No matter the service, product or industry, consumers have plenty of options when it comes to the organizations in which they put their trust. In this digital world where consumers have more choice and higher service expectations than ever before, customer experience is a powerful differentiator.
So how do we, as CX organizations, embrace customer experience as a competitive advantage? More importantly, how do we earn and keep the trust of our customers to create lifelong loyalty?
It all starts with empowering the most critical CX resource we have — our people.
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When a customer contacts a company for support, they expect several things: to be known, to be understood, and for their problem to be resolved quickly.
Empathetic and engaged employees are key components for all three. As Michael Bair, Senior Director of Customer Experience for Inspire says, “A great customer experience starts with hiring the right people to provide it.”
Engaged employees who feel empowered to make decisions on how to best serve customers are the secret weapon of the world’s best CX organizations. Armed with technology that puts customer context at their fingertips, these employees combine empathy with technology to elevate ordinary service experiences into CX “magic moments.”
What questions are you asking in your interview process? If your hiring decisions hinge entirely on the metrics-driven “black and white” and fail to consider the human connection, no amount of training or technology can fill the empathy gap created as a result.
– CX Secret Sauce
You’ve hired the right people and you have the right technology in place. Now what? Many organizations make the mistake of allowing the two to operate in a vacuum, hoping they collide from time to time, igniting some CX sparks. World-class CX organizations use the psychology of human behavior to fuel how they use technology.
Start at square one. Are your employees happy? Be brutally honest. Many companies are asking themselves this question, taking some of the investment they make in exploring customer happiness to first determine what makes their employees happy.
Kendall Burke, Customer Happiness Manager at Acuity Scheduling, is devoted to the science behind employee happiness as it relates to customer experience. “I’ve spent a lot of time researching the science of happiness and implementing ideas at Acuity to maintain a happy workplace and happy employees,” Kendall says. “After all, you can’t instill happiness in a customer if you don’t have happiness in yourself, right?” Before you dismiss the question as “fluff,” consider this: happy, engaged employees have been proven to boost sales by up to 20%, compared to their bummed-out, burnt-out counterparts.
The psychology of CX extends beyond sales. No one understands this better than Patrick Pianezza, Division Director of Patient Experience at Sutter Health. He believes that humanizing the customer experience is something we must universally embrace as… well, humans. “Do you ever notice that we tend to label consumers depending on the industry? In healthcare they are “patients”, in travel they are “guests”, in legal they are “clients” and so on. We have to rediscover the ability to create authentic human connections and empathy to remove meaningless barriers and return to the responsibility of caring for and about people.”
Kathy Hutchens, the VP of Marketing and Patient Contact Center, at Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Centers has seen the difference a people-first approach makes. She says, “You never know what situation you will encounter when you come into work and put on that headset each day. You may be someone’s only contact with the outside world that day, or you may have to jump into action to provide emergency assistance. That’s why each team member is dedicated to providing an extraordinary experience to every single person — every time — and they never underestimate the difference they make.”
It doesn’t matter if your team is selling widgets, providing technical support, offering legal advice or offering medical assistance — the truth is universal. Happy people help people. They make a difference. They create Magic Moments: Amazing Customer Experiences.
Give your agents the tools they need to be successful, and then give them the freedom to make a difference.
If you’d like to hear more from Michael, Kendall, Patrick and, Kathy, join us at Opentalk18 on November 7th and 8th for their panel “What Makes Magic Moments? The Art & Science of Customer Experience.”