agent performance.
Having a Customer Experience Management (CEM) system not only provides your agents and their managers with the insights they need to improve customer experience, but also holds them accountable for delivering a better experience.
Below are some ways that Medallia’s CEM solution helps organizations improve agent performance:
Openly benchmark agent performance at the individual level
With Medallia, companies can survey all customers about their interactions with contact centers and compare feedback results down to the agent level. Putting the insights into the hands of agents gives them a direct understanding of how their behavior impacts customer satisfaction and what they need to do to improve.
Use Customer Experience data to focus agent training efforts
Customer feedback tells companies where agents need to improve. With that information, companies can target their coaching efforts where it matters and eliminate irrelevant blanket training programs. Medallia also helps companies identify the top performers in their contact centers who can mentor and coach the agents needing additional guidance. By establishing a pool of mentors and coaches, companies can lengthen agent tenure and decrease hiring and training costs.
Optimize call routing to give agents issues they can handle well
Medallia’s customer feedback surveys include built-in performance triggers that help companies immediately identify competency gaps that adversely affect performance—such as an agent who’s not up to speed on the latest product. Traditionally, identifying gaps was a slow process, sometimes taking days or weeks. Now companies can spot and handle the issues as they occur, rerouting calls in the interim. With this approach, underperforming agents don’t hurt the customer experience –rather, they get the training they need.
Align incentives with the metric that matters
Contact center agents, like most of us, will perform in line with the metrics on which they’re compensated. Put average handle time on agents’ performance reviews, and they’ll work to get customers off the phone. With Medallia, companies make customer experience part of how agent performance is measured –resulting in an improvement in customer service.
Raise agent accountability on every call
Unlike traditional random sample feedback programs, which are sporadic, frequently executed a day after the interaction, and plagued by low response rates , Medallia’s CEM system is real-time: it can easily send a survey right after every call through a variety of mediums (IVRs, mobile devices and emails, to name a few,) generating continuous feedback that holds agents accountable for delivering a consistent customer experience every single day.
A Customer Experience Program will enable your Contact Center to differentiate on customer service delivery and break away from the outdated mentality that call centers are only “cost centers.” Giving the same importance to customer experience feedback as to operational metrics, and exposing contact center agents to this data, will not only empower agents, but also lead to them assuming ultimate accountability for the contact center customer experience
Learn more about how Medallia’s CEM Solution can turn your contact center into a customer loyalty generating hub.


[1] “Reinvent Your Call Center Culture To Create Amazing Customer Experiences,” Forrester Research, Kerry Bodine, April 4, 2011.
[2] http://fonolo.com/blog/2012/05/customer-service-statistics/
[3] “The Top 10 Call Centre Problems,” Call Centre Helper magazine, Alex Coxon, September 2010.
Photo Credit: News Oresund