Every contact center wants to deliver great customer service - - the kind of service that will boost satisfaction scores and contribute to loyalty. However, is this enough?
Some experts urge managers to go further, to provide added value. That is, to take what the customer expects and give them more than they expect.
Even beyond this, some managers encourage their centers to provide the kind of remarkable service that stays in the memory; an experience in which your customer has found unique value, not just added value; an experience so profound it causes people to advocate for you – to actually tell stories about you.
However, there are limitations to this. Companies cannot forgo profitability by continually upping the ante on what they provide customers. That is, an airline cannot always offer a frequent traveler an upgrade to first class. If you elevate customer’s expectations too far, you run out of room on the financial side
Fortunately, value-unique experiences don’t have to promise things that are expensive. Rather, you add something unexpected and different. While we are limited ways in which we can be generous, we are unlimited ways in which we can be ingenious.
We need to give agents room to be creative and to respond. Teach them to pay attention to the emotions of their customers, not just their questions. Then give them ideas how - - for your market and your environment - - they can take the conversation and show creativity and sparkle. Give them both the freedom and the tools to provide customers experience with charm. This isn’t always easy. As managers, we need to talk about it, think about it, obsess on it, and share our insights with our colleagues. We need to free agents to always think about the customer, to be empathetic and respond in such a way that it works. We need to use team huddles to tell stories about how the goals have been accomplished.
The kind of emotional connection described above is also enhanced when we give our agents an affinity for their customers. Ritz Carlton, for example, talks of “ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen”, which is a powerful phrase that conditions the way people will approach their jobs.
Apply this concept to your center, if possible. Could you help your agents feel a greater rapport with their customers through a similar tag line. Perhaps “Proudly and patiently serving patients” for agents for a Medicare supplemental insurance provider, or “The best people in hardware serving the best in the building trades”, or something of the sort.
Keep in mind as well that by building a sense of support from leadership and from colleagues will build agent connectedness, confidence and competence. This connectedness, and sense and caring, then gets transmitted to the customer in remarkable ways. “Stapling” leadership to empathy to service is a winning combination.
When possible, allow agents to have the customer experience themselves. Build robust role playing into training, both initial and ongoing. Have coaching include a peer component.
Once they are properly trained and comfortable with their roles, trust them. Innovation involves some risk taking, but if you have done a good job, they will make you proud and they will provide the profoundly remarkable customer service that will have people talking and will build your brand.
Tip of the day. One problem many people have making emotional connections by phone is the lack of “affect”, or modulation, in their voices. Bring in an acting coach from your local community college to help your agents explore their own voices and better understand how other people hear them. Use a tape recorder and make it fun. Actors are trained in how to convey and elicit emotions. Bring these skills into your center and see just how remarkable your service can become!
Listen to our latest CallTalk Show on Delivering Remarkable Customer Service
with Guest Host Chip Bell!
Today’s customers do not talk (remark) or tweet about good service; only experiences they find unique, special, and ingenious. Research shows value-added (taking what customers expect and adding more) will not provide a solid ROI. Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and author of several best-selling books including Take Their Breath Away, Managing Knock Your Socks off Service, and more...
CallTalk is a monthly internet radio program featuring the most innovative managers and thought leaders in the customer contact field, interviewed by BenchmarkPortal CEO, Bruce Belfiore. “Caramels” distills “Aha!” moments from these interviews into practical, bite-sized nuggets to inform and assist you as a contact center professional.