We spend a lot of time in the customer care industry talking about consumer expectations: the trends, the unpredictable shifts, and of course, the latest and greatest innovations we can employ to better meet them. We invest in ever-greater organizational flexibility, adaptability, and create nimble, forward-thinking leadership teams. For those of us who define ourselves and our brands by our ability to exceed expectations, this focus on “consumer expectation” is an obsession.
That’s a good thing.
But I wonder: is our hyper-attention to figuring out what customers expect from us causing us to lose sight of how they need to feel when interacting with us? I think it has. Don’t get me wrong. I believe – I know – that the future of customer care and contact center operations belongs to those who consistently deliver on consumer demands for speed, ease, accuracy, and efficiency. But thanks to ongoing technological advancements, those are just table stakes.
In other words, all the technology investment in the world can’t buy you customer love – or loyalty.
Those are the things we must earn by consistently meeting our customer’s deeper, more fundamental needs to feel valued, cared about, and respected. Is it time to redefine your CX standards? If they don’t yet include the following less tangible but incredibly powerful elements of service, yes. It is.
The need to feel known and recognized as an individual
The bonds between a customer and their favorite brands are personal ones. It takes a strong partnership across marketing, IT, and customer care to build highly personalized marketing campaigns and contact center solutions that keep customers coming back. Strong cross-functional collaboration allows you to leverage buyer data, create more specific customer profiles, and communicate according to customer values and preferences.
The need to feel heard and understood
There are few things as alienating to a customer as feeling ignored or misunderstood when they reach out for answers or help. Numerous surveys conducted within the past few years confirm that a customer’s highest priority when contacting customer service is to simply speak with an agent who can grasp and solve their problem swiftly. To me, that means so much more than reducing average handling time, escalations and transfers, or improving queue metrics. It means all of those things, plus connecting your customers with agents who listen carefully, ask thoughtful questions, and check to be sure that the customer really did get the help they needed. That’s not an IT investment. That’s a hiring, training, and coaching investment.
The need to feel cared about.
Does your agent recruiting process vet carefully for warmth, empathy, problem-solving, and clear communication? Do you use artificial intelligence to support those agents with solutions and recommendations? More importantly, are your supervisors skilled and trained to listen in, encourage, and intervene as necessary to ensure that each customer is treated with the warmth and care that your brand has promised them? Numbers and reports alone can never answer those questions. But customer feedback and supervisor observations can. For example, what happens when a customer inevitably makes a real-life, but unexpected comment about something happening in their lives, whether it’s a happy event, a loss, or simply a feeling? Does the agent respond with a spontaneous, relevant, compassionate comment? Or do they skip past the human moment and stick to the script – all in the name of efficiency? You can’t afford to skip past them. Not if you’re reaching for extraordinary heights in customer experience. Your customers remember them.
If you look at your customer care through these three simple but critical lenses and find your customer care wanting, I hope you’ll reach out to us at Skybridge Americas. We specialize in delivering superior customer experiences for customer-centric brands, and we would love to talk about how we can help you!
Find out how Skybridge Americas can help you delight your customers and grow your business.
We seamlessly integrate our superior customer care skills with your brand messaging. For more information, contact us at 763-299-4570 or submit our contact form.