Empowering your customer-facing employees is a vital link in bridging the gulf between CEM strategy and execution.
According to Kerry Bodine, leading CEM expert who will be speaking at the upcoming Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA this month, “customer experience innovation happens where you create the link between consumer needs, your business model, and your brand.”
That empowerment starts with the contact center staff.
Customer service representatives are a vital link to the customer. Through the way they exercise their talents, knowledge and resources, they are uniquely positions to influence customer perceptions of their business. Here is why:
People are the Front-Line Defense to the Customers.
Treat them with respect. Too often, interactions that start our positively deteriorate when the customer learns that the person at the other end of the line can’t solve his or her problem. When you are looking at making improvements, start by involving your employees so they understand the value of implemented technology and strategies.
For example, to perform well, a staff member must remember, understand and correctly apply the processes, business domain and product training. They must adhere to policies, practices and regulations. And they must adapt to regular or even changes in products, services and processes and modify their approach accordingly. All of this dependence is placed on a group of people who often paid the lowest wages and may have limited education and experience.
By asking the people whom are affected by business-wide changes, at the very least you have an open and honest discussion with them about the issue and its effects. This gives context to the improvements and your front-line staff will at least then have an understanding of why certain changes are being made.
People Need Visibility to Engage with Each Other across Multiple Channels.
Customers communicate with contact centers in many ways and if that customer can’t get hold of you when they need to, you could lose them forever. The telephone remains the number-one choice for interacting and email remains the second most popular. The fastest-growing channels are instant messaging and Web self-service.
Customer expectations are the same across all these channels. Consumes can expect to wait hours or even days for an email response. This does not contribute to a winning customer experience. Many contact centers route email queries to a third-party who may have limited knowledge of the problem at hand.
To effectively deliver consistence experiences across multiple channels, the technology for enabling Customer Experience Management (CEM) must provide a common inbox for multiple channels. Employees need visibility across channels so that if a customer called three days ago and emailed yesterday, the employee can acknowledge and respond appropriately.
People Need to the Proper Technology to Interact with Customers.
Failure to do so can result in these three diminished customer satisfaction. When the reasons for poor service in the contact center is due to a messy desktop, bloated processes or lack of guidance, especially in complex conversations where the employee is left to sort through the best options for the customers, this can indicate an upgrade in currently implemented technology needs upgraded.
Technology tools such as knowledge bases, intelligent agent guidance and process automation are critical in leading employees to a successful resolution, even if he or she does not personally processes the knowledge to resolve an issue. Entrusting and guiding staff to make modest, pre-defined and pre-approved concessions or offers can go a long way in maintaining and growing customer loyalty.
These tried-and-true methods could improve your relationships with your customers. How would you build a customer experience strategy to engage, inspire and guide? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.