It used to be that the quality of product and services was the primary customer focus, but today you can add another factor of equal importance – a great customer experience. Just as the word "experience" implies, people want to feel good about their interactions with the business from beginning to end. They want quality, consistency, attention to details, and a company that has an honest and reliable brand reputation. Bottom line: They want to connect with employees who are brand ambassadors and take their job seriously.
Are YOUR employees brand ambassadors? This article will help you hire for customer satisfaction.
Personalization Still Rules
Call center employees are at the center of the customer experience. Though technology and its by-products, like chatbots, are increasingly used to assist customers, there are plenty of statistics indicating companies are still working to understand and adapt to customer needs and expectations in the digital age. Personalization clearly remains crucial to the successful customer experience.
Following are a few of the numbers that prove the point.
- Over half of consumers want a customer service response within one hour
- 76 percent of consumers think companies should understand their needs and expectations
- 33 percent of customers stopped buying from companies in 2018 because the experience did not meet their personalization expectations
- 40 percent of consumers prefer talking to a real person on the phone when they have a complex issue to resolve
- 71 percent of consumers want a consistent customer experience across all channels, but only 28 percent say they get it
- 63 percent of consumers do not mind using chatbots to get desired services, but only if they can talk to a human when they decide they need to
Now think of these statistics this way. What if your call center employees are not motivated to respond to customers fast enough? What if your customer experience includes a call center, but some of the people working in the center lack people skills and do not understand the true meaning of personalized services, which is much more than answering a phone? What if your contact center employees are unable to solve problems with alacrity and accuracy?
If the answers to the "what-if" questions are negative, your brand is harmed. You probably lose existing and potential customers. An unhappy customer or consumer goes online, usually accessing multiple social media sites or the company website, and publicly informs the world that your call center employee was slow, rude, unable to solve the problem or not knowledgeable about products and services.
Interestingly, poor customer service also creates a negative biological reaction in customers. Judith and Richard Glaser founded the Creating WE Institute to study the frequency of negative versus positive conversations and the impacts on people.
In studying the neurochemistry of conversations, they learned the brain produces more cortisol when a person experiences a negative conversation. The extra cortisol shuts down the brain's ability to think and activates, among other things, protection behaviors. As they describe it, "Conversational Intelligence" is reduced.
Technology plays a big role in enabling people with "getting even." when they experience a poor conversation with a contact center employee, They can hang up on the employee and immediately turn to social media to warn others that customer service is terrible and to not buy the company's products and services.
Centers of Influence Should Produce Positive Emotions
Call center employees are internal brand ambassadors with the power to create external brand ambassadors or loyal customers. Your talent selection process should take this into account because of its importance. Each call center or contact center person is a "center of influence" because that person has a relationship with each customer and the quality of that relationship influences consumer networking, brand reputation and customer loyalty.
A successful employee center creates a positive testimonial for your business by delivering a high quality customer experience. In turn, customers become centers of influence, expanding your market access by developing loyal customers who give positive comments and referrals.
When a customer talks about a company or their products, or uses social media to discuss their customer experience with your company, you want the person to feel emotionally positive. There is a documented chemical reaction in the brain to positive conversations. The hormone oxytocin is elevated which increases the ability to communicate and trust others.
Pre-Hire Assessments Put Job Candidates to the Test
Of course, your contact center employees are also humans, so they experience hormone changes in the brain during conversations too. How each employee manages a customer contact and reacts to the customer's responses, whether positive or negative, is crucial to determining if the influence leads to a loyal customer or a customer who actively works to keep people away.
This is one reason why pre-hire assessments are so critical to hiring the right people. You want people in your contact center who have high scores in things like the ability to:
- Meet customer needs with adeptness
- Respond appropriately to customer needs
- Provide the right level of effective customer service
- Recognize opportunities to promote product alternatives that deliver a solution bringing greater customer satisfaction
- Accurately input customer information, avoiding creating new problems and frustrating confusion
- Problem-solve and multi-task in a fast-paced environment
- Remain calm, even-tempered, sensitive and tactful
- Pay attention to details, stay goal focused and organized
- Remain motivated and enthusiastic about work
A lot is expected of contact center employees. Pre-hire simulation assessments are particularly effective at identifying strong job candidates because people are put to the test. You can see how they respond to typical work situations and whether they have the potential to become brand ambassadors and centers of influence.
Hire the right people, and you create positive customer relations one customer at a time. It is a strategy for long-term competitive success.