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customer experience
Shaun Smith
  • By Shaun Smith
  • Jun 25 2008

Customer Experience Management in the Call Centre. First Direct shows the way

I was on business in Cambodia recently when I received a text message from First Direct, my bank in the UK, asking me to call them at my convenience. I called during the morning, which was the middle of the night in the UK. As always with First Direct, I immediately got through to a helpful agent who sounded cheerful, alert and eager to help me despite it being 3.am in the UK.

The agent knew who I was and why the bank wished to speak to me. Apparently they could see from my credit car expenditure that I was in Cambodia but they had received a request for payment from a gallery in Paris. They figured out I couldn’t be two places at the same time so thought they should check with me. Of course, I told them that I hadn’t bought anything in Paris so not to settle the bill, cancel my card and deliver a new one to me the day I got back to London.

The point of the story is not that First Direct monitored my account and pro-actively picked up a fraudulent purchase or that they delivered my new card promptly to my office exactly as promised, rather that the interaction with the contact centre (or ‘center’ if you are in the US) not only delivered on the First Direct promise of ‘the bank that is designed to fit around you’ but also demonstrated how I believe contact centres need to evolve in the future.

That is through unified agent desktops that integrate a single view of the customer with CEM (Customer Experience Management) methodology. The fact is, that without a clear understanding of what the First Direct brand stands for, and the technology that enabled her to deliver it, that agent would not have been able to make my interaction with her a memorable event and one which typifies the First Direct experience. Perhaps that is why First Direct attracts a new customer every 8 seconds through referral from satisfied customers or that its Net Promoter Score is one of the highest that we have seen.

I’ve written an article on this which will be in the smith + co online article area shortly and is a featured article in the July technology theme on Customer Think, the online community. You can find the article here