Companies, across every industry, are finding it increasingly difficult to compete based solely on price or product. Today, the big differentiator between brands is the customer experience. This is both an opportunity and a challenge with customers’ rising expectations and a growing number of digital communication channels.
Yet, much of the customer experience is still based on perception. Each step of the customer journey must be focused on strengthening this perception. This means focusing on both infrastructure and processes to deliver effortless customer engagement. How can you do this in this age of rapidly evolving technologies and customer expectations? The following are 10 ways to increase your customers’ perception to build lasting loyalty.
- Prepare Agents for More Complex Calls
With plenty of self-help channels and online resources, customers typically only use a voice channel when they have a problem or a more complicated question. It’s important that your team of agents is trained to handle escalations. In some cases, it may make sense to route customers to specific agent specialties to provide the best possible experience during these critical calls.
- Break Down Silos
Creating an effortless journey is more important than ever when it comes to the customer experience. Customers don’t want to get transferred, wait on hold and then repeat their issue. They want seamless transitions from self-service to assisted-service channels and expect to reach an agent who has customer history and context to provide fast, intelligent service. This requires breaking down siloed communication channels and disparate solutions. More than ever, companies are evaluating the state of their contact center and undergoing digital transformations because the stakes are high. Only those who have the infrastructure in place to support today’s customer journeys will be able to compete in today’s challenging market.
- Perfect the IVR Experience
Many things can go wrong from a customer’s perspective when they reach your IVR. Misguided transfers, poorly functioning voice response functions, outdated information and more. There’s plenty of potential for customer frustration. On a regular basis, become the customer and experience the IVR for yourself. If you have difficulty navigating through the various prompts, so do your customers.
- Create a Brand Voice
Is there a consistent voice across your phone system recordings? If not, you’re missing a valuable opportunity to build an identifiable brand. Customers will identify the voice with the brand if it’s both reflective of your brand image and consistent.
- Focus on Positive Words and Empathetic Statements
More than anywhere, the customer is king within the contact center. Building trust and a positive impression are essential. This involves limiting the use of negative words, such as “can’t” and “no.” Agents should be trained to think of things from the customer’s perspective and equipped with positive words and empathetic statements that will propel the customer to feel that your brand delivers more than just a satisfactory level of service.
- Encourage Customer Feedback
Via surveys or interaction analytics, much can be gained in terms of what the customer is really thinking. This information should be used to drive business decisions and necessary changes. Look for patterns in feedback and data that shows clear problematic trends. Address these issues quickly and with urgency to ensure customers don’t have to experience the same problem twice.
- Only Use Scripts as Guidelines
Customers know when agents are reading from scripts. Rote jargon can come across as robotic and cold, leaving customers feeling unimpressed. If a customer is taking the steps to move beyond self-service to speak with an agent, they want someone who can clearly communicate and solve issues. Make sure you have the right team members in place who are true experts at communicating with customers.
- Welcome Employee Suggestions
Processes and systems that were put in place by management teams may not make as much sense when they’re implemented by those on the frontlines. Listen to what your agents are saying and encourage them to share any problems or barriers they’re experiencing that hinder their ability to deliver exceptional service. Through this culture of sharing, you will not only empower your agents, you’ll be able to make faster changes to support your target service levels.
- Follow Up with Customers
Even in the most service-driven contact center, problems can happen. It’s not only important to correct these issues, it’s also vital to follow up to show customers that you’re sorry and that you’re taking strides to make changes to avoid similar situations.
- Share Best Practices
Schedule time for discussing strengths and weaknesses with other teams, along with agents. Through this dialog, much can be learned to continue improving your brand. Exchanging knowledge and skills ultimately makes the entire organization stronger and increases the standard of service.