Last weekend, I took a very early flight with BA out of Geneva and once again BA staff demonstrated their excellent customer centricity, which prompted this post.
That morning, it was Lionel whom I appreciated, for allowing me to have a quick coffee in the club lounge even though he had already called the flight. The rule in such circumstances is not to admit access to passengers once the flight has been called. It was refreshing to be treated as an individual and not as one of the mass of passengers taking the flight that morning. Allowing me to have a quick coffee before dashing to the gate certainly made my morning and my speed enabled him to empty the lounge as he was required to do without too much delay.
What has this got to do with your customer centricity you might ask? Well quite a lot in my opinion. As more people move from rural to urban areas, they are challenged with living a crowded life, with little chance to be alone let alone treated as an individual. This has created an increased value perception of space and service; people desire and even actively search for a little extra service and recognition. In the case of Lionel, he apparently saw me as a low risk and that he could trust me to have the quick coffee I so desperately needed at that time of the morning.
How do you train your own Customer Service Advisors?
Are all your company’s interactions with your customers scripted? Do your metrics of call centre efficiency include time per call, which is targeted down, or calls per advisor, constantly targeted up? A few months ago I shared information about a CEO who had decided to throw away the scripts and trust his advisors to satisfy calling customers in the best way possible – for the client! I am sure you can see how satisfaction went up, for both the advisors and the customers.
If throwing away your call centre scripts is too far for you to go, at least for now, but you could do with improving your care centre operations to make them even more customer centric, I have a few ideas for you:
- INVITE: How are you currently inviting your customers to connect with you? On your pack or in your advertising? Is the invitation clearly legible and does it offer your customers a choice of channels that they can use to connect? You should want as many connections as possible with them so openly invite them wherever they will have the chance of noticing. Some of you will certainly see this as a risk; more contacts equal more complaints, no? Well yes – hopefully at the same proportion as currently – but wouldn’t you rather know if your product or service has problems so you can resolve them as quickly as possible?
- LISTEN: Advisors should listen attentively to what the customer has to share: it always amazes me how often they try to interrupt the customer as quickly as possible in her explanation of why she called. Perhaps this has to do with the call-time targets you have set. Why not replace them with satisfaction targets? Let the customer talk until the reason for calling is fully explained and she feels that the advisor has really listened.
- RESPOND: If your care centre has scripted responses and you can’t throw them away, at least give your advisors permission to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to respond and surprise your customer. Your customers have taken time and effort to reach out to you, so don’t disappoint them. Delight them with your response. Don’t just offer them a replacement product or coupons; everyone else does that. What more can you do for your customer, so that they will share their positive experience with friends, family and even the world if they are active on social media.
- KEEP LISTENING: Don’t assume that the first thing your customer talks about is the real reason for the call or connection. Sometimes there are other things that would be useful for you to know but you never get the chance to hear them because your advisors are ending the calls too quickly. Perhaps you customer believes you wouldn’t be interested so never calls about their ideas or suggestions. Why not ask if there is anything else your customer wants to share of talk about with you. More information is better information.
- ASK: Only when your customer is fully satisfied with your responses and has no other things she wants to share, can you broach the subject of whether or not they would be willing to answer a few questions for you. If so then keep it short; if not, respect their decision. Please don’t go through your full segmentation questionnaire; just ask the five questions that will help you know her better.
These are my five steps to customer centric excellence for care centres. Do you have any others you would add? I would love to hear from you.
Need help in improving your own customer care? Let us help you catalyse your customer centricity; contact us here or check out our website: https://www.c3centricity.com/home/engage/