5 Crisis Management Strategies for Contact Centers

I recently created a post noting government leaders are increasing the inclusion of the 311 non-emergency contact center operations into their crisis emergency communications strategy and reaching out to the media to advise the public to call the 311 contact center operations during catastrophic events.

The benefits of driving the public to contact 311 for customer support allow the city’s 911 centers to focus on active emergencies, ensures consistency and accuracy of messaging and provides real-time data and stakeholder reports identifying the public’s concerns or complaints trends.

Stephanie Thum, the founder of Practical CX, reached out to me to for an in-depth interview on best practices guidelines for leaders to incorporate in preparation for or during a crisis.

Here’s the link to the interview: Contact centers during crisis: An action plan from experts

A Best Kept Government Culture CX Transformation Secret

C62DDEAF-89F9-41A8-8C1B-0C6ADE18727A-2862-000001F129B41E38The Secret? Implement an Organization-wide Department Customer Experience Officers (DCXO) Program

When trying to implement a customer experience transformational strategy across an organization, you can expect many hurdles to arise which could slow down its implementation at various levels within the organization. Some examples of these hurdles are departmental processes, individual leaders or a change-averse culture. Thus, for a strategy to be completely adopted, you need to elicit key stakeholders to drive it forward.

Government leaders should consider creating an innovative Department Customer Experience Officers (DCXO) program within the organization to help drive customer experience management strategies and activities. The program should be centralized, managed, and budgeted out of the Administration’s Customer Experience Office (CXO).
The Department Customer Experience Officer (DCXO) program should align perfectly with the Administrative Customer Experience Office, led by the Chief Customer Experience Officer, based on their managerial responsibilities and oversight since the primary duties of the Chief Customer Experience Officer role are to:
  • Provide a single vision and a consistent customer experience across all methods of access is required by customers

  • Design and support key activities and projects to support the customer experience throughout the organization

Launching a departmental Customer Experience Officers (DCXO) program as a customer-focused strategic initiative allows a Department Head to select and appoint the employee to act as a liaison between the Chief Customer Experience Officer and the Department Heads. Over time, participation in the program will provide each Department Head with a trained “customer experience expert” to work directly with their staff on customer and employee engagement activities, such as development and validation of key performance indicators, implementation of customer journey mapped process re-engineering projects, or enhancement of the employee engagement programs.
During the Department Customer Experience Officers Training Program, the Department Customer Experience Officers (DCXO) will learn, research, and create documentations which are unique to their department or function:
  • Customer Experience Vision and Mission Statements

  • “Voice of the Customer Program” Process to Identify and Prioritize Customers’ Needs and Wants to Improve Service Quality

  • Customer Experience & Customer Service Training Program

  • Customer Feedback and Engagement

With this model, each trained Department Customer Experience Officer (DCXO) can provide department-specific customer/employee insights and articulate evidence-based recommendations to help the Administration’s customer experience transformation strategy survive and succeed throughout the organization.
While it might seem that this approach might create a fragmented customer experience initiative across the organization, it is the responsibility of the Chief Customer Experience Officer to make sure their deliverables are consistent and aligns with the Administrative strategic level plan.
What’s noteworthy are the Department Customer Experience Officers (DCXO) can be involved in the yearly Customer Experience Office customer experience strategic plan review and give valued feedback throughout the customer experience transformation implementation journey.

What programs do you currently have in place to ensure the organization is executing your customer experience plans and initiatives?

How To Exceed Your Government CX Contact Center via Benchmarking

Background story: 

I recently met with Cynthia, a Senior Government Contact Center Leader, who was at her wits end trying to manage the agency’s initiative to transform and modernize the contact center as part of her performance expectations.  Cynthia was familiar with the buzz words around “customer experience” but was struggling to decide how to prioritize and build a business case for change.  She didn’t know what “specific problem she was trying to solve” but knew she had to show she was doing something to improve the customer experience.  “Journey mapping, multi or omnichannel communications, CRM, IVR, data visualization, AI, knowledge management, etc. What should I do?”

My Response:  Step back and begin with a Contact Center Audit, Assessment, and Benchmarking initiative to roadmap where you should start the contact center’s transformation and modernization journey,

I explained to Cynthia that it’s critical to understand the current contact center customer experience environment and the future (vision) environment to identify gaps in the operations.  In addition to understanding customer experience operational gaps in the contact center, benchmarking other government operations to improve their customer’s digital experience and agency’s service delivery performance.

Let’s discuss why benchmarking is important

For an agency contact center to transform and modernize, there is a need to evaluate the performance against that of other government contact center establishments. Although a government may not be in competition with regards to the citizens it cares for, there is a need to benchmark the performance of a contact center against another.

As such, government contact centers can quantitatively evaluate the difference in performance level with other reputable call center agencies. Consequently, government contact centers can set customer experience goals and objectives which can serve as motivation for employees to work to the highest standard.

The importance of benchmarking government contact centers includes:

  1. Evaluate the success of your customer experience improvement initiatives: What is the point of making improvements in certain areas and not having to know whether it was successful? Benchmarking helps to create a status quo towards which the success of a government contact center is measured against customer service standards and to understand your position against world best practice.
  2. Gain an insight into other government contact center standard practices: A government contact center trying to compare its success with that of a corporate contact center is futile. It is a lot more beneficial to know what other governments are doing, especially those setting the pace. The failures and successes of a government contact center may help others learn and improve their policies and procedures.
  3. Rate customer experience channels performance objectively: Conducting customer surveys and using certain operational metrics speaks volumes about the performance of an organization. However, it is not enough since a government contact center may not be performing up to international standards. Hence, benchmarking leads government contact centers to rate their performance about similar organizations, rather than having the performance score based on internal assessment tools alone.  The findings from a study indicate that institutions that pay more attention to great customer experience will have a 30-50% more chance to get recommended by its customers. This metric is subjective and it is derived by requesting that customers complete a survey where answers have scores ranging from 1-5, 1-10 or Very Satisfied – Not satisfied.

I also recommended for Cynthia to work independently certified government customer experience professional.  They bring industry experience and knowledge to the table, enabling her to navigate the assessment process in record time by supporting management. They are experts at identifying and anticipating opportunities for growth, staff development, cost reductions, increased productivity and technology improvement within your organization. Ultimately leading to cohesion within teams and customer service delivery support, they add tangible value to the assessment process.

Next Blog:  What’s Included In A Government Audit and Assessment Report

Author Rosetta Carrington Lue is a pioneer in the field of Government Customer Experience Management and has devoted an entire career to bettering the lives of everyone around her through her work. She is right at home as the CEO of GovCX Professionals (www.govcxprofessionals) where she spends her time focused on building a welcoming, innovative, and engaging government customer experience.