This past weekend my wife and I drove to Nashville, TN to see our daughter. Even with the restrictions that are in place with social distancing, we had a great time and enjoyed being together. As we went to the parking garage to get our car and head home, we noticed that our back window had been shattered by car thieves. Quite an unfortunate incident after such a great weekend.
As we filed a police report, I was able to contact the general manager of the hotel who was rude and inconsiderate. I explained to her that this incident happened on their property and their lack of security measures was a contributing factor, she promptly hung up the phone. Not exactly the customer service I was expecting.
As a follow-up, I called the customer service centre of the hotel chain this morning and had a much different experience. The agent who helped me was far different from the general manager and took the time to make sure all was ok. You could say that her approach was a human one, after all, who wants to have their car burglarised and vandalised?
Such is the challenge of organisations today; building a human connection in the delivery of customer experience (CX). While many organisations have a focus on CX and are investing resources and money, many are forgetting the all too important factor of people in the CX equation.
If you are one of the majority of companies that is focused on CX, here are a few ways to ensure you are building a human connection in the process.
Start with your employees
One of the most overlooked elements of CX is the employees. Employees are your delivery for CX and even with the best systems, analytics and NPS scores, employees are the difference between a good and bad experience with a customer as my story from earlier proves.
Gartner echoes this sentiment as evidenced in their 2019 article “Employee Experience: The Key to CX Success”. While the article focuses mainly on the operational aspects of an employee’s job, I will take it a step further. When you build a culture that values your employees, it gives them growth opportunities. Growth enriches their experience as an employee, which in turn will make its way to a customer.
You do not have to be a psychologist to know that people want to be seen, heard and valued. Make your employees feel this way and there is a good chance your customer will as well.
Lead with empathy
I once had a friend tell me that I didn’t really expect the customer support agent to fix my problem, I just wanted them to affirm my issue, and hearing “I’m sorry” would have gone a long way.
While it is easy to reduce CX down to numbers, metrics and improved costs, brands have to understand that they serve people. People feel, get frustrated, have good and bad days, and often will call simply to have a human connection because like my me, they want a person to be empathetic to their plight – also a human need.
If you are tempted to think that human interaction in the call centre is dying, take note of this study by PwC that shows 59% of consumers feel brands have lost the human connection. If this is where your brand is, beware; it will cost your organisation.
Just be human!
One of the things I have heard when talking to call centres about their delivery of CX and the use of unified communications is that the use of channels like social and chat limits the ability to build a person-to-person experience. While it certainly may be more difficult, it is not impossible.
I was recently on a chat with a contact centre, and before I could state my problem, the agent started the chat by introducing me and greeting me by name. After saying hello, I began to type out my problem, and another message came through, “How are things going for you today?” I replied and started typing out my issue again and yet another message, “I am glad to hear things are going well; I see you are in Colorado. I have never been there myself, but have heard it is beautiful. What is the best way I can help you today?”
While some may say this is a waste of time and the agent could have just helped me, I, for one, appreciated the interaction, and my problem was solved within minutes. While the agent could have delivered the same service with no personal touch, she took the effort to connect, and it clearly made a world of difference for me.
Whatever you do in the world of CX, remember that all involved are human, and as we create our strategies, we should keep that thought in mind. This can determine how successful you will be.
Originally published Apr 08, 2021, updated Aug 03, 2021