Sometimes, when you’ve had your nose to the grindstone, working on something extremely important and terribly urgent, a little dose of everyday wisdom and common-sense context can be incredibly rejuvenating.
That’s especially true for brand leaders, customer experience officers, and customer care managers, who have been going full throttle for months. That’s how this article for Customer Think, by Jeremy Watkin, struck me.
All of us are striving to deliver superior customer experience. That’s never easy. It’s a lot tougher when customers’ lives are in turmoil. As I read this piece, I was reminded that, for all of the sophisticated technology, data, and process we have at our disposal – none of it will help us help our customers if we don’t understand where they’re coming from.
You can read more below. And if you would like to know more about how Skybridge Americas can meet your customers where they are, deliver the experience they need, and help you meet and exceed your goals, please reach out. We would love to talk!
The Importance of Context in Customer Service
By Jeremy Watkin
I was recently cleaning out my inbox and saw a notification from Nextdoor.com. In it, one of my neighbors asked if we were in danger of wildfires reaching us. At the time of my reading, the fires were approximately 20 miles away from our neighborhood and almost entirely contained.
Just as I was preparing to let my neighbors know that they had nothing to worry about, I noticed that the original post was more than a week old. And at the time of that posting, the fire was 0% contained and growing. In fact, we could see the glow of flames at night when we looked to the east. In that context, the concern about the fire spreading to our neighborhood made complete sense.
Context and customer service
This got me thinking about context in a customer service setting. I define context as:
The process of researching a customer’s issue and the sum total of the previous actions and interactions regarding their account in order to provide the most accurate, thorough, and educated response to their issue.
For an all-too-common example, there are few things worse than contacting customer service and being forced to start from the beginning — rehashing a previous conversation. Hassle, run around, and waste of time are just some of the words that come to mind in these situations. And this only ratchets up the time to resolve issues, increases the number of interactions required to resolve issues, and certainly increases the amount of effort required from the customer.
In our contact center, context is a major point of emphasis. Here are some of the ways we gain context on a regular basis:
- Reading through account notices and logs before responding to customers, looking for information pertinent to their current issue.
- Reviewing previous interactions with customer service to understand information previously communicated to the customer.
- Looking for other, unresolved contacts from the customer. For example, perhaps the customer sent more than one ticket about an issue and they need to be merged together. Or perhaps they sent an email and posted on social media. Either way, it’s best for them to receive one response from customer support.
- Checking the status of an issue. Perhaps the customer placed an order and is waiting on either the status of their order or a shipment.
By thoroughly researching the customer’s issue before responding, we provide the most, up-to-date, and accurate information possible.
The challenge with context
We evaluate context as part of our quality assurance process and this, more than any other behavior requires that we put on our detective hat and determine if the agent researched in every possible place prior to responding to a customer. This is one of the most time-consuming aspects of quality assurance.
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
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