Blog by Carly Read, Senior Reporter at CX Today
‘The customer is always right’.
I’m sure we’ve all lost count of the amount of times we’ve heard that phrase. I personally remember it being drilled into my head during my first part time waitressing job in my 20s and haven’t forgotten it since. Now, though, it seems businesses and brands are flirting with the idea of rating customers following calls with their live agents, instead of the traditional adage of asking customers for feedback on their own performance.
The idea was proposed in an article by Forbes that saw former contact centre worker Conrad Liburd discuss ways the employee experience (EX) could be improved.
He said: “There are literally customers who call in just to abuse the agents. They’re not looking for anything but a fight.
“By giving agents more control, or at least feedback, we’re creating a structure that makes agents feel empowered and valued.”
Initially, I thought there was a real danger of a business or a handful of them being the only firms to adopt the so-called customer scorecards being toyed with in the article. But on the other hand there has been a real spike in the volume of customers only buying from ethical companies, one of the major shifts as a result of COVID-19, and a heightened EX is a perfect example of a brand flexing their ethical muscles.
Assessing the customer instead of the live agent has some interesting effects. Examples of these include empowering agents to meet customer needs while improving their work environment. This also gives live agents that all-important motivation too because live agents will naturally work harder when they feel appreciated. High staff contact centre turnover could also be a thing of the past due to a zero-tolerance approach to abuse in establishing mutual respect.
My only concern would be where businesses would obtain their feedback.
And should businesses use AI and automation to adopt sentiment analysis, for example, they will still be able to obtain customer feedback required to consistently improve the CX offering and grow as a business too.
After all, feedback is a two-way street, and if the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that sometimes the most unconventional ways of working can be as, if not more successful, than those pre-COVID.