CX and EX KPI Trends: How Inflation and the Great Resignation have Changed Customer Service Metrics

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CX and EX KPI Trends: How Inflation and the Great Resignation have Changed Customer Service Metrics

Times, they are always a-changing. No longer silently taking poor treatment, employees and customers pushed back: employees via the Great Resignation, and customers with changing brand loyalty. Inflation in the US is at a decade high on the heels of two challenging years. These events inspired a shift in key CX and EX KPI trends as companies struggle to manage shifting expectations on both sides.

The Great Quit, aka The Great Resignation or The Great Upgrade

For those in lower paying sectors this surge has also been called The Great Upgrade. Workers are stimulated by a desire for higher pay and better treatment brought on by an intense period of challenges. 

There are companies who recognized this shift and responded. It’s not enough to increase pay though. This McKinsey article gives an example of a company who increased pay by 15% with no improvement in employee churn. 

Money isn’t enough to make workers stay. Working conditions, schedules, performance expectations, advancement, training and culture need to be addressed.

The pandemic forced companies into work from home models and The Great Quit is forcing them to improve employee experience. 

Change can be painful initially. However, the clear connection between CX and EX makes the investment in better paid, more engaged employees a driver of improved customer experience and potentially increased revenue. 

The Rise of CX and EX Together

The proof is in the data. Poor EX yields poor CX. 

The Gallup employee engagement meta-analysis of 2020 showed companies with high employee engagement and quality EX had 21% higher profits than those with low EX.

In The Salesforce State of Service Report 2022, 85% of decision makers felt EX and CX are directly linked.

From the same report: 83% of customers expect immediate access to service; and 78% of agents have a hard time meeting efficiency goals and providing great service simultaneously. 

“Unsustainable work performance expectations” was a top reason workers left their jobs according to McKinsey’s Great Attrition Great Attraction survey

Customer service professionals need adequate tools and support to meet growing customer demands or brands risk churn on both sides. 

The KPI Metrics that Will Drive CX and EX Success

 Companies define the KPIs they measure. The KPIs that will matter most to a company’s customer and employee base are individual to its goals and industry. However, there are some trending shifts in KPIs focus that may provide insight on where to start.

CX: Customer Sentiment

Customer sentiment is linked closely to customer behavior. Understanding how customers feel can help businesses adapt to stay in tune with customer activity trends. A more proactive approach than trying to stem the loss of customers after it begins.

McKinsey’s first quarter 2022 Consumer Pulse survey report (sample of 2,100 adult US consumers reflecting the general populace) revealed that Millennials and high income customers have the highest spending growth, with purchases of goods being higher than pre-2020 levels. However, inflation is lowering overall volume and impacting spend in specific categories and customer groups.

It also showed that customer behavior is a mixed bag of reverting to pre-pandemic ways and maintaining new pandemic time activity. 

One of the changes that has sticking power is the trend towards changing brands. 90% of customers who have done so plan to continue changing brands for higher value and innovation. 

Brands benefit from a deep understanding of their customer demographics and spending habits combined with how customers feel the brand is meeting their changing needs. 

The US is experiencing the highest inflation in a decade at 8.2% in September 2022 (released October 13, next release November 10th). It’s important to see beyond how customers feel about a brand to how they feel about spending and what they prioritize spending on.  

CX: Customer Effort

According to CX Insights Magazine, the key CX metrics to focus on are customer satisfaction (CSAT), customer effort score (CES),first call resolution (FCR), sentiment, and response. 

Gartner research agrees that CES is important because customer effort is the greatest driver of loyalty. The amount of effort a customer goes through to get to resolution impacts their satisfaction and sentiment. FCR and AHT (average handle time) represent the time drain part of customer effort.

Identify where in the customer journey the most time and effort are expended. Then work to smooth those sections of customer service strategy. Use automation to expand coverage, speed resolution of simpler issues, and free agents for personalized customer attention where needed and expected.

EX: Employee Effort

CX Insight magazine’s article “The Changing Face of Contact Center KPIs” pointed out the importance of measuring effort inwardly, on the employee side, as a counterpart to CES.  

The Salesforce State of Service Report showed that process automation is most used in high performing teams with time savings being the greatest benefit.  

A significant part of employee effort is emotional toll. Agents are under pressure to provide quick and empathetic resolution for customers. However, they often have to work under company policies which limit how they can serve, often have no access to other departments and are strapped by situations outside of their control.

Yes, authentic empathy is a necessary component to good customer service, but it is difficult for agents to be consistently empathetic when apologizing for problems they are not responsible for (shipping department backups, product design issues…), with limited tools and while on the receiving end of abuse

Giving agents quality, integrated tools, connection with other departments, and real-time support reduce agent effort. This improves agent experience and by extension, customer experience.  Zendesk integrative solutions, specifically CSAT.AI, offers these solutions including notifying management when agents are abused. 

EX: Employee Churn

Recent history has caused long overdue thinking outside the box. For example, instead of investing in exit interviews that find out why a worker is leaving, consider stay interviews and find out what they need to remain. 

For an effective EX approach, companies need to know their people and metrics. Beyond the Great Resignation, track company and industry specific employee turnover rates and look for patterns or times of greatest turnover. Troubleshoot methods to attract and keep quality workers. 

Companies may be overlooking valuable candidates by having antiquated job listings, expectations or requirements. Due to pandemic related layoffs and challenges there are more workers with gaps on their resumes. Many others have non-traditional work experience like those that have started their own companies or freelance channels. These are potentially untapped resources for talent.

EX: Employee Engagement

Get Feedback’s 2022 State of CX Report describes EX as the biggest obstacle to successful CX with employee motivation, skills and training to be top concerns.

Measure employee engagement regularly. Companies can create custom employee surveys of concise questions that target their employee experience. Alternatively, use a service. The Gallup Employee Engagement Survey called the Q12, was informed by research of more than 2.7 million employees representing 50 industries.

Use a survey to open a dialogue between decision makers and employees and take action on the data.

In 2022 companies have struggled to keep talent while meeting customer expectations. 

Are you losing customers by not meeting their needs?

Or are you meeting CSAT goals and reaching customer expectations, but missing employee expectations and employee needs for a healthy environment?

If yes, you could benefit from a shift in your KPIs.