Last Updated on January 31, 2019
According to fonolo.com, 90% of customers still prefer to solve their customer service issues using the telephone. This is a source of great opportunity for call centers to provide outstanding, loyalty-building customer experiences that often translate to upsells and referrals. This also presents a challenge to call centers to prevent customer defection and negative reviews from getting out on the street. After all, The White House Office of Consumer Affairs says 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.
Customer experience is a term heard a lot these days in the business world. Is it a buzzword or is it a proven key to profitable growth? In today’s blog we’ll break down the elements of customer experience and show you why your business must pay attention to them to insure its long term success.
Providing an outstanding customer experience is nothing more than identifying basic human emotional needs and striving to fulfill them in all aspects of how you do business. You may have read countless psychologists and social scientists theories on what our emotional needs are. This post won’t dare to debate the experts. Instead, we’ll lay out four basic emotional needs that are all-encompassing and how the customer experience your business provides can fulfill each one of them.
You’re Important and We Care About You
Think back to the last time a salesperson or customer service provider made you feel like you were the most important person in the world to him at that very moment. Felt pretty good, huh? You mattered, you were special, and that person understood your value as a human being. This is what it means to be validated and it’s the first of the four emotional needs we’ll discuss.
Why do people buy trendy outfits, go to the hottest new restaurants or surround themselves with the latest gadgets? To have all eyes on them, to feel important, and to get people talking about them and praising their good taste. Advertisers thrive on our desire to feel important and to have our choices validated. You see these regularly in ads for beer, fragrances, and athletic footwear. “Be Like Mike” for Nike Air Jordan shoes is a classic example.
Luckily, call center agents don’t need to lavish customers with status symbols to earn repeat business. All it takes is genuine caring and concern, demonstrated desire to solve the problem, and authentic appreciation for the customer’s choice of your company. Isn’t it much easier to trust someone who makes you feel like you’re a VIP every time you call?
We Make it Easy for you to Do Business With Us
Marcus Buckingham wrote a book called “First, Break all the Rules”. It was about what great managers did differently to produce outstanding financial and people results. The book was a shot across the bow of the conventional wisdom about managing people and processes. With customers becoming savvier each day and raising their expectations of those who provide service, some long-standing customer service rules need to be broken in order to create a customer experience people will remember fondly and tell their friends about.
First, people come before process. If your process doesn’t fit a customer’s needs, allow for something that does.
Second, never ask the customer to do something you can do for them. After all, they’re paying the bill so they’re entitled to receive their money’s worth.
Third, think holistically. Just be quiet and listen. Probe a little now and then. You’ll learn exactly what each customer needs.
When you can make the customer experience easy, you fulfill another basic emotional need – the need for excitement. For some, it represents risk or variety. For others, it’s exhilaration or amazement. Customers want to be blown away by your service. They want to end the call in utter disbelief that everything was taken care of so easily.
We’re Confident We Can Help
You’re on the phone with a customer service rep and things aren’t going well. There are awkward pauses, you’re placed on hold with each question you ask, and the rep is indecisive with his answers. Bottom line, you’re not confident this person can help you. You want to ask for someone else to come on the line and take over.
Everybody was new once. We’ve all had times when we didn’t know the right answer, or any answer at all. We worked through our baptism by fire and were better for it. That was fine back then. Now, the need to provide an outstanding customer experience means rethinking how call agents are deployed. New agents must receive intensive training on the products and services they support before they take their first live call. Agent’s skills must be well defined and calls must be routed based on those skills. Newer agents need a safety net, which could include live peer or supervisor intervention when they’re in over their heads.
Confident service from confident agents meets another basic emotional need – the need for security. We all want to believe everything is going to work out fine. We all want to work with people we can trust. When we’re dealing with someone who isn’t sure of themselves or isn’t direct with answers, trust suffers. Trust is hard to gain, easy to lose, and twice as hard to rebuild.
Providing an outstanding customer experience requires confident agents who are confident in their knowledge and their ability to communicate clearly with their customers. This confidence is transferrable. It rubs off on the customer and sows the seeds of loyalty.
Be a Part of Who We Are and What We Stand For
A phenomenon in today’s society is how loyalty is expressed by customers. 30 years ago, they would sing a company’s praises by word of mouth, write a letter of appreciation once in a while, or maybe call the company offices to say thank you. They didn’t know much about a company’s culture and they didn’t care as long as the service was consistently good.
Today, technology allows companies to expose their culture and give customers a peek under the hood. A company’s culture has become almost as important as the products and services they sell. In some cases, the culture drives loyalty and the product becomes an expression of the culture. The loyal customers of yesterday are today’s raving fans.
A textbook example of this concept is Apple. Apple may have started as a computer company, but their vision expanded into something greater than the products themselves. Carmine Gallo summed it up well in his book The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Gallo outlined seven principles he believes guided Steve Jobs to greatness. The last of the seven? “Sell dreams, not products.”
Sell dreams Apple certainly has. They’ve created products to meet needs we didn’t even know we had. They’ve simplified the user experience to the point where a two year old can turn on an iPhone, iPod or iPad. They’ve created retail stores that turned proven retail concepts on their ears. Most of all, Apple has created a culture of passion, innovation and minimalism that extends beyond mere customer loyalty.
This brings us to the fourth and final emotional need – transcendence. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves. We all want to make our mark on the world. We have a deep-seated need to find our path then help others find theirs. We identify with the Apple’s, Starbucks’, and Trader Joe’s of the world because they’re doing what we want to do with our lives. Outstanding customer experiences that come from a culture designed to create those raving fans.
Ensuring Outstanding Customer Experiences Every Day
You have to know what your agents are saying to customers and, more importantly, how they’re saying it. Reviewing telephone interactions on a regular basis can reveal a great deal about your agents and lay a framework for the training and coaching that will develop them into consistent creators of outstanding customer experiences.
Call recording and monitoring software allows you to capture incoming voice and data, save it easily for future use, secure it from harm and run QA tests for training. Supervisors and agents work together to develop skills and catalog performance improvements over time. Customers benefit. Everyone wins.
Versadial’s first call recording solution was born in 1998. Since then, we’ve built our own raving fan following across industries including government, manufacturing, telecommunications, call centers, public safety, financial services and many others. Versadial Solutions is proud to offer flexible, adaptable, and affordable call recording software to a variety of industries. Schedule your live demo today.
Last Updated on January 31, 2019