Published: October 06, 2015 | Comments
Successful companies are much more than just the products and services they provide. How they interact with customers, from the initial introduction through to any issues that may arise, can often have a very real impact on profitability. Understanding how customer facing-employees represent the company’s brand in every point of contact can drive enterprise-wide improvements and provide a significant competitive advantage to savvy businesses.
The ultimate goal should be to empower agents to be more than just hired help. They are strategic assets and potential strategic brand ambassadors. Every time they interact with a customer, it should provide the highest level of value as efficiently as possible.
To accomplish this, they need to be fully engaged in the business, with a full understanding of everything available to the customer. They should know the customer’s journey up to that point in time and be able to predict where they need to go next. This requires a holistic approach on everyone’s part – treating the customer experience as a journey rather than just a transaction.
How does a company go about instilling this big-picture approach into its employee culture? By providing everyone involved with the information, tools and training they need to give customers the best customer experience possible.
Understanding the Customer Experience
It begins with understanding what the total customer experience looks like today. This knowledge will provide the base upon which positive change can occur. It can be as simple as addressing a few basic questions, including:
- What are employees doing during a typical customer interaction? Are they following policies and procedures? Are they using all of the tools available to them?
- Is staffing adequate? Are there times when there are too few or too many employees for the job at hand?
- How much effort goes into servicing a customer request? Are customers or employees taking steps they shouldn’t have to?
- Are there common roadblocks that can be removed from the typical customer interaction?
- How do customer interactions differ between channels such as the web site and in store sales? How often do customers move from one to the other and why?
- Are there best practices in one area of the company that might apply to others?
Much of this information is readily available in the form of billing histories, online and offline order records, service reports and much more. Focused surveys and studies can provide even more crucial data. Automated and intelligent desktop services can simplify this process, creating a “snapshot” of the holistic customer experience that makes it much easier to move to the next step.
Three Ways to Improve Profitability Through Knowledge
Once you have a better understanding of how your employees interact with customers, you can take a strategic approach to improving that experience in ways that have positive direct and indirect impacts on your company’s profitability.
There are three key areas you should look at
1. Automation of Routine Tasks
Chances are, agents in most companies are spending more than half of their time with customers dealing with simple repetitive tasks, such as recording contact information or other data that already exists in the database. By connecting every desktop across the enterprise and using robotic automation tools to handle more routine tasks, an enterprise can free up more of the agent’s time to focus on value added customer interactions, including upselling premium services and resolving any issues faster and more efficiently.
2. Providing Better Information through Desktop Intelligence
Connecting desktops and systems company-wide does more than just eliminate repetitive tasks, however. It gives agents access to important information faster and easier. With a better understanding of the customer’s journey with the company so far, the agent has a much better chance of predicting their needs and guiding them to the resources, products and services you are trying to sell. It creates a better customer service experience.
3. Training Agents to Perform Higher Value Tasks
With a more informed workforce that has more time to provide real customer value, companies can begin to focus on growth initiatives through advanced training. This transition allows for a true holistic approach to business in which all employees are focused on the same goals and, both directly and indirectly, support the efforts of others in the company.
Not only does this employee advancement further improve the overall customer experience, but it potentially strengthens employee loyalty and engagement.
The Importance of an Engaged Workforce
A customer’s journey defines their impression of your company, and, with it, their willingness to continue doing business with you. When employees are fully engaged in the business, rather than just performing tasks and collecting a paycheck, they will provide a better customer service experience.
By providing them with the tools and training they need to act as strategic brand ambassadors more efficiently, companies can drive profitability in new ways, offer better service to existing customers and set themselves apart from the competition.