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Contact Center CX: Next Issue Avoidance

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

Last week, Brittany Naylor (Vice President of Customer Support for Service Direct) queued up a wonderful topic in our CX Accelerator slack channel. It was "Next Issue Avoidance" and how support leaders are bringing this critical concept to life. For those not familiar, the idea of "Next Issue Avoidance" was introduced as part of "The Effortless Experience" in 2011. It means resolving the customer's implicit issue(s) as well as their explicit issue(s). In other words, it's going beyond the obvious surface level problem to equip the customer for future success.

This could be anything from asking the customer what's next on their shopping list after helping to locate an item, to helping them set up notifications once logging into an online profile, to attaching a knowledge base article for something the customer will run into during their first billing cycle. These are the things that brings an agent from a "fire-fighter" to a helpful knowledge expert. Of all the effort-reduction pillars, this might be the number one way to enhance customer loyalty from the contact center!

So how are leaders making this concept a reality in their environments? Take a look at these examples:

Brittany Naylor

I was inspired by some really great comments from the Head of CX at Outdoor Voices this week on the topic of Next Issue Avoidance. Anticipating the next question and answering it while you have the customer's attention instead of waiting for them to reach out again. Is this a practice within your support environment? My challenge to myself, my team, and you all this week is to focus on Next Issue Avoidance in your customer interactions this week and discuss your strategies and ideas. There is a bit of a difference between B2B and B2C and even eCommerce on this, but we all have so much to learn from each other!

Nate Brown

Love this challenge @brittanynaylor! For my team, Next Issue Avoidance is a huge focus this year. We are trying to be more consultative about new software releases..."this release is coming with this feature and it will help you in this way." Also we are working hard to attach a relevant knowledge article as a follow up even to phone calls. A lot of people run into the same issue again and it's nice to have that resource handy!

Jenny Dempsey

@brittanynaylor awesome challenge! This is definitely something we're trying to get better with but for us, we find that some customers get really annoyed when we "assume" what their next issue or question might be. I think this is because we're an email/chat only company, not via phone. I'm curious to hear how everyone else does this and what channels they use.

Brittany Naylor

I can totally see that @Jenny Dempsey. I would think just being genuinely helpful would avoid some of those annoyances, but what my team suggested we try this week is when a client emails in a simple task for us, we just go one step further and let them know what else we are doing. So for example a client emailed in to pause his ads campaign. So we paused their campaigns but also saw they were getting some clicks for a different company. We blocked that company name from searches and our reply to the customer was "We have paused your campaign until next Friday. While we were looking at your account we saw some searches for McDonald Heating and Cooling and added that as a negative keyword to prevent any wrong number calls coming through your ads." That way they don't have to tell us they are getting the wrong numbers, we already knew and did something about it. So far it is looking great!

Kaye Chapman

To me, this is a key difference between standard CX and great CX. I've never focused on this as a metric so I have a couple of questions - 1. How do you metric-ize this? Is there a check box or similar that agents complete in wrap-up to state that they supplied extra helpful info? 2. How do you train for improvements? I get that retrospectively you can draw attention to extra info that could have been supplied to the customer in an agent's QA session. But in terms of proactively seeking improvements to NIA, what are the key components of that - is it about face to face information sharing, clever KB use, or anything else? I'd love to hear how others are handling this so I can go to our support team and suggest some tactics to bring this into their workflow. 😄

Lauren Volpe

We created a CX tracker which is shared with all teams. We document difficult cases, start to finish and conclude with what could/should have been done to prevent or avoid the issue all together. We created over 50 unique scenarios to start introducing to newbies so that when/if they encountered the issue they would be familiar with it. Then we worked all of these into our training succession plan and finally, we shared our findings with tech and product so they would work with us to fix the issue at its core. We put a $$ value on actual loss, friction etc to determine priority for fixes.

Shane Goldberg

I really like that @Lauren Volpe, CCXP. I do something similar with clients whereby I get as any groups as possible in the business looking at tricky cases / complaints to understand what has caused them, learn from them and fix some root causes.


How is your team working to practice "Next Issue Avoidance?" Come and share your thoughts with the team in our community! ❤

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