If you work in any industry that deals with customers, you’ve likely heard the phrase customer experience (CX) before. The first time was probably in some late afternoon meeting and may have been met with the typical eye rolls people have grown accustomed to seeing when the latest “buzzword” is recited.
But for once, this phrase might actually be worthy of further investigation. Companies like Forrester and their CX Index state over 70 percent of companies cite improving the customer experience as a priority, yet less than five percent of companies deemed their current CX as “excellent” for their customers.
To put it simply, many companies are aware they are under-delivering to their customers and some are working on improving the overall experience. This self-conscious understanding of the customer and the need for improvement is why customer support teams are so important in the modern era of business.
Sure, they are your first and often most frequent point of contact with customers, but they are also the team of people that when empowered can turn a poor customer experience into a great one in a matter of minutes.
Here are some of the key ways to transform the customer experience through empowering support teams:
Create a system of actionable data to craft a memorable CX
Pretend for a moment you’re driving an old car and the “check engine” light illuminates. After your initial reaction of fear and expecting the worst fades away, you then wonder what the hell is wrong with the car. Is the transmission on the fritz? Maybe that essential serpentine belt is slipping?
This uncertainty is what a customer support agent feels when they have no information about customers. An agent will receive a call and need to go through the whole introduction process every time – asking for a name, company, email, on and on – as the customer sits on the other end of the line with building frustration.
Don’t settle for an old car with just a check engine light. Much like the modern cars today that can pinpoint problems, technology for customer support has improved substantially over the past decade. Customer support software is now an easy to access repository of customer information, including not only the basics but also information such as qualitative notes about a specific customer that agents can edit.
So when a customer calls in or initiates a chat conversation, an agent can immediately see a note from a colleague that this is a major customer or that they had a bad experience last time so they can try to make things right today.
Additional data including products used, current inventory, and even NPS (Net Promoter Score) information can be stored directly in the software so agents can save time and be smarter with each customer interaction. This level of data is now required to empower your support team so they can provide a quality experience for your customers.
Change your support team from being reactive to proactive
Getting the right data in place is the first step in transforming CX by empowering support teams. Once you have the information, it’s time to change the mind set on how your company communicates with customers.
Compare this to your personal life. A dentist now proactively sends you a text message telling you it’s time to schedule another appointment and doesn’t wait for you to contact them with a toothache. As a parallel, support teams are now reaching out on a periodic basis to “check-up” on customers. This type of proactive support is becoming more common in the business-to-business (B2B) world to ensure undocumented issues are taken care of before they fester and become larger problems.
This style of empowerment helps reduce customer churn and increases overall satisfaction. The days of sitting idly by, waiting for customer issues to reach critical mass before they contact you in a fit of anger are over.
Personalizing and evolving customer support behind the scenes
Finally, once you have the right information and you’re being proactive with its usage, get your support teams on board to make the customer experience more personalized and innovative.
Similar to how some fast food restaurants are offering customers the “just for you” experience of ordering the food they like at their own pace with touchscreen technology, support teams are now utilizing customer support innovations to power personalized knowledge base content.
A customer can log-in to a knowledge base and browse content on their own time that is specifically relevant to their business and products so they can resolve issues. For example, customers aren’t shown content for products they don’t have and this prevents confusion while directly reducing the total number of support inquiries.
Businesses now let customers solve their own problems online by making the right answer clear and easy to find. This eliminates the need for a customer to spend the time interacting directly with support teams to resolve a minor issue.
In short, transforming the customer experience through empowering support teams begins with providing the tools necessary for teams to be successful.
Once they have the right technology and information, creating new forms of communication in a proactive nature with elements of personalization adds that “wow” factor you’ve been missing. Support teams want this and it’s often the spark that elevates the experience customers have with your business.
Customer experience isn’t your typical buzzword and improving your CX takes time and resources. Utilize your support teams to reach that “excellent” level of experience companies strive for because you won’t get there without them.