The Role of Learning and Development in Customer Experience

A development mindset can turn the tide

One of the pitfalls of massive, sudden success for businesses—particularly in the tech space—is the blindspots and unintentional complacency it leaves in its wake.  

From Kodak to the mobile phone arm of Nokia, seemingly-bulletproof businesses have let huge growth overshadow continuous learning and improvement, and toppled as a result. 

Learning and Development is critical to sustainable CX success. You’re never too big to keep getting better—and this blog explores why it pays to adopt a learning and development mindset before your success skyrockets. 

Developing a company-wide customer-first approach

Learning and development is most effective when it’s a company-wide activity. Many companies make the mistake of building a siloed culture of continuous learning around their most profitable core offerings. 

But the functions and operations that support your core offering—like customer service and customer experience centers—are critical scaffolding to your future growth. Put simply, your operational architecture is only as strong as its weakest beam. 

Razor-sharp delivery of services or products, best-in-industry marketing and pioneering tech can all be for nothing if CX (customer experience) is relegated to an afterthought and customers have a poor experience when requesting information or sorting a problem. 

Learning via implementation

The quality of any given learning and development mindset is determined by the level of change it creates across your business. And while change can be painful, failing to change can be lethal.

That’s why the implementation stages of contact center outsourcing are critical—it’s your best opportunity to define and break free from what isn’t working, and charge towards a new way of working. 

Any new CX program inevitably involves some kind of discontinuous break with historic processes. Some legacy workflows will survive the process. Some won’t. That’s the purpose of the exercise. Go into any new outsourcing relationship with an appetite for disruption and you’ll be in a much stronger position to accelerate value realization. 

A different approach to CX

One of the most important areas of CX development – whether carried out in-house or via a specialist BPO – is an audit of the processes and ways in which CX is measured.

The trouble is that seemingly mature metric measurement can actually obscure the real deficiencies in established ways of working. In simple terms, the workflows and systems of measurement that seem beyond scrutiny are exactly the factors you should interrogate the most. 

For instance, businesses often rely too heavily on metrics like average call length and issue resolution to gauge CX quality. But data points like these seldom tell the full story. A true learning and development culture would dig deeper. 

Likewise, supplementary skills (often misrepresented as ‘soft’) can impact CSAT scores far more than traditional success metrics. So development in skills such as teamwork, collaboration, empathy, and conflict resolution can have a powerful impact on your CX.

Less scripting, more individuality

Individuality is another underrated aspect of CX. Strict adherence to scripts often disempowers your customer service agents, and leads to a bland, impersonal customer experience. 

Of course, it’s important to ensure that every conversation meets quality standards and complies with regulatory obligations—such as not asking for PII or other confidential information.

But a good way to engage staff and enrich customer interactions is to train and develop the personal ‘voice’ of those helping to solve queries. Warmth, humor and a natural manner of speaking can make all the difference to the customer at the other end of the phone. 

Laying the foundations to leadership

The often transient nature of traditional customer contact centre employment can seriously harm the quality of CX you deliver. People don’t stick around in jobs they can’t see a future in. And this is where learning and development can pay real dividends.

In a slightly outdated reputation, customer service work is often viewed as a stop gap or part time job for many. And that is true of old school teams and organizations suffering from metric myopia, aging processes and a culture of employee burnout and churn. 

Changing this starts with the most valuable asset of any business: its people. 

It’s the dream of any BPO to be able to promote to leadership positions those that have started on the ground floor of the business. These employees know the day-to-day issues, the culture and the services already and will bring that agent experience to the role. 

However, you should invest in developing those making this leap—not every fantastic customer service representative will automatically be a fantastic leader. Instead, support those stepping up by preparing them to lead a team and ensuring that their expert knowledge is kept within the business through training, one-off courses and ongoing mentorship.

What does development-led CX offer? 

Development-led CX offers a far better experience for your customers and your employees—and you’ll see longer, more profitable relationships with both as a result. 

When you elevate CX-focused roles from a temporary stop-gap job into a career with continuous opportunities for development, progression and advancement, you’ll attract better candidates and set your CX on an ever-climbing trajectory.

This leads to less staff churn, more expertise being retained in the organization’s structure and an offering that is constantly self-assessing to provide the best possible customer experience. 

Because as their needs change, so should yours.

Check out our blog for more insights into CX and BPO methodology.