BLOG: Engaged customers typically make regular purchases, give helpful feedback and remain loyal to brands – boosting customer lifetime value. Here are five strategies designed to improve engagement by delivering better service experiences:
1. Ensure you fully understand customer ‘techspectations’
By allowing customers to contact you when they need to, and on the channel that’s most convenient to them, not only do you meet their immediate needs and technological expectations (‘techspectations’), but you also increase the likelihood of building long term brand loyalty. So provide extensive communications channel choice (in the form of voice, email, web chat, SMS, mobile, and social media) and ensure you deliver consistent service quality across these channels. Also, when selecting a multi-channel technology platform for your business, ensure it can empower contact centre agents by giving them visibility of a customer’s service history across all channels.
2. Apply intelligent routing to all customer contacts
Make every interaction count by using intelligent contact routing to connect people to the right resource – live or automated – regardless of how they make contact. Avoid having to ask customers to repeat information during the whole contact routing and identification & verification process. If they provide information into an IVR, for example, don’t ask them to give it to an agent too. Not only will this more professional, secure and personal approach reassure customers that you value them and their business, it will also significantly reduce call handling times.
3. Empower employees to deliver ‘personalised service’
As we all know, a good customer experience depends largely on the performance of front-line agents. So empower them to deliver truly personalised service experiences by avoiding heavily scripted responses and enable them to tailor their responses to deliver service that’s in the best interests of the customer. Support agents with coaching/training and educational materials and solicit their feedback and ideas. And give them more control over their working day by empowering them to self-select shifts & holidays and create their own continual learning journeys. By creating an environment where employees are more gratified, motivated and creative, you will not only greatly improve employee satisfaction, but also improve performance and service quality. Remember, every interaction a customer has with your brand affects their experience and shapes their outlook, so even the smallest of negative interactions could impact their overall impression of your business. When true customer service becomes the responsibility of your whole company, you will start to see the rewards of customer-centric collaboration.
4. Obtain customer and employee feedback across 360 degrees – and act on it!
Always listen to what your customers are saying. Allow them to express their opinions, ideas & concerns at every opportunity and ensure you can effectively process the information they provide and track the results. When presenting feedback surveys, have the courage to ask the questions that you may fear the answers to and use technology to assist wherever sensible. Use outbound calls, IVR and emails, for example, to actively survey customers immediately following service interactions – and monitoring tools to help observe what customers are saying on social media. Also collect regular feedback from employees. This insight can be invaluable given that they are the people who deal with your customers on a day-to-day basis. So book in an hour a week to make notes on your employees’ feedback, and update them on the progress of initiatives that they suggest. Encouraging this form of two-way communication and giving employees regular feedback on their performance and development will enhance staff engagement and ultimately increase employee retention and improve service quality.
5. Proactively manage the whole customer journey
The modern-day customer is always connected and expects service whenever, wherever and on whatever device they choose. They also expect organisations to know about them, and their requirements, regardless of the journeys they take – which may cover various departments, channels and touch points. To ensure you fully understand your customer’s journey – from the time they first land on your web site, to the day they register as a customer, to the day they renew contracts – make sure that your various technology systems and services can talk to each other and share information. Identify the connections between interactions. And develop a ‘single view of the customer’ across channels, time and multiple services. This approach will allow you to route incoming contacts more intelligently, improve processes, speed up service delivery, enhance service quality, cut costs and enable proactive customer-managed journeys. The more you understand your customers and their journeys, the more you can provide a tailored experience – and optimise your customer service levels.
By Martin Taylor, Director and Co-founder, Content Guru