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Guest Blog: 4 Easy Ways to Achieve Difficult Customer Contact Goals

This week we feature an article by Brian Cantor who gives us a list of ways to achieve success and consistency when communicating with customers on any channel. – Shep Hyken

Making for a jointly admirable and problematic reality, the customer contact community often takes a lofty, wide-eyed approach to strategy and technology.

Given the importance of competing on the customer experience, the idealistic approach is an encouraging sign. Today’s thought leaders and customer contact professionals clearly understand the importance of delivering exceptional experiences. They clearly view the CX function as an opportunity rather than an unavoidable cost.

Unfortunately, idealism too often becomes the enemy of action. If the ambition is too broad, the organization will struggle to determine the first step – and ultimately refrain from taking any action. If the vision is too aggressive, the organization will struggle to achieve results in the short-term – and lose faith in the endeavor.

This briefing will help you avoid those pitfalls. It reveals specific, immediate steps for achieving the lofty, high-level objectives that have the community buzzing. By taking these actions, you will achieve “quick wins” and position your organization for valuable long-term transformation.

Goal: Improve Customer Loyalty

Task: Remove one “no” from your vocabulary

The best policies and procedures do not compel agents to say no to certain customers. They instruct agents on why and how to say yes.

Do all your processes fall under the latter umbrella? If not, it is time to make a change.

To begin, identify the situation in which your agents most commonly say “no” to customers. This may involve your return policy, your strategy for handling missed flights, or your interest in repairing products after the warranty expires.

Upon identifying the problematic policy, devise a way in which you can more frequently say yes.

Whether this involves altering the policy or empowering agents to ignore the terms in certain situations, the move will result in more harmonious interactions – and more loyal customers.

Goal: Improve Agent Satisfaction

Task: Measure Agent Effort

When speaking about the agent experience, thought leaders often focus on parties, fun work environments, and elaborate compensation structures.

Actual customer contact agents, however, prioritize something else: the effort required to perform their work.

Agents obviously value bright contact centers and great salaries, but their daily happiness hinges far more greatly on systems and processes. Are the tools easy to use? Can they solve a customer’s problem without jumping through numerous hoops?

Reducing agent frustration is indeed the most surefire way to boost agent satisfaction, and measuring agent effort is a crucial first step in that process.

By establishing metrics for factors like “time spent in the knowledge base,” “screens to resolution,” or “questions to authentication,” you will learn what agents experience when supporting customers. This knowledge will, in turn, allow you to optimize backend tools and technologies.

Goal: Adopt Chatbots

Task: Identify a “gap” in the customer experience journey

Customer-centric organizations do not invest in chatbots for the sake of “keeping up with the Joneses.” They invest to meaningfully improve the customer experience.

The proper first step therefore involves identifying a clear pain point or efficiency gap within the customer engagement journey.

As an example, evaluate abandonment within your web self-service channels. If the abandonment rate is disproportionately high for a particular form of transaction, an opportunity for a bot may exist.

Alternatively, dissect average handle time for your agents’ phone conversations. If the majority of handle time for a particular issue is spent on “qualification” rather than “resolution” or “connection,” the issue is likely a simple transaction that does not benefit from a live agent conversation. A bot may be the optimal support mechanism.

Goal: Delivering a Consistent, Omnichannel Experience

Task: Define greatness within each channel

In reality, the first step to creating an omnichannel experience is to fully integrate all contact channels. Customers and organizations agree that the ability to seamlessly span channels is the hallmark of the omnichannel revolution. Trouble spanning channels, meanwhile, ranks as one of the biggest customer experience pain points.

That recommendation is, of course, the epitome of a cliché. You – and all your customer contact peers – understand the importance of eliminating channel silos. Inactivity is therefore not a question of awareness but a question of capability. If you are unable to invest in the technology needed to support seamlessness, it is not going to happen.

You can, however, embrace the omnichannel revolution without revamping your technology framework. You simply need to turn your attention to another tenet of the omnichannel experience: consistency.

In this case, consistency does not mean that the experience should be the same in every channel. A live chat interaction is obviously never going to mirror a voice conversation, which is obviously never going to mirror a social media thread. Consistency instead refers to a singular, on-brand commitment to customer centricity. No matter where or why they interact, customers should sense the same passion for understanding and resolving their issue.

To achieve that consistency, define “greatness” within each channel. Using the journey map, analytics and voice of the customer data, identify the specific factors that drive satisfaction within each channel.

No, this process will not seamlessly connect all your channels. It will, however, yield an experience that is valuable whenever or wherever customers choose to connect.

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JOIN US IN NASHVILLE THIS JANUARY FOR CUSTOMER CONTACT WEEK!

Customer Contact Week focuses on the best tools and strategies to achieve your organization’s customer contact goals. This year, CCW is celebrating 20 years in the industry, kicking off the celebration January 15-18 at the JW Marriott in Nashville, TN. See why 550+ industry executives are joining us: view more event information.

If you have any questions or would like the CCW Nashville event agenda sent to you directly, email info@customermanagementpractice.com .

Brian Cantor is the Principal Analyst for the Customer Management Practice. Brian leads all customer experience, contact center, technology and employee engagement research initiatives. Citing this proprietary research, Brian authors CMP’s series of special reports. Additionally, he serves as managing editor and director for CCW Digital, which is the largest web publication and community for customer experience professionals.

For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.

Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Is A Subscription Model In Your Company’s Future? It Had Better Be!

 

 

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