BEST PRACTICES IN DELIVERING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS

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1 BEST PRACTICES IN DELIVERING SUPERIOR CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS IMPROVING THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE IN TODAY S CONTACT CENTER SUMMARY At the heart f delivering exceptinal custmer experience is hw each interactin is handled by yur service rganizatin. Thse peple inside yur cmpany that prvide service and handle these individual interactins must nt nly have the tls and training but must als have the culture, envirnment, and attitude t deliver. In shrt, what emplyees experience n the inside f yur rganizatin directly impacts what custmers experience n the utside each time there is an interactin with yur cmpany. The challenge is t understand this interactin frm the utside-in and the inside-ut, identify what is wrking and change what s nt, using what yu have and withut breaking the bank. Over the past eighteen mnths we have gathered feedback abut delivering an utstanding custmer experience frm custmer cntact prfessinals frm tw Frst & Sullivan Custmer Cntact Executive MindXchange events and twelve Call Center Optimizatin Frums acrss the United States. This paper summarizes this feedback and identifies the practical steps that will create an utstanding and affrdable experience. MAKING CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS SUPERIOR An interactin has bth an inside-ut and an utside-in aspect t it. Viewed frm the inside, we have a cllectin f prducts and services that we wuld like t prvide a custmer. Viewed frm the utside, the custmer has needs, wants and expectatins. Internally we can usually measure the interactin empirically (Average Handle Time, Custmer Satisfactin, First Call Reslutin, etc.). The custmer is mre inclined t measure the interactin subjectively. Dr. Gerald Zaltman f the Harvard Business Schl Prfessr puts it like this: Custmers are driven mre by the subcnscius sensry and emtinal elements derived frm the ttal experience surrunding a transactin than by the tangible attributes f a prduct r service. Fr the Custmer, then, the interactin is the experience. Custmers expect yur representatives t knw their stuff, but they als want t be handled individually and with respect. Knw me. Knw my histry; anticipate why I might be calling. Dn t ffer me smething I already have r have previusly declined 2014 Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 1

2 Knw Yur Stuff. I expect yu t knw mre than I d n the subject and I expect yu t have access t the latest infrmatin Respect My Time. Handle my situatin with efficiency, d what yu say yu ll d and get it right, first time Keep Me Infrmed. Alert me t cnsequences r advise me f a better deal. Set and manage my expectatins. Studies by the TARP Grup have shwn hw the custmer experience has a dramatic impact n lyalty and the likelihd t repurchase. Accrding t the research, f the custmers that rate the experience 9 r 10 ut f 10, 86% wuld buy again at a rating f 7 r 8 ut f 10 nly 34% say they definitely wuld buy again, the same as thse claiming t be neutral r dissatisfied. (This research may als call int questin the validity f using a sliding scale t measure satisfactin if it is nly the mst satisfied that are lyal advcates there s n sense patting urselves n the back fr a 7 r 8 if it means n mre t the lifetime value f the relatinship than a scre much lwer.) Further research by the same grup als reveals that 50% f custmers dn t ever tell yu their cmplaint and f thse that d, less than 10% bring the cmplaint t a manager. D yu listen t the feedback yur assciates receive frm yur custmers? D yu have a prcess in place t cllect, analyze and respnd t the cncerns viced t yur frnt-line? What fllws is a distillatin f the discussin amng yur peers at the custmer cntact events ver the last eighteen mnths. WHAT MAKES AN INTERACTION SUPERIOR IN THE CUSTOMER S EYES? Empathy but this can t be false r scripted! It cmes frm a genuine understanding r desire t understand the custmer s situatin and is related t having First-hand knwledge. Advice is better cming frm smene that has experienced the prduct r service rather than smene that is reading frm the manual. Curtesy Tailred t the Custmer (Knw Me) Identify and fix the prblem befre the custmer knws it s a prblem (Keep Me Infrmed) if a better deal cmes available, tell me abut it. Upgrade my plan, reduce my service fees. Answered quickly and handled efficiently dn t make me repeat myself r prvide infrmatin yu have r shuld knw Persnal service speak t the same representative each time Expectatin + 1 The example shared was ne f the valets that prvided a bttle f water when they returned yur car. The pint being made was t prvide smething extra f value t the custmer but little cst t yu 2014 Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 2

3 WHAT OUR CUSTOMERS ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE Listen t calls! Have agents, supervisrs, brand managers, executives and develpers hear what the custmer says, first hand. Have the same grup f peple take calls t understand the internal challenges that agents face Custmer Surveys. There was mixed feeling n whether an incentive shuld be ffered r nt, scales f 1-10, 1-5 r just yes/n, and there was n cnsensus. What was agreed was that it shuld be clear frm the start hw many questins there wuld be and hw lng it wuld take. Listen t Agents Ask yur custmers and yur friends hw yu cmpare t yur cmpetitin. This can be dangerus in an industry that is universally pr but may prvide a perspective n the scpe f the task ahead Differentiate between the Brand and Prduct experience what, in the experience, is defined by the brand/culture experience, and what is a specific prduct? Are the tw cnsistent? QA mnitring Use Human Factrs testing t see first-hand what the custmer experiences when using yur prduct HOW DO WE ENSURE THAT THE CUSTOMER FEELS THE DIFFERENCE? Pete Winemiller, Senir Vice President f Guest Relatins f the Oklahma City Thunder, was the keynte speaker at the Frst & Sullivan s Custmer Cntact East 2010 event at which he encuraged us t d a hundred things 1% better (as ppsed t trying t d ne thing 100% better). Tell them what changed Clse lp with the custmer that identified imprvement Prvide alternatives Demnstrate a desire t slve Empwer team t serve Identify and implement change and talk abut it Better engagement Set and manage expectatins HOW DO WE MEASURE THE IMPACT OF CHANGE? Ask the custmer if they are likely t purchase frm yu again in the future. Cnsider a simple Yes/N questin and review fr this trending upward. (Review custmers that answer N and cnsider crrective actin.) 2014 Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 3

