The Business of Customer Experience Operations

Hi, I’m Judi Brenstein, vice president, client solutions, COPC Inc. I get the opportunity to travel the country and speak with industry leaders in customer contact centers and other customer experience operations. On a recent flight home, I was reflecting on the themes that I have been hearing. A few topics have continued to come up in my conversations, so I thought I would share them with you:

PCI Compliance: One of the things that I continue to hear through my travels is how some organizations are much more lax than others about PCI compliance. The payment card industry created a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. This is called the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), or often just called PCI compliance.

Some companies tell me that they do not have a problem with PCI compliance. Others have told me horror stories about how they thought they did not have a problem until they found out they really did.  PCI compliance will only continue to expand as an area of focus for customer experience operations as companies determine how to ensure PCI compliance regardless of agent location. Or, those organizations that place the most emphasis on PCI compliance may require having traditional in-house centers rather than “anywhere agents” to ensure more PCI oversight. Either way, we know PCI compliance will remain a hot topic for contact center operations.

Performance Improvement: Improving performance has started to turn from focusing on the agent to focusing on the customer, and we think that is exactly the right place to put your attention. Our experience and analysis shows that companies should not focus on activity metrics, such as “one coaching per agent per week.” Instead, companies should be evaluating an agent’s performance from the customer’s perspective. What usually concerns the customer is issue resolution, or more simply, did the agent meet the customer’s needs or solve their problem.

Often we find during our consulting work that an organization has systemic issues impacting the customer experience. And these issues are often outside of the agent’s control. You can learn more about how to find performance issues affecting your customer experience by reading our blog series “Five Changes to Your Quality Program to Improve Customer Satisfaction.” Change #4 covers how to evaluate transactions from the customer’s perspective, focusing on systemic issues impacting performance.

Benchmarking:  I was recently presenting at a symposium sponsored by the International Association of Reservation Executives (IARE). I was discussing the findings from a benchmark survey by COPC Inc. and Execs In The Know that showed how well companies are meeting customer service expectations.

Looking at benchmark data can be tricky because you have to see it in the context of how your organization is performing now, regardless of what the benchmark data shows. While it is much more important to focus on improving your own performance as it relates to your organization’s goals and abilities, benchmark data shows you how others are doing. And this lets you know how you are doing in comparison.

What’s interesting about our survey results is that it included perspectives from both the corporate and customer experience. And the difference in perspective was significant. For example, nearly 80% of corporate executives think their customer service department is meeting the needs and expectations of their customers, while only 32.5% of consumers would agree with that perspective.

The survey also showed that while consumers are increasing using multiple channels to connect with a company, they still prefer the traditional channels of voice, email, and in-person to get an issue resolved. For more information, you can see my entire IARE presentation about benchmarking. You also can read the corporate summary of the CXMB survey.

For now, I’ll keep talking and traveling and passing on notes as I can.  If you need to talk with someone about the performance of your contact centers or your entire customer experience program, call me at 832-347-7347 or email to We are here to help.