Dick Bourke of Scorebuddy shares his practical advice for how contact centre agents can create an emotional connection with customers.
The path to business success and growth is paved with quality customer experiences (CXs).
CX is arguably the #1 proven way to positively impact revenue, especially over the long term. If a customer is not satisfied along each step of their journey with your company, they can very easily go elsewhere.
Competition is fierce, especially in a thriving global economy. Only companies that deliver consistently superior CX will create emotional connections that are strong enough to earn customer support.
Companies that provide an excellent customer experience are companies that understand the value of creating a genuine emotional bond with customers. These same committed companies outshine the competition by taking a powerful stand to differentiate themselves by dedicating resources to call centre agent training, measurement, and management.
The implementation of a company’s CX initiatives cannot be left to chance. For maximum results, each moment should be monitored and quantified in a way that is measurable and is tied to a direct action or actions for improvement. This begins with goal-setting, quality assurance monitoring, and agent self-scoring, and ultimately leads to creating even greater emotional connections that stand the test of time.
These opportunities for improvement along the customer journey are perhaps nowhere more prevalent than in the call centre, where conversations are happening between your company (call centre agents) and your customers.
Call centres are where the real magic at your company takes place. They provide a tremendous opportunity to solve customers’ challenges, inform customers about new products and company initiatives, spread the word about your company culture, sell or up-sell.
How Can Agents Build Their Emotional Connection With Customers?
To begin building an emotional connection with customers, call centre agent teams should look to the following – we know that customers rate quality better when agents employ these customer-oriented behaviours:
- Anticipate customer requests
- Deliver explanations and justifications
- Educate customers
- Provide emotional support
- Offer personal information
While these non-scripted communication methods are extremely effective, agents should be encouraged to build on these relationships by asking direct questions:
“How are you?” – This simple question may come back with any number of answers. Agents will immediately know if callers are in a foul mood, if they are rushed, happy, or annoyed. By paying attention to tone and other verbal cues, agents can be better equipped to manage the call in a way that results in a satisfactory outcome for the customer.
Clarifying questions – Asking clarifying questions to make sure agents understand the customer challenge is essential. Using the customer’s own words when phrasing the question will help them feel listened to and respected. This will also result in clearer overall communication between the agent and caller, resulting in faster resolution.
Elevating questions – Once the agent feels a resolution has been met, they should ask the customer if they are satisfied. This way both parties can take a step back and assess how the call went. Questions such as: “How do you feel about this solution?” or “Does this solve the issue you were having?” will give the customer the opportunity to either say yes or to be clear in saying things have not gone well, giving both caller and agent an opportunity to keep forging forward until a satisfactory resolution is met.
The key way call centre agents and customer service representatives can help customers is through managing emotions in a positive way. This may sound like a huge undertaking, but at its core, it is about listening, asking the right questions, and listening some more. A little empathy goes a long way when it comes to providing excellent customer service.
The customer journey does not typically follow a simple path. There may be bumps along the way, challenges that require quick resolutions, up-sell opportunities that might enhance their experience. Many of these touchpoints occur between customers and call centre agents, so agents must be prepared to engage customers with empathy and understanding, always with the goal of creating an emotional connection.
The most impactful and effective call centres will train their agents on listening and mitigation skills. They will know what questions to ask when. They will not use a script, but they will be direct. They will rephrase the customer’s words so that the customer feels understood. They will be empathetic and check in at the end of the call to ensure that the result is satisfactory to the customer.
The best part is that these interactions can be measured and quantified for improvement. No agent, manager, or company needs to guess at how effectively a call or call centre is performing. Performance baselines may be set and benchmarked against to measure continuous improvement and risk opportunities.
Scorebuddy is a solution that monitors the quality of call centre agent performance and is a key factor in improving the customer journey through CX.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of Scorebuddy – View the original post
To find out more about Scorebuddy, visit their website.