4 Lk fr dwnward trend n the mney used t save existing relatinships Lk fr upward trend n the number f new custmers referred by friends Use custmer survey data and lk fr upward trends Review scial netwrk cmmentary cncerning yur brand and prducts Lk fr upward trends in bth custmer and agent retentin THE TOP-10 The fllwing is the Tp 10 Best Practices identified by custmer cntact executives and peratins peple acrss the United States. Pick ne r tw things yu can d t build a superir custmer experience and implement them tday. 1. Arrange first-hand prduct experience fr agents. 2. Use agents as mystery shppers, nt t check n their peers, but t feel what their custmers feel and build empathy. 3. Prgram the IVR s the first ptin is t speak t a live agent OR enter the self-service channel. 4. Rute Calls via CTI rather than the ACD build business intelligence int call ruting. Fr example, give the repeat caller the ptin t speak t the same agent r escalate t a supervisr. 5. Prvide a mechanism fr agents t reprt the cmplaints and cmments they receive frm custmers and clse the lp with the agent when they are addressed. 6. Prvide a mechanism fr custmers t cntribute t prduct r service imprvement and infrm the custmer when their suggestin is implemented. 7. Meet the expectatin and then take ne step further develp an Expectatin + 1 philsphy. 8. Engage custmers in the brand experience. Let them knw what t expect and then manage t thse expectatins. Cmmunicate brand philsphy and engage the custmer in brand develpment. 9. Ask the custmer if they wuld buy frm yu again when it s apprpriate. 10. Find ut what is being said abut yur brand and prducts behind yur back in scial netwrks and news media Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 4

5 ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS Here are sme additinal questins that yu can apply t yur service center related t the peple, prcesses, and technlgy. What makes an interactin Superir in the eyes f the custmer? Is it the way the custmer is treated? Is it wh answers the call? Is it speed f service? What cntributes mst t satisfactin and retentin? Hw d we find ut what ur custmers experience? Hw d yu engineer a cnsistent experience? Tls Caching Scripts Incentives What is the impact n traditinal metrics, and des it matter? (AHT vs. OHT, FCR, CSat) Hw d yu measure the experience? What metrics shuld be used, when and by whm? Hw d yu get agents t take wnership and what is the effect? Hw d yu make the CSR feel they are part f the greater picture and it s nt just a place t get a pay check? What incentives wrk? Hw d yu kill the bredm f a repetitive jb? T what extent can these behavirs be taught? What effect des training have? What is an apprpriate frm fr training fcused n the 3-Es? What infrmatin/guidance is helpful t the CSR? What is effective frm f cmmunicatin t the CSR? 2014 Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 5

6 T what extent is the experience defined by crprate culture? Hw d yu bring cultural change frm within? Hw d yu respnd t shifting culture utside? What rle des the supervisr play and hw d yu encurage them t take wnership What help d they need? What rle des management play? Hw d yu get executive buy-in/supprt? Hw/What d yu measure these tpics? 2014 Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 6

7 NEXT STEPS Cicer ffers a cmplimentary, n-bligatin evaluatin f yur custmer service and/r back ffice wrk envirnment with ur Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Insight Assessment. Cntact us at r call us at fr mre infrmatin. ABOUT CICERO Cicer prvides desktp activity intelligence and imprvement sftware that enables cmpanies t mnitr peple, prcesses, and technlgy, t identify areas fr imprvement, and t implement change using existing technlgies. Cicer Discvery is used t cllect any activity and track business bjects acrss time and acrss multiple users as well as supprt big data initiatives by capturing the custmer jurney at varius tuch pints within an rganizatin. Cicer XM imprves cntact center and back ffice perfrmance by integrating, autmating, and presenting infrmatin. Cicer helps custmers such as Natinwide and UBS perfrm t their ptential and rapidly build enterprise value by reducing cst, imprving peratins and increasing emplyee prductivity. Learn mre at CICERO CONTACT INFORMATION Headquarters: 8000 Regency Pkwy, Suite 542, Cary, NC USA US Internatinal Cicer, Cicer XM, Cicer Discvery, United Desktp and United Data Mdel are trademarks r registered trademarks f Cicer Inc. and/r its affiliates. Other cmpany names and/r prducts are fr identificatin purpses and are the prperty f, and may be trademarks f, their respective wners Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved Cicer, Inc. All rights prtected and reserved. 7

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