The customer experience agent is key to delivering the kind of service offering that can truly differentiate an organization. Here are some of the most important things that a CEM should (and should not) do.
In our previous blog, we spoke about the importance of having a customer experience manager (CEM), what this job entails and the kind of challenges such a person would face. We follow that up today with a look at some of the key “do’s and don’ts” that accompany taking on the role of a CEM. Naturally, while the points outlined below are areas of focus for the CEM, it goes without saying that part of the CEM job description is to ensure that all employees who work under them also make sure that the do’s are done, and the don’ts are avoided.
DO: Proactive Customer Experience
Be proactive. This means focusing on proactive customer engagement, particularly as it relates to social media. An unhappy customer that turns to social media will have a much larger audience than one that simply shares such an experience verbally. This means monitoring the various social platforms closely and listening to conversations that are being had by both customers and competitors, in order to get ahead of bad experiences before they occur. This will create a form of predictive customer service, and should ensure that even customers who have a problem with the organization come out of the experience feeling positive.
Underestimate the customers’ inexperience. One thing you must never do is underestimate the inexperience of your company’s customers, even though it is expected that modern consumers are more sophisticated and technologically savvy. Despite consumers’ increased skills, the CEM still needs to make the process of contacting the customer service center as easy as possible. This means ensuring that the customer service center utilizes as many channels as possible, so that however the customer chooses to contact the business, they are able to do so with ease. Making sure that your customers have easy access to support is, after all, a key part of the CEM job description.
DO: Respect your Customers
Respect is critical if you hope to build long term relationships with them. You want to make your customers feel both important and valued by the business, which means making sure each and every customer receives the proper attention from someone who has a polite and friendly attitude. Demonstrating that you really care should not only leave customers feeling more fulfilled, but should also lead to both increased loyalty and brand advocacy.
DON’T: Be Indifferent
Indifference is the arch-enemy of good customer service, as it is a clear indication that your enterprise no longer cares. While there are many reasons why agents – or even the CEM themselves – may have an ‘off’ period where such indifference creeps in, it is critical to nip such attitudes in the bud. Ultimately, it is the job of the CEM – and by extension, the agents who serve under them – to take on the customer’s burden and make any problem they may face your problem instead.
DO: Be Honest
This entails being fair when it comes to issues like pricing, additional fees and other types of extra charges. It also encompasses establishing transparent return and refund policies and means focusing on delivering timeously and responding or following up when you say you will. In effect, this means always doing what you promised. After all, nothing destroys trust faster than broken promises.
Ignore customer feedback. As a CEM, it is vital that you always listen to your customers. If a consumer has made the effort to share an opinion about their experience with you, keep an open mind about it, as any suggestions or feedback will prove useful in improving your company’s service. More crucially, make them aware that you are taking their feedback into consideration, as this will let them know that you care about what they think and expect of you.
Put yourself in the customers’ shoes. One of the best ways to understand the customer, and thus serve them better, is by putting yourself in their place, before addressing their request. It is always important to understand the feelings of frustration experienced when something goes wrong and – more pointedly – how irritating unsatisfactory customer service can be. Understanding how the customer feels and what your service department looks like from their perspective is critical to getting your customer service approach right.
Treat customers as mere transactions. Nobody likes to feel like they are no more than a number to a large corporation, especially when that number is usually delineated in dollars. While the money side of the equation is obviously important to the business, you want to put the customers’ well-being front and center. If you do this, you will be well-positioned to build strong and long-lasting relationships. And such relationships inevitably lead to greater customer spend anyway.
DO: Customer Feedback
Remember to express gratitude. Thanking your customer for their feedback, or their loyalty, or a myriad of other things will make them feel appreciated by your brand and will make even a less-than-stellar customer experience feel good. Saying ‘thank you’ to those who support your business takes little effort, and the rewards tend to be exemplary.
DON’T: Afraid of Complaints
Be afraid of complaints. However good your service is, there are going to be occasions where there is a service failure – after all, it is impossible to satisfy all of the customers all of the time. Although this means that complaints are inevitable, it doesn’t mean you should fear them. Look at a complaint as an opportunity to find and fix a problem. Every complaint is directing your attention to an area that needs improvement. Therefore, every complaint should serve as the foundation of an even better customer service.
DO: Exceptional Customer Experience
Ensure employee engagement is maximized. Remember that the more engaged your employees are, and the more they are privy to the company’s customer service goals, the more likely they will be to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience. Getting employee buy-in to your customer service goals will mean they are more empowered to solve problems, and thus provide customers with the kind of service that ends positively for everyone.
In the modern world, phrases like ‘the customer is king’ have become seen as little more than a cliché, but that doesn’t stop them from being true. A good customer experience manager, one that focuses on the above do’s and don’ts, should be able to build a customer service department that turns this phrase from a mere cliché into a truism instead.
[About the author] Kevin is an advocate for effortless customer experiences and quick customer resolutions. He is driven to help Telcos & Retailers as they deal with the need to change digital habits and increase utilization of their assets. He has a background in marketing, public relations and advertising and has a firm belief in the mission of Jacada. He is an Atlanta native and Georgia State University graduate who loves competition and is passionate about his family, his work and his dog Peaches.