“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier,”said Mother Theresa. In the contact center we have a lot to learn from Mother Theresa! If only this were a universal truth for customer experience. Can you imagine a world in which customers always felt better after contacting your contact center? This is universally not true. For example, I’m sure you reading this have a recent example of a terrible customer service interaction in the last few weeks. You do, don’t you? I know I do. Unfortunately we all do!
In truth the contact center provides the rare opportunity for the brand to actually make contact with the customer. Remember that customers were once people who had no idea who your brand was! You had to work very hard to educate them around who your brand is and what you sell. Eventually these prospects became customers. But today companies forget how hard they worked to initially get those customers in the door–they can’t wait to get them out door.
What’s A Contact High?
A few stand-out companies understand the opportunity at each touch point to build a relationship with the customer by being helpful. They understand the benefit of making contact–and giving customers what you might call a “contact high.” No I’m not talking about drugs. I’m talking about a happy feeling. I’m talking about the feeling the customer gets when they make contact with you. If the contact goes well the customer actually get a little happiness buzz from interacting with your contact center. Can you imagine customer experiences so good people look forward to asking for help? Gosh I can’t imagine that!
Do you have people in your life where every time they see you they act like you’re the only person in the room? You are greeted with smiles and all things joy? Well traditionally this is the opposite of the relationship companies have with customers. Often when a customer contacts you they are more frazzled, unhappy and generally annoyed than before they contacted you.
When you do make contact with the customer, here are some things you can do to create the contact high:
1. Care More.
Doesn’t it feel different when you know the person helping you actually wants to be there? How about when you walk into a store and the salesperson jumps up, finds out what you need and knows “the perfect dress” for you. Contrast that with the experience of walking into a store and the salesperson doesn’t lift their eyes from whatever they’re distracting themselves with. The first example will absolutely get more loyalty than the person not making the effort. It’s the same with service. The key to a staff that is proud to represent your brand is an environment where your staff feel fresh. That means you need to provide healthy nourishment for them in the form of healthy food, breaks, and a comfortable environment in which they work. Your customer experience is only as good as your employee experience. Caring more only happens when your staff feels mentally and emotionally equipped to do their best every day. Lastly, if your leadership embody a spirit of caring more, that energy will trickle down to your staff.
2. Be lovely.
This one might seem a little vague, but you know what I mean right? I’ve walked into a store expecting to buy nothing, the salesperson has been lovely, and I spent much more than I thought I would. There is a lack of lovely people in customer facing roles and it’s not their fault. Often the company they work for has slowly sucked the loveliness out of their spirit. Frontline employees need to be appreciated at work. Frontline employees also need to be incentivized to be…lovely. To add insult to injury there is often no leader or manager embodying loveliness in front of them either. Technology also has a way of being a hindrance to loveliness on one level.
3. Make it easy for customers to get in touch with you.
Technology has pushed customers farther and farther away. I prefer the technology from the sharing economy because often they make it very easy to get in touch when something goes awry.You easily text with your Instacart shopper who is grabbing your groceries. You can easily send a text when you’re interacting with Uberx drivers or Airbnb hosts. Don’t believe me? Read this recently article by David Roberts in the NYTimes.He stayed in Airbnb rentals for a full year and often found Airbnb more than willing to break their own processes to help him out. If you’ve read my columns before you know I believe customer service should always be able to break with the process for an emergency. If there’s a problem they respond right away no matter what time of day it is. This is stuff that creates a contact high for the customer. Every time the customer interacts with you they feel even better!
With these three tips you have the opportunity to give your customers the “contact high,” the skip in their step after contacting you.
Originally published by Forbes Magazine, written by Blake Morgan