Contact Center Transformation Featured Article
Going Beyond Customer Satisfaction: Transforming the Contact Center by Understanding Customers' Emotions
December 03, 2013
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
Is your service quality satisfactory? Do you believe that it’s “good enough?” For consumers of a few decades ago, this might have been adequate. Those days are gone, however. Consumers have more choice than ever, and customer loyalty is becoming a thing of the past. According to some studies, about three quarters of customers would be perfectly willing to do business with a company’s competitors, even if they are happy with the first company’s business.
What smart companies today hope to achieve is “brand advocacy,” or building super-customers who are not only loyal but serve as “net promoters,” actively marketing their preferences for a company to friends, family and social media contacts. This requires doing a great deal more than “just enough” when it comes to customer service. It means out-servicing your competitors by a wide margin.
According to Bill Hogg, writing recently for the Web site Hoteliers, customer relationships are the only sustainable competitive advantage for growth and profitability. So, simply focusing on individual customer transactions isn’t enough. Companies (hotels, in this case) need to treat a customer relationship like a living, breathing thing that needs to be nurtured; It’s not simply the sum of a series of interactions.
“Rather than focusing on the transactional aspect, companies will build long term relationships with customers if they focus on the emotional connection that customers seek,” wrote Hogg. “Every one of your customers has an emotional need that calls for attention.”
It’s not always about the product or service, particularly if you offer a highly commoditized one. It’s about convenience, time sensitivity and specific knowledge that a company demonstrates in the course of a transaction that pulls in a customer and keeps him or her loyal.
Hogg recommends that companies begin building a plan to connect with their customers by considering the following:
- Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What do they want beyond simply products and services?
- Understand your customers’ needs. If they could ask you for anything, what would it be? Chances are good that you have all the data you need to do this in the form of customer surveys, call recordings and the experience of the front-line agents.
- Anticipate future needs. Nothing reels in a customer and keeps him or her loyal than a company that knows what the customer wants before even the customer does.
- What are your customers’ emotional needs? Asking questions can help identify what customers are truly hoping to get out of a relationship with a company. Understanding this can help your company fulfill this need.
From here, companies can begin moving away from simply satisfying customers to achieving true contact center transformation that will turn what used to be a series of transactions into a loyal, true and deep customer relationship.
Edited by Blaise McNamee
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