Trained Agents Translate Into Customer Retention
Is it any wonder companies are waking up to the power of the customer experience? When customers calculate whether they had a good experience with your company, one-third of their decision will be based on what was actually done. The remaining two-thirds of their opinion relates to how it felt – how you made them feel…the experience itself (from The Effortless Experience).
For some management personnel, it all may sound a bit wishy-washy. The fact remains, traditional customer service models of the 90’s and 00’s are yielding to consumer pressures. With every passing day, customers are more knowledgeable, and they have faster access to more information. They want – and expect – answers quicker, and without too much effort on their part. After all, they are paying you for the product or service.
The Cost of Bad Customer Service
The cost of delivering a bad – or even mediocre – experience is high. According to CSIA research, 68% of survey respondents moved their business elsewhere after a bad service experience. More than 50% say they’d demand evidence that customer service had improved before returning. And 27% indicated that once their business is lost, it is lost forever. Winning back this lost business (and your reputation) is extremely costly. I’m fairly certain that this is a price you don’t want to pay.
What is a Positive Customer Experience?
From the company perspective, customer experience is about making the customer feel valued, and feeling heard. It involves not only building a relationship, but also delivering the right product or service for your customer. To determine what solutions are best-suited requires engagement with the customer, and that engagement will count for the bulk (two-thirds, remember?) of their opinion of your brand.
In a previous post, I referenced Moz Iqbal’s post (Customer Experience: The Road Less Travelled) on how “insanely-good customer service” flows from the CEO downward. He also mentions in the post, though, that it’s a mindset that has to permeate every aspect of an operation, including how the company is organized, how it operates, and what processes it uses.
Great customer service may be a mantra that flows down from the top, but it’s the call center agents, customer service representatives, sales personnel, installers and others with face- (or phone-) time that have the task of transforming it into reality.
Turnover: Your Customer Reps Are Ice Skaters
One of the critical challenges standing in the way of a positive customer experience is high turnover among customer-facing employees.
Think of those employees as ice skaters. Ice skaters, as we all know, are judged on both their technical and artistic abilities. Once skaters master the technical aspects, they work on their artistic program.
For customer reps being able to provide a consistently excellent customer experience is sort of like training to get a great artistic score, once they’ve developed the ‘technical’ customer service mechanics.
The challenge is that it takes time to train agents to deliver that good “artistic” experience. If you have a high turnover in customer reps it will negatively impact your ability to consistently deliver that experience. Curbing your turnover rates will allow your organization the time it needs to properly train and support your staff.
Training and Coaching Customer-Facing Team Members
So yes – I am going to say it again – the processes must be in place to train agents to deliver a positive customer engagement. They can’t deliver on your customer’s experience unless they have the support (coaching) and training necessary.