Improving Customer Satisfaction Through Employee Engagement

By Barbara Porter

Acall center, or contact center, is the communication and information hub formost large organizations. It is where your customers go to get?and expect toreceive?quality service. Within any call center, customer servicerepresentatives need to access a variety of business applications that housecustomer information, including personal data, interactions and transactions. Atmany companies, this information is stored in several systems, making itdifficult for representatives to do their jobs.

With 12 legacy systems, Nicor National was no exception. Ourrepresentatives not only had to learn how to access and use each system, theyalso had to toggle back and forth among systems to handle customer calls. Obviously,this was not efficient.

We knew we had to make our representatives? jobs easier to providethe level of service our customers deserve. We handle more than 1 millioninquiries each year on behalf of more than 740,000 customers. While our callcenter had earned national recognition, we realized that it would be achallenge to sustain customer satisfaction without making a commitment toprovide our representatives with a better technology tool.

Our customers and representatives began to expressfrustration a few years ago. After surveying our representatives, we learnedthat working with 12 systems was affecting their ability to serve customers. Becauseour agents had to navigate several different systems for every inquiry, the requiredtime to handle even simple inquiries was very long.  After a careful review of our internalprocesses for sales and service, we decided to build a new front-end systemthat would eliminate all the legacy systems. 

To establish the business requirements for our front-endsystem, we surveyed a cross-section of representatives using a two-waycommunication platform called Allegiance. We designed questions that wouldevaluate every point of the customer interaction process, so we could uncoverissues that needed attention. From the survey, we learned that when our legacysystems became too cumbersome to navigate, employees lost confidence in theirability to effectively help our customers and they began to feel disengaged.

The legacy systems comprised a number of separate systemsthat representatives had to navigate for each customer interaction, requiringthem to tab through different screens and wait for each system to respond.Customers suffered the effects of the complex navigation of these 12 systems,including long times to resolve issues. As a result, customers felt less thanconfident about the service provided to them.