Customer experience leaders often rely on the facts to determine what customers need. We think of customer feedback metrics and rating systems as ways to get a pulse of what our customers are thinking and feeling about transactions or the entire relationship with our brand. We invite leaders to workshops and forget about an incredibly vital resource that is right there for us.

Our contact center managers and agents.

These front-line employees have tons of knowledge in their heads and are just waiting for you to ask the right questions!

Try asking your team about what’s really going on in the customer experience, then look for ways to take action.

Here are five ideas on how to ask questions that will help your contact center and your customers!

1. What barriers are customers experiencing in their journey with our brand?

Your agents will be able to tell you what’s NOT being tracked in your surveys or CRM systems. They can tell you about the small ways your customers are putting in too much effort. They can share when there’s a subtle shift happening – like an app that isn’t responding fast enough or a new communication that isn’t clear. These open-ended answers help leaders stay ahead of the next big obstacle customers might report.

2. What do you wish was already fixed or improved?

Agents hear a lot about the same things, over and over again! They know the parts of the customer journey that cause the most pain, and they know the challenges that have been broken for the customer the longest. There are parts of the journey they wish were better. They have probably identified ways they wish things were improved. Have you asked? You might be surprised to hear what they can tell you!

3. What great moments do customers experience with our brand?

Customers show surprise and delight when agents can tell them a better way to do something. They also love to share how they love a brand with a brand representative. What are your customers saying about what’s going right? What parts of the journey are full of those moments customers remember? These highlights can help you identify what’s most critical to deliver to customers. As you develop new journeys and new services, these identified moments of delight can be incorporated into your customer’s experience.

4. What process is holding you back from delivering a better experience for our customers?

Challenging systems and processes create internal barriers that lead to poor experiences for customers. Your agents see these, up close and personal, and are anxious to break down silos and create more cross-functional unity. But you need to ask! Help your agents realize they are part of the solution here and you value their insights. If agents aren’t getting the information they need from other teams, that’s a direct impact on your customer’s experience. Don’t let poor process win!

5. What do YOU do, personally, to help our customers have great experiences?

You have superstars in your contact center! The actions of one agent are often the difference between a great experience and merely a good one. However, if these superstars are working in isolation, they are creating clever workarounds to bad processes, communicating effectively and empathizing with customers without a bigger benefit to the entire organization. What if you could identify those individual traits, behaviors, and actions of your superstars and make them your best practices? Discovering what is working best for agents and customers is the first step. Then you can make magic throughout every customer experience by standardizing those superstar qualities.

Your agents have so much to tell you, but often they simply aren’t asked. Empower your team leaders to not only track contact center and customer loyalty metrics, but to dig deeper.

Finally, you must close the loop. Create a regular cadence of gathering contact center agent feedback and the great ideas they have. Keep them in the loop of what’s happened to that feedback, just like you close the loop with customers. And create easy ways for agents to share ideas and feedback as it happens. (This doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be consistent.)

It’s not enough to say, “how’s it going?” to our agents. We need to ask questions that lead to action around our customer experience.

Looking for more ways to improve the customer experience in the coming year? Download a free copy of the latest 8x8 eBook, 8 Contact Center Trends to Watch in 2020.