Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have exploded in almost every industry at warp speed and will continue to accelerate as companies invest in and learn more about the technology's capabilities. One report projects that "spending on cognitive and AI systems will reach $77.6 billion in 2022, more than three times the $24 billion forecast for 2018." Despite so many developments in technology, companies still rely on people to deliver customer experiences.
At the core of every employee, interaction is the customer’s desire for a great experience. Those experiences are driven by the actions, behaviors, and skill sets of employees. Your front-line has the greatest impact on overall customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Based on data from phone call interactions that yielded the most successful outcomes, there are specific employee behaviors that drive the greatest results. The following five attributes are consistently present in interactions with high customer sentiment and callers that set appointments.
1. GREAT CHARACTER:
Employees that demonstrate transparency and build trust create instant connections with customers. No one is really on a "need to know" basis these days with a connection to the world just a click or share away. Technology has empowered customers and changed the way they interact with businesses. Organizations that embrace transparency and employees who demonstrate strong character will be rewarded with customer trust and loyalty.
Along with demonstrating great character comes showing personality. Customers today can sense when someone is reciting a canned script. This makes customers feel devalued and like they’re “just another customer.” In just one short year, it’s predicted that 85% of customers will manage their relationship with a business without ever interacting with a human. The quality of the phone call and ability to answer caller’s questions has always been important, but in today’s landscape, it’s critical. Use playbooks and word tracks for consistency but be sure to let your personality shine through as well.
The ability to convey product knowledge and answer caller’s questions dramatically increases the likelihood of a customer setting an appointment. Employees that lack knowledge and can’t answer questions, risk more customers defecting in search of someone that can. Consumers have developed habits utilizing great technology; we can ask Siri to FaceTime with our loved ones, Alexa orders our groceries from Amazon Fresh, and Cortana helps us manage our calendars and events throughout the day. After so many conveniences that great technology provides when a customer calls a business and is placed into the hands of an unskilled, subpar employee, they move on in search of a better experience.
Quality interactions are becoming increasingly important as automation replaces simple tasks, pushing employees into more knowledge-based and customer-facing roles. Empathy, the ability to identify, understand, and relate to emotions that other people are expressing, is key to a quality interaction. Employees who are good listeners, demonstrate understanding and show empathy towards customers indicates a genuine interest to help, which is highly valued by customers.
5. FIRST CONTACT RESOLUTION:
Not all interactions are easy situations. Employees that address customer concerns quickly shows urgency and eagerness to help. Managers that allow skilled employees the freedom and flexibility to make decisions to help the caller in the moment build a culture of empowerment and make employees feel valued.
While some skills come naturally, and others need to be taught, it’s the responsibility of company leadership to provide a stimulating environment that supports and inspires engaged employees. A workplace culture that offers opportunities to learn, frequent interpersonal contact, and consistent feedback with coaching attract and retain great employees.
To start improving your skills today, sign up for Proactive Dealer Solution’s free training webinars here: PDS WEBINARS