Expert’s Corner: Lori Wizdo on Improving Customer Service From the Ground Up

customer-serviceWelcome to another edition of Expert’s Corner here at Customers Rock! This time our guest blogger has a technology focus. We are happy to have Lori Wizdo, VP Marketing from Knoa Software, as our author today. Lori will share with us ways for organizations to get a handle on a major customer experience roadblock.

Enjoy the post, and let us know what you think!

Improving Customer Service From the Ground Up

In need of a new laptop, you spend hours walking around your local Best Buy comparing prices and features of endless devices each claiming to be the thinnest, sharpest and fastest on the market.  You select a winner, bring it home and it immediately begins to malfunction.  Figures.  After a dozen fruitless attempts to unfreeze the screen or retrieve your very important lost document, you finally give in and call the manufacturer’s support center.  The agent on the end of the line proceeds to put you on hold for 5 minutes, and then connects you to sales rather than support.  The following transfer takes another 5 minutes.  You explain the situation (again) to the appropriate agent, slightly annoyed but overall maintaining your cool.  The agent, furiously typing, apologizes for her system being slow today.  “I don’t know why it isn’t letting me do this today? It let me yesterday…” she mutters.  After 30 minutes on the phone, your computer is running smoothly but you hang up frustrated with the service, bitter towards the company, and just plain angry at your new computer. 

Invisible Problem

I am sure that you have felt this frustration before, if not during support calls, then paying your mobile phone bill, or waiting in a long line at a Macy’s counter.  Customers are constantly frustrated with the services they receive.  Many businesses don’t realize however, that a negative customer experience is often a direct result of the sales rep or agent’s inability to correctly execute customer service technology.  Due to the complexity of systems such as CRM, agents are frequently misusing applications or experiencing system errors which result in slow response times and inaccurate support for the customer.  

If a customer service agent does not make the experience seamless, it causes irritation and possible loss of business.  Despite the recognized importance in delivering an exceptional customer experience in this economy, companies have relatively little insight into how customer service agents are using, or misusing the technology they are given to interact with the customer. Managers have relatively little visibility into agent behavior and performance during each and every customer interaction.  This presents a major business dilemma: how can you fix a problem that you can’t see?

Taking a Closer Look

There is a new breed of optimization technology, Experience and Performance Management (EPM), which is helping to remedy these problems. This set of solutions provides a window into agent interactions with corporate customer service technology.  The software monitors the agent’s execution of processes and provides comprehensive metrics in two dimensions.  First, EPM monitors the agent experience to highlight problems with the technology itself. Then it analyzes agent behaviors and workflows to pinpoint issues with the agent’s performance. These metrics are used to identify and eliminate impediments that the technology is presenting to the agent and gives managers insight into problems with agent performance that are impacting customer experience.  With these metrics business managers are able to answer the following questions and create logical, direct solutions:

  •          Are the transactions/response times slow?
  •          Is the agent being presented with incomprehensible system errors?
  •          Are agents using the correct transactions for the process?
  •          Are they following the correct processes or creating workarounds? 
  •          Are they using the applications effectively or making errors?
  •          Are they utilizing all the tools available, such as the knowledge base?  

With these issues identified, managers can ensure that an appropriate solution, such as one-on-one training or a technology upgrade, is implemented.

Experience and Performance Management technology fills the need for a comprehensive, systematic approach for measuring agent experience and behavior with customer service technology.  These solutions can help identify the root of application problems, and improve the agent’s productivity.  Overall, the more efficiently agents are interacting with customer service technology, the better the customer service.  With a positive and productive relationship between the agent and technology, customers can receive fast, accurate service, ensuring long-term customer satisfaction. 


About Lori Wizdo

Lori Wizdo is a software industry veteran who, over the past 25 years, has helped launch several new technologies in emerging markets.  She has held senior positions with global companies such as BMC, Xerox, NCR and Unisys, as well as a number of smaller software innovators.  Lori was an early pioneer, championing the role of the individual in enterprise business applications. That belief inspired the launch of communities of practice and employee networking solutions at Unisys.  In her present role, she continues to evangelize the cause of the end-users as a key stakeholder of enterprise applications.  

About Knoa Software

Knoa Software was recently selected as a Gartner “Cool Vendor,” for its capabilities in end-user experience and performance management and was listed as a Leader in the “Forrester Wave: Passive Agent End-user Experience Monitoring.”

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10 Responses

  1. Becky Carroll

    Thanks for your comment and the post, Ada. I agree that the entire customer experience needs to be managed when taking care of customers, and the part that is the most visible is customer service. When something goes wrong, it negates all the other good things a company is doing, including great marketing, cool websites, and “engaging” social media.

    That’s why companies need a strategy for how they will deal with customers across all touchpoints rather than just hoping for the best with “random acts of customer service”.

  2. I think the major problem for all companies with a separate customer service department is that they indeed use old and very limited technology frustrating not only customers but also employees. As it was stated in another post, happy employees affect the happiness of your customers.

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