When it comes to providing meaningful, intentional support to your customers, a massive part of the equation boils down to a few central concepts: gratitude, empathy, and compassion.
These may seem like the basics, but in a year that has thrown more than its share of curveballs, customers are looking for genuine care, real effort, and satisfying connections.
At its foundation, customer experience should revolve around one core concept: person-first interactions.
But, what is a person-first interaction? Think about it this way: when your customer goes home at night–perhaps to their family, their pets, their personal lives–their priorities can often shift to more human topics. It’s important to remember that even while they speak to your customer experience team, they have other factors in their lives that could be impacting them in a way that can’t be felt through the context of a phone conversation.
Your customers are certainly still your customer, but they are a person first. They have thoughts, emotions, and feelings tied to every interaction they’ve had leading up to their conversation with your representative, and they’ll have even more after that. It’s up to you and your team what they leave with.
Let’s break it down.
Lead with gratitude. Now more than ever, thankfulness is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. The power of a heartfelt “thank you” is immeasurable–but the impact is felt throughout the relationship. Without that gratitude, a customer can be left feeling alone, used, and labeled as a “consumer” and not a person (remember, person-first!). But, when it’s expressed thoroughly, respect, mutual understanding, and loyalty follow.
Did you know, even outside of a customer experience setting, gratitude encourages:
- Stronger relationship building
- More robust future conversations
- Increased optimism and overall happiness
- Less feeling of isolation
Now, before we look at why all those things are good, let’s consider the opposite. Imagine a customer experience environment where customers:
- Have weak relationships with representatives
- Have sort, meaningless conversations
- Are pessimistic about working with your company
- Feel isolated and left out to dry
In a situation where, as we discussed, loyalty is king, none of these negative attributions get the job done. The goal is to build trust first, and doing that through gratitude fast-tracks the human brain to establishing a relationship with your brand. When a customer’s values align with what you’ve demonstrated to them, they’re more likely to associate themselves with what you do, more likely to refer your business to others, and will become an ambassador for your company. The truth is, just about everybody enjoys being shown gratitude, so why not?
On the positive side of customer experience, are the outcomes of genuine connection through graciousness. The first two points here are definitely related. When you are able to build a relationship with a customer whose foundation is in that of trust–that all-important “they’ll take care of me” feeling–everything snowballs into a life-long commitment to a brand. When this happens, robust, deep-diving conversations can happen. Your customer experience team can get to the root of systematic errors in your processes, recurring pain points, and uncover problems behind the problem.
As far as optimism goes, instilling in your customers an excitement–the thought “these people can solve my problem” can go a long, long way. In a situation where a client can be frustrated, sometimes all it can take is a level-headed representative with a great attitude to turn that unhappy customer into a happy one. At the same time, connecting with them through gratitude opens the door for your customer experience representative to show the customer that they aren’t alone and that they will stick through the issue they’re having.
A big aspect of showing your customers that you care is a simple one. The most successful businesses and customer experience teams thank their clients with events, special deals, and outreach that doesn’t include an ask. Checking in on your customers can build a ground floor to expand upon.
Finally, the best way to thank a customer is just to make it easy.
- -31% of consumers say they do not feel companies make it easy to contact them about a customer service issue
- -47% of consumers needed to use 2 or more channels to contact a representative
- -53% of consumers resolved their problem during their first contact
There’s a big opportunity here to stand up against the crowd.
No one likes to put more effort in than reward they are going to get out. It’s no different in the customer experience industry.
The fact of the matter is, customers will repay convenience with loyalty. So, what can your customer experience program and team members do to maximize that?
+Implement an intuitive customer experience system that allows your customers to get in contact with a representative quickly and easily. This means having a fast-loading webpage with easy-to-find links and buttons. Did you know that only 40% of companies provide online chat even though it is a basic expectation of consumers?
+Fast, efficient communication with a representative is key. Customers are quick to fall off if there is not a way to get the answer they need quickly. They have little tolerance for multiple points of contact, long hold times, and ineffective help.
+Offer a personalized experience for every customer. The complexity of each individual who calls will vary, but their experience should not. Customers view their experiences with a company as a combination of the contacts they make across channels to resolve their issues.
Wondering where you can start? Head to https://arllc.com/ to find out about our training programs, customer surveys, speech recognition, and more.