Empathy as a Driving Force of Customer and Employee Experiences
Building a successful brand requires a cradle-to-grave understanding of the customer journey. When customers interact with businesses, they may expect a simple self-service model or a whole concierge experience. In either scenario, when the company doesn’t fully understand customer needs, trust and loyalty suffer, and the customer may take their business elsewhere. This is especially the case for businesses that have worked so hard to build rapport for repeat customers.
Process and Optimization Can’t Fix Frustration
Contact centers for many businesses are involved both in the sales process and retention via problem resolution. A knowledgeable agent may enable customer acquisition to steer a customer in the right direction. As well, mitigation of issues is dependent on asking the right questions and acknowledging the customer’s frustrations.
While contact centers can be very efficient operationally, if customers don’t feel good about the interaction, the business is fighting a losing battle. Providing emotional intelligence training for customer service agents can create a more empathetic response and build trust. Developing ways to measure and score these interactions will be a driving force for positive experiences.
Closing the Loop with Simple Effective Tools
Developing and instilling empathy in employees is a learned skill that can not be enabled in software. However, tools can effectively measure, score, or rate interactions and report on positive outcomes resulting from training. Any effective system has a feedback loop to measure, report, and improve upon current processes. For contact centers, closing the loop will reward emotional intelligence and build the organization.
For example, employing sentiment analysis can significantly assist agents. By monitoring voice, chat, or social media channels, agents can be armed with valuable insight as to how customers are feeling in the moment. Agitated voices can raise an alert and enable escalation to specially trained representatives. Likewise, an SMS conversation or webchat with a bot can transfer to an agent with a human-in-the-loop (HITL) API with specific defined keywords or phrases.
To reward empathetic responses, supervisors will need simple, effective ways to measure and rate interactions. Contact centers providing robust real-time reporting and monitoring could enable on-the-fly rating of voice recordings or chat transcripts. The results could then be shared during performance reviews or used in gamification strategies.
Lastly, customer engagements that did not reach first call resolution have a high probability of becoming the last engagement. Supervisors armed with automated custom reporting can quickly filter on negative dispositions like “complaints,” listen to or download recordings, determine empathetic response efficacy, and take appropriate action to maximize customer retention.
Businesses building their brand will be successful by building trust, rapport, and loyalty with customers. While there is no easy button to push or swipe, having effective processes, training, and tools will go a long way to accomplishing the mission statement. A contact center is often the first or last place a customer will interact, and the outcome of that experience will determine the likelihood of repeat business. Training customer service representatives to provide empathy and reinforcing positive behaviors with the proper solution can differentiate any business in a competitive market.
Empathy is critical to customer interactions. Having the right solution to reinforce positive outcomes builds rapport and profitability.
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