Published: September 09, 2013 | Comments
Treat every call as a one-time opportunity for you to demonstrate that you understand the needs of your customer. If you don’t measure up, they’ll take their business elsewhere. In a study conducted by inContact and Harris Interactive, we found that a quarter of U.S. adults don’t feel loyalty toward any specific brand. It’s less about your product and more about your ability to promise excellent customer service and deliver – take that one-time opportunity to wow the customer.
Impress your callers with how quickly you can understand and meet their needs. In the Age of the Customer, this should be a given. But to provide top-notch customer service you need to implement a true Voice of the Customer program (VoC), and your agents are central to its success.
Results from the VoC program can be a great tool in agent training, especially when you are coaching them to listen and respond empathetically to callers. Context is everything. During the onboarding process, help agents to understand why these qualities are important. By listening to real customer interactions, agents learn to hone in on customer needs and ways to be more conversational and accommodating. Have small group training days with a coach for practice and individual role playing.
The VoC program influences how well agents perform when the training wheels are off. Are they confident in handling calls efficiently while listening, and empathizing? This adds up to an authentic interaction that doesn’t sound scripted. Reviewing good calls and rocky calls with individual agents can help them learn ways to perform better. Commerce Bank relies on the inContact ECHO customer satisfaction survey tool which allows them to tie survey results to specific agents. This allows the bank to create report cards for each individual agent so they can see how they’re doing, and incentivize them to work even harder at delivering the highest possible level of service.
These strategies are your foundation. Build on that by developing a cross department/cross functional Customer Loyalty Team (CLT). In some contact centers, operations might resist the idea because they don’t see the direct relationship to efficiency or revenue, but they’re missing the big picture. A dedicated CLT owns customer retention and building customer satisfaction. They accomplish this by enhancing agent expertise. They might take the quality feedback and use it to create coaching and training to elevate soft skills, product knowledge and system knowledge.
If the operations team is still hesitant, the best buy in comes from proof of concept. Negotiate a pilot program and evaluate the cost savings associated with having a coach focused on empowering the agents. Involve key stakeholders and evaluate the program after 30 days.
Agent training, monitoring, and a CLT are integral to a successful VoC program. In a customer-centric landscape, one of the best investments you can make is in the people who will be serving your customer. Contact Center Project Manager at Commerce Bank Ann Bronson, says the creation of report cards and a recognition program has brought significant changes. “Our agents now have a vested interest in our customer satisfaction surveys,” she says. The impact of implementing a successful VoC program with a focus on your agents results in a seismic shift toward improved customer retention and satisfaction.
Read the case study about inContact customer Commerce Bank.
Watch a video from inContact customer Piedmont Natural Gas about their VoC Program.