In search of the definitive customer experience

pre613 in search of the definitive customer experience

Call centre consultancy Call Center IQ has issued its 2016 Executive Report on the Customer Experience, saying the term ‘customer experience’ possesses universal recognition as a buzz word, but lacks universal meaning as a specific concept. “Absent that specificity, the challenge of mobilising an organisation and driving truly significant improvement will remain incredibly daunting,” it concludes.

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The report goes on to say: “The combination of that ambiguity and inherent business inertia results in inactivity. The shift from conception to action is a notorious rarity in the business world; making that transition without a firm sense of what customer experience change – and, specifically, customer experience improvement – should entail is especially unlikely.”

The report attempts to remedy this situation by nailing down a precise definition of customer experience: “What is the customer experience? Which business functions does it entail? Which business departments are involved?”

Its starting point is a global survey of an unspecified number of customer experience, contact centre, marketing, customer care, IT and operations professionals undertaken in January and February 2016.

Forty six percent of respondent organisations employed over 1,000 people while 57 percent had at least 500 employees on their payrolls. Thirty two percent of respondent organisations had at least 250 seats in their contact centres, 35 percent fewer than 50 seats.

What made the survey different from many others is that respondents were not presented with preset choices, although the results are presented in terms of percentage responses to specific questions.

Despite this it is perhaps not surprising that “the central theme consistently identified by respondents,” was: “The customer experience, at its core, concerns the interactions between brand and customer.”

However, various respondents had different perspectives on this interaction. Some focused on the customer’s perception of those interactions, others on the customer’s interaction journey and some did not really focus on the customer’s experience at all but rather on the brand’s experience of the customer, defining customer experience as “the value the business provides to the customer.  … The start-to-finish processes and systems the business employs to track and engage customers.”

The report is full of charts and tables presenting the results of the survey, but it’s hard to tease out from this multiplicity of views a consistent set of universal recommendations.

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Instead the practical advice section of the report, its ‘Practicality Guide’, promises to “provide a blueprint for taking action.”

It comprises a series of case studies from vendors on how various companies have gone about delivering their customer experience using the sponsoring vendor’s products.

Overall the report promises to enable readers to “transition from talking about an ambiguous concept of the customer experience to enacting a clear, well-designed, results-driven plan for achieving actual improvement.”

It will certainly get you thinking much more in depth about exactly what customer experience means to your organisation and, more importantly, what you should be doing about it.

Premier Technologies

Premier Contact Point provides a hosted contact solution that meets the needs of the modern contact centre. This cost effective solution provides a means of directing calls to the agent who is best suited to meet the needs of the customer, without having to be transferred multiple times. Businesses choose this hosted contact solution because there is no need to purchase and maintain costly hardware like there is with traditional PBX systems. This means the need for capital expenditure is minimal, all a contact centre agent needs is a phone, PC and an Internet connection.

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