Do you know who your customers are? Even if you can group them demographically, it’s likely that each group has specific traits and ways of communicating. What customers have experienced earlier in their day can also impact their mood when they call in.
While discussing the weather and chit chat might work well for one group, to another it may just be annoying. Some customers want guidance and hand holding through processes. Others just want to get things done as quickly as possible.
If you want to deliver a personalised customer service you need to get to know who your customers are and what is important to them. It is not just enough for agents to build rapport. To personalise the customer experience they need to be flexible enough to adapt their style to each individual caller so that they can bind them in terms of loyalty to your business.
If you ask a group of people to each name one brand they love and one brand they loathe, you may be surprised at the answers. Every time I’ve done this exercise the same brands tend to show up on both sides. People usually have very personal reason why they like or dislike a brand, and it is usually based on a customer experience. What this highlights is that customer experience can define how people see your business.
A bad customer experience could be very damaging. A good customer experience can build customer loyalty and retention. It can help your business save thousands on marketing efforts if you are retaining customers and getting positive reviews from them.
Now for a few insider tips hot from my eMasterclass at http://www.catli.co.uk that can help you deliver a more personalised customer experience:
Develop Customer Profiles
Select a few agents to sit with the marketing department and profile some of the customer groups. The marketing department should already have some demographics and customer information available.
The contact centre agents can provide more detailed insights from their personal experiences in dealing with customers. They can share how customers responded to certain questions or prompts. They can also share stories on some of the different customer personalities they’ve dealt with.
Not every customer is the same and they usually don’t want to feel “processed” like robots. If a customer has a concern or query, they want to be heard. Train agents in how to listen, and then interpret and evaluate before responding. This is really important. Most people listen and respond, but don’t take the time to interpret or evaluate what is being said before they respond.
A customers tone is one of the first clues to offering a personalised customer experience. Someone who is angry or upset doesn’t want to hear an agent reciting a script, they want to be heard and they want their problem resolved. Train and empower agents to be able to respond to calls in a way that is personal, empathetic and that engages with the customer.
Give Customers Choices
People are happier if they can make their own choices. This is where technology can play a huge role in personalising the customer experience.
For example: If a customer is being forced to stay on the line or lose their place in the queue they can become resentful. But if they are given an option to leave a message so someone can call them back or wait, and they made the choice to wait for themselves, they feel happier about it.
Does your routing system give your customer simple and clear choices that send them to the right agent who can help them with their query? It can be frustrating for both customers and agents if their calls keep ending up in the wrong place.
Do your agents have the option to give customers a choice? Choosing whether to pay in a lump sum or by instalments for example? Deciding whether to hold or be called back while the agent investigates is another simple choice, or choosing to have the information sent in an email – it all personalises the experience because it means the customer is choosing the next steps and exerting some control over the experience. However if your agents can’t make outbound calls or use other channels then this is going to limit the options.
A well integrated CRM system can help agents provide a more personalised customer experience. For example: If customers key in some personal details while they hold, agents can pull up their call or purchase history. This will help agents prepare for the call and serve customers better, they won’t have to repeat themselves. Asking how they enjoyed past purchases is a great way to build loyalty but it can’t be done if your agents can’t see the data.
Give your top performers a budget they can use to creatively solve customer queries. This will enable them to organise small gifts or gestures that customers will appreciate. A personalised card, some flowers or something else the customer might like. Thoughtful personalised gestures are rare in the corporate world and can really bind customer’s loyalty to your business.
Evaluate the corporate culture of the contact centre
Is the primary focus on targets and metrics? Or are agents encouraged to focus on the customers first? Certainly targets need to be met, but only focusing on the numbers can take the joy out of the job. Focusing on customers makes the job more exciting because there so many more dimensions to people.
Even training on identifying the types of customers calling in according to group profiles can be a fun exercise. Learning how to identify tone of voice in the first 10 seconds of a call is another way to help agents tune into being customer focused.
A personalised customer experience is about making the person feel valued. They may exhibit positive behaviour or negative behaviour. That shouldn’t influence how agents respond to them. Instead of labelling some customers as difficult to deal with, replace that with the word different. Just by changing how you think about a customer can help you have a more positive approach or response to them.
These are just a few tips on how to personalise your customer experience. A more detailed step by step guide can be found on my eMasterclass on How to Personalise your Customer Experience at http://www.catli.co.uk
Free Bonus! If you’d like to know more see my free webinar at www.contactcentresuccess.com for more easy wins to improve the performance of your contact centre.