Emotion and a sense of connection are driven by engagements between people. If you think about positive brand experiences you’ve had, it will almost certainly include someone who did something out of the ordinary.
While many frontline agents realise that sticking to the script isn’t always the right approach for the customer, the truth is, however, that many are restricted by process and protocols. While they are encouraged to solve problems for the customer, they’re rarely empowered to do this proactively.
So what can be done about this? What steps can brands take to make proactive problem solving an intuitive part of frontline engagements?
Encourage Genuine Interactions with Customers
While many agents are encouraged to treat customers in a consistent way, following a standard script, customising interactions to the individual customer will help to create genuine interactions.
There isn’t a guide or handbook that agents can follow to make this happen. Customisation is about empowering frontline staff so that they can think on their feet and recognise the needs of the individual customer.
Skip Customers to the Right Stage of Each Process
The temptation in the Contact Centre is to add process and procedure to every step; stick to prescribed checklists for every customer interaction. This can (and does) help to create consistency in customer interactions.
However, it doesn’t encourage agents to be proactive. For this, agents need to be empowered to identify what customers have already done. By understanding where customers are at within their journey they can then skip to the appropriate stage in the process, rather than force them to go through unnecessary steps.
Show the Customer the Best Solution - Not Every Solution
Giving customers the choice of how to resolve problems isn’t necessarily the best option for them. We typically think that choice is a good thing. However, if the customer is less experienced or unsure of the full context, it can be hard for them to know which way to go.
Instead, agents can be proactive with the customer and recommend to them the fastest, easiest and/or best option. They can still share the alternatives, so the customer isn’t left in the dark, but this approach means that customers aren’t left feeling uncertain on the route to take.
The Power of Empowering
Empowering frontline agents is about providing them with a clear framework. It’s absolutely not about throwing away the rulebook. Ideally Contact Centres need to be loose around rules surrounding what agents can do, but very tight with the definition of why and how they do those things.
This approach will enable a greater emotional connection between people. It’s about giving agents a real sense of purpose and demonstrating to them the power they have in creating great customer experiences.
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