Is Your Call Center Creating the Human Connection Customers Crave?

Leading organizations are now encouraging their call center employees to connect with their customers. They are emboldened to be problem solvers, to think outside of the box and to gain their customer’s trust. Boilerplate scripts and restrictive efficiency metrics are fading away in favor of meaningful connections.

It seems that every time you turn around there’s some new way to communicate. We’ve gone from snail mail to faxing to e-mail to instant messaging to texting to social media. We even have new ways to photo-bomb!

But the customers have spoken, and it seems that in spite of all these technological advances, 79% of them prefer the telephone as their method for interacting with customer service centers.

While it might seem like a computer-savvy customer would prefer the speed and ease of conducting business online without ever having to speak with anyone, it’s hard to argue with a number like 79%.

So, what is it about the telephone that makes it the communication method of choice? Well, the answer is pretty simple: Customers still want a human touch.

According to a recent Harvard Business Review article, the latest research shows that the most effective way to maximize customer value is to move beyond mere customer satisfaction and connect with customers on an emotional level.

In essence, there are two factors shaping call centers today, and they’re interconnected: Customers prefer to have a phone conversation, and customer “value” is defined by the degree to which a customer feels emotionally engaged during that phone conversation.

How well equipped are your call center agents to adapt to these new realities and execute on this directive from customers?

Smart companies have tossed out the old playbooks that instructed call center employees to recite an impersonal script, get the customer’s name and credit card number as quickly as possible, minimize call time, and move on to the next customer.

Instead, leading organizations are now encouraging their call center employees to connect with their customers. They are emboldened to be problem solvers, to think outside of the box and to gain their customer’s trust. Boilerplate scripts and restrictive efficiency metrics are fading away in favor of meaningful connections.

These agents are building relationships. And those relationships are building loyalty.

When you consider that last year in the U.S. alone, the estimated cost of customers switching service providers due to poor customer service was $1.6 trillion, this just makes good business sense.

But here’s the best part. When you equip your employees to connect with customers as advisors rather than order takers, you instill a sense of pride. They recognize that they are an integral part of the solution. This not only makes their jobs more rewarding, it also increases their engagement and motivation. As a result, they are able to deliver a level of customer service that is completely genuine and demonstrates their compassion and concern.  And that means everybody wins—the customer, the company and the call center agents themselves.

Enabling your call center agents to do what they need to do to convert more calls to customers and ensure that they retain those customers is the smart way forward. Equip them to be compassionate, to solve problems, to take ownership, to be human. Give them that sense of pride. Your customers will thank you. And you’ll reap the results.



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