This is a guest post from Rebecca Martin, CMO at Calabrio
“Given the enormous opportunity to create new value, companies should pursue emotional connections as a science—and a strategy. But for most, building these connections is more guesswork than science. At the end of the day they have little idea what really works and whether their efforts have produced the desired results.”
This sentiment, which rings as true today as it did in 2015 when it was written, was recently confirmed in a report on technology and customer loyalty that looked at what customers really want in a digital world. According to the report, 71 per cent of customer survey respondents confirmed emotion will be an important part of the customer experience in 2019.
Yet, if emotions play a critical role in the customer experience—and by extension, in creating and maintaining loyalty—how do we connect with customers on an emotional level in a world where companies are increasingly deploying new technologies and digital self-service channels to automate and streamline customer interactions?
The answer? Prioritise call centre agents and use other technologies, such as AI, to understand how customers think, feel and behave across all channel interactions. Companies can then use this information to create more meaningful, relevant customer experiences.
Drivers of customer emotion
Smart companies will learn to engage customers in the right way, at the right time and on the right channel. By doing so, they will not only create a more personalized experience for their customers, but they’ll also build a stronger connection. Companies should take a step back and evaluate how they’re handling these three things in order to engage customers on an emotional level:
- Customers want great products and services – Not surprisingly, 61 per cent of customers surveyed say a great product or service is the best way to earn their allegiance, and 58 per cent are driven to complain if a product or service isn’t what they expected. Of course, the opposite is even more obvious. If companies don’t deliver the products and services at a level customers expect, they risk damaging the relationship and the opportunity to establish an emotional connection.
- Customers want to be heard – Customers appreciate fast, easy ways to reach a company. In fact, 79 per cent of customers surveyed feel interacting with a human, versus a chatbot or digital self-service channel, is an important part of good service. Further, 74 per cent are more loyal if they can speak to a person, and 50 per cent said companies can earn their loyalty by listening and taking action when they complain–proving that it is essential for companies to have agents easily accessible to customers in order to maintain a positive customer experience.
- Customers appreciate technology when it contributes to a better customer experience – Seventy-six per cent of customers surveyed believe technology helps create a good experience—though they must see the benefit—and 48 per cent think innovation is important only if it improves customer service. While technology is important, companies should assess how implementing each new technology will impact the overall customer experience.
To deliver the products and services customers desire, a company must truly understand what they feel and think. And the only way to do that is to listen.
How to really listen to customers
While customers may prefer interacting with humans instead of digital channels, having a conversation with a human in the contact centre does not necessarily guarantee a positive experience. Monitoring and evaluating these conversations is the only way to ensure a constructive encounter, and the best technology for doing this is AI-powered speech analytics. Speech analytics allows companies to capture and analyse the wide variety of pre and post-sale purchase support conversations taking place in the contact centre, driving a dramatic improvement in the ability to understand and act on what customers really want. Companies can quickly use this information to improve customer service based on real-time feedback, and longer term, they can use this information improve their products and services.
Take this Calabrio customer for example. A business process outsourcer (BPO) that handles integrated commerce customer care, deployed a unified workforce optimization (WFO) and employee engagement suite that included this speech analytics capability. By using Sentiment Analysis to analyse the conversations between customers and agents in the call centre, they revealed a high rate for neutral sentiment. After identifying the key topics that correlated with less positive sentiment and creating additional training opportunities for the contact centre team, this company saw positive sentiment jump from 17 per cent to 93 per cent—in just one week. In addition, they saw improvements in other KPIs, including customer satisfaction, customer effort, representative knowledge and representative demeanour.
While improving the customer experience has all too frequently become about implementing technologies to create new communication channels, we cannot forget the real goal: to increase customer loyalty by creating a human connection. And that happens when companies deliver better products and services along with the best possible interactions. By using AI-powered analytics to map the customer journey to customer experience goals, organizations have the power to drive improvements and reassess channel strategies based on the optimal way to increase emotional connections.
This is a guest post from Rebecca Martin, CMO at Calabrio
As Chief Marketing Officer at Calabrio, Rebecca is responsible for lead generation and pipeline marketing, content strategy, customer marketing, and corporate communications. An unflappable veteran of Minnesota’s emerging technology industry with nearly 20 years of experience, Rebecca has been entrusted with millions in venture capital and the formidable task of building lead funnels, and differentiating and positioning entrepreneurial brands. Most recently, Rebecca was Director of Integrated Marketing for Code42—a data protection and security company—where she fuelled a content-driven lead-gen strategy, customer engagement/advocacy and communications initiatives. Prior, Rebecca held marketing leadership roles at Trissential, Stellent, and Oracle. Rebecca holds a B.A. degree from the University of Wisconsin.
Thanks to Pixabay for the image.