How CX Leaders Build Micro-Moments by Empowering Agents

Laura Bassett, Vice President of Product Marketing at NICE – All too often, when a customer proactively engages with a company to ask a question, address a problem, or make a change; they are met with friction. Difficult-to-navigate apps, long wait times, and lacklustre chat bot responses are just a few of the examples where friction ultimately creates a negative experience despite a customer being willing to engage.

For CX leaders this is a loss that can be easily reconciled by fostering micro-moments between an agent and a customer. These flashes of mutual understanding can leave customers satisfied and the agent empowered – ultimately, improving brand perception and loyalty.

Fostering micro-moments for success

Micro-moments are occurrences that happen during interactions that customers deem above and beyond what they expected, or what’s even necessary. They are intent-rich experiences where preferences are shaped – and things get done. These include:

  • Fast, efficient service that doesn’t make customers feel they’re being rushed off the chat or phone, but instead shows the agent is listening, acting, and respecting their limited time.
  • Laughter or personal interest – if the customer is in the mood. A good agent can tell the difference.
  • A giveaway when the customer’s situation is unfair (i.e., a gift card) or sending a replacement product with overnight delivery, even when not required.
  • Suggestions to buy something differently to save money or to get more for the same spending.
  • Reference to prior interactions, where appropriate.
  • Use of the right technology to solve a problem. For example, would screen sharing be more efficient?

To ensure agents can deliver successful micro-moments, they must feel empowered to make decisions within company guidelines and be given the freedom to make judgment calls on the best approach. And how is this created? By leveraging a variety of technologies that enable micro-moments and deliver instant gratification no matter the channel.

Selecting the Best Interaction Channel

Customers choose brands that can provide 24/7 support in the ways that suit them. In today’s world, this means ones that offer digital interaction channels. WhatsApp, Teams, Twitter, you name it – not just phone calls and emails. And while it may not be obvious, micro-moments could occur just as regularly in these.

For instance, pre-covid, if something went wrong with your laptop, most employees could walk over to the IT department for assistance. You now need to email, raise tickets, have phone calls, ship off laptops, wait for parts that you replace yourself, etc.

However, what about when you WhatsApp or use Teams to call IT, they then take control of your screen and solve the problem? Now add the IT support being nice to you and building a personal relationship as well as referencing prior interactions. This is where real satisfaction occurs.

As another example, let’s say while on your call with IT, the agent – Patrick – asks you what your hobbies are, and you say singing. The problem is solved but three months pass, and you experience a similar issue. You email IT and instantly Patrick is assigned to you. He knows you have experienced this and can fix it easily. While controlling your screen, out of nowhere, he asks “how is the singing?”. Naturally, this micro-moment will bring you joy. Regardless of Patrick solving your problem, you will most likely leave the call much happier than if it was just solved or you were told “We’ll look at this and get back to you”.

These little micro-moments can be the difference between a two-star review and a five-star rave.

Micro-moments don’t only happen on live support though. Messaging platforms such as WhatsApp or texts can also provide them. Imagine this scenario – you forget that your plumber is coming to repair your faucet. You get a reminder WhatsApp message but you’re busy and need to reschedule. You’re sent a follow up message with several options to confirm or reschedule.

Worried you will be put on hold; you reply asking to reschedule. But instead, you receive a WhatsApp response with three options asking for your preferred date and time. Click and done. Another magical micro-moment.

You then receive a message instructing you to send a WhatsApp chat message if there are any problems. Unfortunately, the repair failed two days later. You follow the instructions and receive a quick call back from a live agent, who has the authority to schedule a more senior-level technician to come to your house that same day. They solve the problem permanently.

This whole experience was an excellent use of digital technology that escalated to a call with a live agent. That agent had all the context of the multi-channel interaction instantly to get the issue resolved before losing a customer.

Now consider the reality of most customers today

With IT, what if you spoke to a different agent each time who didn’t know your problem history and you had to repeat your situation? With plumbing, what if you weren’t reminded via WhatsApp, SMS, or even a call, and the plumbers arrived and you missed it completely, having to start the process of re-booking? What if the agent didn’t have the authority to send someone out?

In each case, technology, agent training, and empowerment are what enable exceptional experiences and prevent that bad review or the loss of a customer to a rival.

If you’re a CX leader and you’re not seeing CSAT scores improve, revenue increase and agent turnover rates decrease, your agents are not feeling empowered enough to deliver instant gratification. Ensure you understand your requirements and leverage enabling technologies that escalate to live agents at the right time in the customer journey.

Laura Bassett is Vice President of Product Marketing at NICE