A brand’s reputation for customer service can make or break customers’ decisions to give them business. Customer experience (CX) has become a buzzword for brands across sectors, and providing a high-quality CX is imperative in today’s fast-moving, low-loyalty, consumer-driven climate. Companies must differentiate themselves with a CX that makes interactions simple and seamless for the customer. Gone are the days when customers were willing, albeit begrudgingly, to repeat their account information and their issue to several agents through multiple transfers. Consumer brand-loyalty is already low and a poor CX can sound the death knell for each bad experience.
According to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) survey on brand loyalty, price and value are still king. Driving loyalty to specific retailers in 2017 are price and value with nine out of ten (92%) loyal customers ranking this the top reason, followed by product/quality (79%) and variety/selection (71%). Technology has enabled consumers to be better informed about pricing and availability. While companies can easily compete on price, quality and selection, customer service is that intangible that will push some to the top and others to the depths. In fact, as ICSC noted, 82 percent of consumers will buy elsewhere if they experience poor customer service or rude employees.
While shifting your focus to customer experience is crucial, and learning new ways to improve will set your company apart from the others, the heart and soul of the experience your customers have is the agents they interact with. They must be as competent as they are caring, and they must care. Being a customer service representative, or agent, is a demanding job that can often feel thankless. The agents often take on the brunt of customers’ frustrations, and if your CX is not where it should be, an already frustrated customer may be pushed to a breaking point and take out their frustrations on the agent they speak to. Despite these challenges, most agents still have a strong desire to help customers and care about resolving issues. Are you hiring people who care to be your agents – the representation of your brand? Or, are you just filling seats?
The following is Part One in a series focused on the individuals behind the headset or desk, highlights an agent so dedicated to her customers and her craft that she battled through cancer – more than once – to get back to work. This story was submitted to Talkdesk and included as part of our 11 Stories of Brilliant Customer Interactions to Inspire Your CX Team.
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Mother and AT&T sales rockstar defies cancer and provides service beyond words
For over four decades my mother took great care of her clients. Her clients loved her and enjoyed her friendship. She did it without a voice. My mother had cancer of the throat at age 52. Thus, she lost her voice box. She died not once, but twice on the operating table. Her surgery was so radical and invasive, she could not use an electronic voice-box to speak. That did not deter her. Within months she learned to speak by use of the esophagus. Soon after, she went back to selling and taking care of her clients. Cancer resurfaced in her lungs less than two years later. She defeated it and again went right back doing what she loved, taking care of her clients and selling. She could have called it quits, retired, and collected disability. She refused. She always remembered what was most important to her. She loved her clients, community, and her family too much to quit. I always think of my mother whenever I’m having a tough day. She returned to her sales career and succeeded despite her limitations. AT&T even recognized her for her accomplishments, most of which occurred after her bouts with cancer.
Quitting was never an option. I often say I can never say, “I’m having a bad day.” She and others around the world had, or are currently experiencing bad days. I can only have a tough day. In those tough days, I reflect upon my mother. She, still to this day, inspires me and I quickly move on when confronted with a tough situation. Be thankful for what you have and go forward. Others around us have much less and gain great success. The secret is to keep moving forward and never give up no matter what is thrown your way. Remember the why in what you do and success will follow!
Do you want to create your own inspirational customer stories? The first step is to set the goals you want to achieve in your CX organization. At Talkdesk, we use data-driven insights to drive a customer-centric experiences that make customers feel understood by the brands they interact with. Check out these success stories from our amazing customers to hear it firsthand.