Discover how to create connected experiences for customers using a contact center — the central hub where customers go for help — and build brand loyalty.
Customers want to feel connected to a brand — while at a physical store location, browsing a website, or typing and swiping around an app on a mobile device. Every touchpoint is pivotal, and eliminating friction leads to happier customers who return to your brand time and time again. But achieving this requires more than just optimized interfaces regardless of where your customers interact with you most.
Creating connected experiences for customers using a contact center is critical to success. Agents on the front lines know who your customers are, what they’re looking for, and why they like or dislike something about your brand better than anyone else in the organization.
Think of where the contact center sits in a connected experience. A customer faces an issue with a product or service, so what do they do? Go online to find an answer. Brands that prioritize connected experiences don’t force the customer to reach out for support. Instead, an AI-powered live chatbot surfaces to offer assistance. If the issue still isn’t resolved, the customer has the choice to speak to an agent via live chat, over the phone, or with text messaging.
Notice how frictionless that was — the customer didn’t need to lift a finger. Your contact center agents came to them and offered seamless service every step of the way. By choosing to create connected experiences for customers, you made a difference in keeping this customer happy.
And we know the business outcomes of a high-performance contact center. If a service interaction is positive, you’ve won a customer and increased their customer lifetime value (CLV). Happy customers also become quasi-brand ambassadors spreading the word about your brand. Conversely, a negative service interaction puts the same customer and their peers in play for a competitor — which means lost revenue.
People drive every business, and by “people” we mean both your customers and your employees. How your employees represent your brand across touchpoints in the customer journey is important, so there’s a lot that a contact center’s agents can contribute to creating connected experiences that result in long-lasting brand loyalty.
Let’s explore several strategies to create connected experiences using a contact center and its agents on the front lines.
One strategy to create connected experiences is a shared knowledge of your customers. What do your agents know about each customer? It should be automated through several tools in the contact center, combining information from a CRM database with the communication channels used for service interactions. As soon as a service interaction kicks off, your agents should know who they’re speaking to and any history with your brand.
Not all customers are identical, and the individualization you can provide during service interactions makes each feel they’re treated uniquely. You should still create general personas to analyze and base your training coaching on, though. Both approaches operating in tandem better prepare agents for the needs and expectations of the customers they’re serving.
Leading brands run proactive contact centers. Why? Because knowing who customers are — both generally and in the moment — allows agents to customize service interactions with relevancy and authenticity. The goal here is to make each customer feel human and special, not like every other customer.
Customers want to be heard above all else, so agents need to listen as much as possible and offer empathy at the root of their support. Agents should welcome customers to explain their issues in full, no matter how angry or upset they may be.
Interrupting a customer implies a lack of respect or empathy, so just hand over the microphone. When they’re finished, analyze what they said and explain the most appropriate solution.
What’s key is to remember that directly interacting with customers immediately builds a strong, trustful connection whether the customer is happy or not. Being available in real time rather than pushing a customer to fill out a form to receive a response in hours or days indicates that you’re dedicated to them.
All the while, valuing a customer’s time is equally important. Agents should communicate in a concise way, delivering information that’s relevant to the customer based on their inquiry. Be conversational, too. Customer service communication that allows for a two-way, humanized conversation tells customers that you’re talking with them and not to them.
Creating connected experiences for customers is only achievable when you create meaningful relationships. Although your contact center doesn’t have control over many things, agents are tasked with delivering favorable outcomes.
Consider these actions for your contact center to foster meaningful relationships with customers:
“A little kindness goes a long way” is true in life, and it’s even truer in the customer service industry.
Customers appreciate a check-in after a service interaction concludes. In doing so, your brand communicates that they’re still on your mind and you care to know how things are going. Maybe a customer’s issue was seemingly resolved during the service interaction but resurfaced after — this is why a follow-up is important.
Even if things are going well for a customer, it’s worth checking in anyway. You build a tighter bond with your customers, and they feel you have their back if something goes wrong in the future. It also keeps your business top of mind for them.
Don’t sell to an angry or upset customer. While that shouldn’t surprise anyone, it deserves to be repeated as a reminder. Customers who reach out for support aren’t looking to spend more money; they want to get value out of what they’re planning to purchase or already own.
Instruct your agents to realize that speaking to customers in a conversational and personal tone improves their perception of your brand. Because connected experiences begin with a feeling, it’s important that your people are more consultative than anything else.
Customers often seek a human touch when contacting any organization, so agents should be sure to personalize the experience right from the start. It’s important for agents to introduce themselves, address the customer by name, and ask in an authentic tone just how they may be of service. Customers should be able to feel the agent’s willingness to help them, so a cheerful tone on the phone and positive language in a live chat or email are essential.
Customer service is an experience, right? Customers who have a question or concern reach out to the contact center looking for solutions. In these moments, a lot is at stake. But keeping the tips and strategies provided here will guide you through creating connected experiences for customers every time they’re in need of help.
Creating connected experiences takes more than the contact center, though. Check out our guide, Expert Insights: The Executive’s Guide to Breaking Silos & Delivering Business Results, to discover everything that goes into the process and what it unlocks for an organization.