The goal of every organization should be to keep customers happy. It’s the definition of quality customer service. And it sounds simple: exceed customer expectations. The question is, “How?”
Giving customers what they think may satisfy their immediate needs is not enough for a long-term partnership. The key to high-quality customer service in the call center is understanding your customers and empathizing with them.
Customers often don’t know what is best for them. They want to talk to someone who cares about them and their problems, and they’ll make decisions based on how they feel after that interaction (95% of purchases are made subconsciously). That’s why your customer service agents must go beyond being “an expert,” Instead, they become someone your customers trust and have a rapport with.
The mindset of your agents has to be “listen and learn” first, and then show “real interest” and “genuine concern” for the customer’s problems. When you empathize with your customers, it results in:
The customer-agent partnership should be all about mutual interest and mutual respect. So, how can your agents establish the level of customer intimacy required to have meaningful dialogue? We’ve collected the top customer service tips for call centers to develop empathy and delight your customers.
Eighty percent of companies think they deliver superior service, but only 8 percent of customers agree with them. Why the discrepancy?
While agents are focused on carrying out their responsibilities, making their numbers, keeping their boss happy, and keeping their jobs, they don’t see far enough down the road. They are transaction-oriented, and they are fallingnecting with your customers first and foremost.
The solution is to use empathy to focus on making your customers feel like valued individuals instead of a number in your queue. Here’s how.
Your customers want someone who expresses genuine interest in them. A compliment is always welcome. It’s good to recognize and appreciate the customer’s hard work and accomplishments and t and challenges and roadblocks.
Recognize that the customer’s job is hard. They want to interact with someone who wants not only to solve their problem but t do it enthusiastically and confidently. The customer load may seem a little lighter if the agent is ready to do what’s needed for them.
Empathetic phrases to use:
Customers want to deal with someone who shares valuable knowledge and insights; they are looking for an informed consultant. The key is to be empathetic. Your agent’s tone needs to put your customers at ease, delivering the product/service as requested and how they want. Be where the customer is. Meet them where they’re at and go the extra mile.
Empathetic phrases to use:
Agents shouldn’t be afraid of getting intimate with customers. An emotional connection is critical to customer satisfaction and should be an essential tool in every agent’s kit.
Your agents need to recognize how a customer is feeling, share their understanding of the situation, and speak about more than just the problem. A little bit of personality can go a long way.
Once your contact center has identified the behaviors and the conversations that work best, you can move that model to the assembly line for every customer. It can become your benchmark for performance—as long as it’s tied to direct (measurable) actions.
For example, you might create a set of to-dos based on empathy for every call, email, live chat, and text.
By following these steps, your agents will have no choice but to build empathy into their interactions and grow their emotional intelligence. And by recognizing each customer for who they are and reinforcing the behaviors that delight the customer, you’ll create a model of best practices that will take customer service from ordinary to extraordinary.
While it can be difficult to measure emotional intelligence and the use of empathy, there are ways to watch it during interactions. Self-scorecards can help your agents monitor every interaction and determine how well they’re demonstrating empathy.
With a self-scorecard, you can measure:
Based on your questions, you can then gather a baseline for empathy within your call center and then provide additional training or offer rewards.
While creating a call center script that builds in empathetic phrases, questions, and comments can be valuable, it does not build empathy. Your agents need to be empowered to handle any customer situation with empathy as their guide. To do this, training is required.
When it comes to training for empathy, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Management should reward agents who demonstrate empathy. Emotionally intelligent agents are crucial to your customer’s journey and will deliver far more equity and lifetime value. And any process that makes it easier for customers to work with you should be promoted throughout your organization.
And remember, rewards can and should be more than just words. Offer tangible prizes such as:
The bottom line is that it is in everyone’s best interest to delight your customers with empathy. Customers pleased with their experiences will be less price-sensitive and more likely to do repeat business with you. They will also become your advocates and best salespeople by recommending you to their business associates.