Embracing customer centricity for optimal agent performance

Written by Ian Barker Small headshot image of Ian Barker, Managing Partner at BFY Group.
13 Jul 2023
Customer Service Debt People and Culture

If you feel like problems aren’t being addressed upstream and early in the customer journey, then you may have a problem with a lack of customer centricity.

A ‘right first time’ culture can’t be built in a world of AHT targets. We all know this, and yet how many times do you wander around looking at performance boards and seeing AHT as a key measure.

I recall one Operations Director being concerned that if they removed AHT as a measure, then agents would spend more time on the phone with customers.

“This will be true”, I told them. “But what if they’re spending more time with each customer so they need to do less work?”, they responded.

“This could also be true, but customers will tell you if you’re wasting their time (i.e. complaints will go up), and for the most part – the majority of agents are going to be looking to do the right thing.”

Culture is king

The highest levels of customer service are driven by agents who are empowered to actually fix the customers problem, and make decisions on whether the problems the customer has faced merits some form of modest compensation.

This is a cultural change – and a big one. It doesn’t work in top-down command-and-control environments, so to make it work in your business, you’ll need to put in place the right type of leaders who can bear the burden of any top-down pressure.

This is the type of customer centricity that’s needed during the cost of living crisis. Skilled agents will need empathy and resilience to support customers, and they’ll need to be trusted and empowered to make the right decisions.

As shown throughout this insight series, driving agent outcomes is a long-term process, which leans on various elements of transformation. It is, however, possible and realistic, with benefits that can re-shape contact centres for the better.

At BFY, we’ve been around the block more than once, seeing the right and wrong way to approach agent performance management. Our unique insight allows us to enable lasting change in organisations, driving bottom-line results through agent empowerment.

To find out more about how we can support you in driving agent outcomes, contact Ian Barker.

Ian Barker

Ian shapes the BFY vision and inspires our team to bring it to life, while remaining central to complex client engagements in Strategy, Commercial, and Operations.

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Small headshot image of Ian Barker, Managing Partner at BFY Group.