Training your Agents to Deliver a Customer Experience, not just Customer Service


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customer experience Training your Agents to Deliver a Customer Experience, not just Customer ServiceThere is a lot of talk about the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence and how impor­tant it is for com­pa­nies to deliver an expe­ri­ence, not just ser­vice. We still hear the ques­tion being asked about the dif­fer­ence between the two and how it impacts train­ing. Let’s take a deeper look at what the dif­fer­ence between Ser­vice and Expe­ri­ence is, why it mat­ters, and how you can pre­pare you agents to deliver BOTH!

Some­times we’ll hear cus­tomer ser­vice and cus­tomer expe­ri­ence used inter­change­ably, which is prob­a­bly what leads to some con­fu­sion. An easy anal­ogy to explain the dif­fer­ence is to think of a jig­saw puz­zle. Each piece of the puz­zle rep­re­sents the many ways that a cus­tomer may inter­act with your com­pany. One piece might rep­re­sent live-chat, another might rep­re­sent a bricks-and-mortar store, another may be a tech­ni­cal con­ver­sa­tion with an agent, and another may be a social media cam­paign. Each piece of the puz­zle may include a cus­tomer ser­vice com­po­nent, but only when the whole puz­zle is put together does it rep­re­sent the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.  Every piece is impor­tant and inter­con­nected, and if a piece goes miss­ing, then the whole is compromised.

Once a clear under­stand­ing between ser­vice and expe­ri­ence is estab­lished it’s eas­ier to develop a train­ing strat­egy that empow­ers agents to deliver both.  An expe­ri­ence can’t be deliv­ered until the orga­ni­za­tion has estab­lished a clear mis­sion of what it hopes and expects a cus­tomer expe­ri­ence to be. Cre­at­ing a cus­tomer expe­ri­ence that keeps cus­tomers return­ing to a brand or prod­uct requires inward focus and con­stant con­nec­tion with cus­tomers to gauge how they feel about their experience.

When the over­ar­ch­ing goals of the expe­ri­ence are set out, it is eas­ier to tai­lor train­ing for agents and employ­ees on how they are inte­gral in pro­vid­ing the type of ser­vice that feeds into the over­all expe­ri­ence. You might be scratch­ing your head and think­ing that if agents are doing a good job of deliv­er­ing cus­tomer ser­vice, then aren’t the cus­tomers receiv­ing a good expe­ri­ence? If only it were this easy! In today’s hyper-competitive envi­ron­ment where orga­ni­za­tions are often vying for the same cus­tomer and are only mar­gin­ally dif­fer­ent from their com­pe­ti­tion, only those orga­ni­za­tions that map out clear strate­gies for deliv­er­ing a net pos­i­tive cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, are the ones that will out­last the com­pe­ti­tion.   A sober­ing sta­tis­tic laid out in a report by Bain & Com­pany is that 80% of com­pa­nies believe they are deliv­er­ing a pos­i­tive cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, while only 8% of cus­tomers feel this way. Although this report is a few years old, it serves as an impor­tant reminder as to the impor­tance of gath­er­ing direct feed­back from cus­tomers so they can tell you how you’re really doing. Knowl­edge is power and when you learn from your cus­tomers you can bet­ter train your employees.

Let’s focus on four ways you can enhance train­ing to ensure excep­tional cus­tomer ser­vice that sup­ports excep­tional experiences.

  1. Empowerment—This is more than a feel-good buzz­word. There are lots of data show­ing that when employ­ees are empow­ered to help cus­tomers in a per­son­al­ized man­ner, it’s a win-win. Empow­er­ment goes beyond moti­va­tional posters on the wall.  For employ­ees to truly be empow­ered to ser­vice the cus­tomer, they need pro­to­cols, bound­aries, feed­back and encour­age­ment.  There is no one-size-fits-all approach to empow­er­ment, each orga­ni­za­tion will have its own tol­er­ance and expec­ta­tions, but there is ample evi­dence show­ing that when employ­ees are empow­ered to do right by the cus­tomer and are account­able for their actions, then bet­ter cus­tomer ser­vice and expe­ri­ences are delivered.
  1. Per­son­al­ize the Care—Customers are los­ing patience for scripted ser­vice. When agents can con­nect on a more per­sonal level with cus­tomers, they are more likely to get to the root of the issue and look for ways to quickly and ade­quately address the prob­lem or con­cern. In a 2013 sur­vey con­ducted by inCon­tact, they found that users value per­son­al­ized ser­vice more than brand loyalty.
  1. Wow ‘Em—Customers remem­ber “WOW”, not “Meh”. This doesn’t mean that every agent needs to pro­vide cus­tomers a dog-and-pony show after each inter­ac­tion, but train­ing and empow­er­ing (there’s that word again) agents to deliver a “wow” fac­tor, when appro­pri­ate, goes a long ways toward cus­tomer reten­tion.
  1. Fix it the First Time—First Call Res­o­lu­tion (FCR) rates are becom­ing more impor­tant for cre­at­ing pos­i­tive cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. When a cus­tomer can receive an answer or get assis­tance in one phone or live-chat con­ver­sa­tion, they are more likely to be sat­is­fied. Of course, there are instances where address­ing a customer’s prob­lem requires more than one con­tact, and if this is the case, then com­mu­ni­ca­tion is key.

Going back to our puz­zle anal­ogy, if your orga­ni­za­tion wants to deliver excep­tional cus­tomer expe­ri­ences, it will see that each piece is an impor­tant part of the whole. A puz­zle isn’t com­plete until all the pieces are fit together.  The same goes for deliv­er­ing great cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. Cus­tomer expe­ri­ences don’t just hap­pen, they are cre­ated. Devel­op­ing an over­all strat­egy for the expe­ri­ence and then deliv­er­ing with great ser­vice makes for a fin­ished puzzle.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jodi Beuder
We help organizations create a positive connection between customers and brands. We promote synergy through integration as it builds on the decades of collective history of renowned expertise. MHI Global is your comprehensive source for customer-management excellence solutions to compete in today's ever-changing, customer-centric environment.


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