How To Avoid An Unamazing Customer Experience

NICE is not just dealing with people properly. It’s the name of a software company that specializes in helping businesses improve their customer and agent experiences. NICE has analyzed billions of customer interactions to better understand customer behavior. You know what customers like and don’t like. You know what frustrates account managers and what excites them about helping their customers. But often it’s not the agent experience that keeps customers coming back.

A recent study by NICE found that 81% of consumers today start with a digital channel when they have a question, need something, or want to buy something. You don’t call the company. They visit a website, YouTube, Google Search, etc. They want and expect the companies and brands they do business with to have answers readily available. What they don’t want is to call a company, be put on hold for what seems like an unreasonable amount of time, speak to a representative who will transfer them to another representative, etc. etc.

I recently interviewed Laura Bassett, Vice President of Product Marketing at NICE, and had a fascinating conversation about how customer expectations are changing. She said many experiences are not amazing. They simply disappoint, which gives a customer no incentive to come back for more. According to Bassett, NICE’s mission is to rid the world of unimpressive customer experiences. Here’s some of the wisdom Bassett shared on how to do just that.

1. The customer experience is the entire journey. Many people make the mistake of thinking that customer experience is customer support. It’s much more than that. While customer support is part of the experience, it really begins when a customer performs a Google search, finds your business, and interacts with your website. The service starts with how easy it is to do business with you, no matter where you are in the customer journey.

2. The customer experience affects everyone in the company. Just as customer experience encompasses the entire customer journey—not just when they contact customer support—it also encompasses every employee. When not dealing directly with a customer, assist someone who is part of the process or is part of the process impacting the experience. Even people behind the scenes who never interact with the customer have an impact on the experience. Everyone needs to understand their role and contribution to the customer experience.

3. Proactive communication is essential to the customer experience. Businesses know many of the questions customers ask. So why not be proactive and give customers information before they have to make an effort to get answers? Bassett said, “Businesses should understand and predict when they can answer a question before customers even realize they have it.”

4. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. This is an old expression, but its meaning is timeless. You need to understand what the customer is going through at each step of the journey. Then compare it to the desired experience. When designing an experience that will keep customers coming back, think about what would make them want to come back. Is the experience your customers get different than what you want?

5. Agents are consumers too. Your expectations have accelerated. They compare what they should be able to deliver with what they experience with other companies. When they have an amazing experience with another company, they want to repeat that experience for their own customers. They must be equipped with the tools to deliver what they believe to be an amazing experience.

6. Make your account managers knowledgeable. This is a great sequel to #5. Help them understand that they don’t have to follow a script if they don’t. You don’t want to feel held back. They don’t want to feel over-managed or under-empowered. After you hire good people and train them well, you should empower them to do their job. Bassett said, “Turn agents into customer service leaders who can truly own that experience.”

7. Amazing customer service doesn’t need fireworks. Seamless and easy wins every time. This is the perfect concept to wrap up this article. Nothing shared in this article is rocket science. It’s common sense. Every customer wants that. To be great you don’t have to overdo it and wow the customer with the most incredible service they have ever experienced. Delivering the simple and seamless actually creates the WOW factor that many companies believe is unattainable. Just be. Eliminate friction. Simple and seamless isn’t that difficult – and for customers, it’s the opposite of not stunning!

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