How a Contact Center’s Culture Impacts Every Customer Interaction
You would be hard pressed to find an industry where market competition has not upped the ante for customer interactions. The truth is, heightened consumer expectations have thinned out any margin for error in the customer experience. Now, it only takes one bad encounter for 56% of consumers to stop using a company, and even more forgiving customers require five good experiences to offset anything negative. The stakes are high, but giving customer service representatives the right foundation to leave a positive impression can improve customer retention. Here’s how a supportive culture within your contact center has the potential to impact every customer interaction.
Unveiling the Human Side of KPIs
Consistent quality across customer interactions involves more than just hitting KPIs. Though lowering average handle times and increasing first call resolution are the building blocks of a good experience, they do not do the work of “wowing” customers. In fact, a customer service representative (CSR) can achieve every SLA benchmark and still not enchant customers enough for them to remain loyal. A rewarding connection should always outweigh the metrics, giving CSRs a sense that their work impacts people in a substantive way and that what they are doing matters.
Though certain CSRs will see the significance of their work in their day-to-day actions, an effective company culture will make it resonate for the entire team. That’s why the approach to communicating meaning needs both an individual and a comprehensive focus.
Here’s an example. In our quarterly training programs, we not only cover basic leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and communication with our CSRs, but we help them to understand the impact on the brands and customers they serve. Once they are working for a client, our one-on-one coaching helps to identify how they are impacting customers, reinforce the important experience they provide, and celebrate their wins. By doing so, the people on the other end of every customer service channel feel real, and the work of providing exceptional experiences becomes tangible.
Empowering CSRs to Take Charge
There can be a sense that customer service work is meaningful, yet CSRs can still feel as if they do not have the means to deliver exemplary experiences. They crave empowerment and the most dynamic customer service organizations recognize and embrace that need.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, emphasizes the importance of empowerment at a cultural level in his book Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose. He says “We believe that in general, the best ideas and decisions are made from the bottom up, meaning by those on the front lines that are closest to the issues and/or the customers.” Through this front-line experience, CSRs attune themselves to what makes a customer experience memorable and the practical steps needed to achieve that end result. If your company culture affords them the autonomy to pursue that goal, customer interactions will become meaningful to everyone involved.
Creating a sense of empowerment across your customer service team starts by taking a leap of faith. If your hiring process is effective at finding and acquiring resourceful people who are willing to go the extra mile, then it shouldn’t be too far of a leap. Trusting the people who you hire and giving them the resources necessary to take independent action toward customer resolutions not only creates higher level interactions but eliminates the need to micromanage them. With most of our leadership team having started on the phones, big picture strategy is also guided and enhanced by a customer-centric mentality.
Creating a Supportive Company Culture
Building the right contact center culture takes time. Not only do you want it to align with your existing values and brand, but there are specific customer experience best practices that your team needs to follow. Rather than creating an exceptional team and culture from scratch, many companies opt to work with a contact center partner that delivers remarkable experiences without the need to ramp up or experiment with the working atmosphere.
At TLC, we have dedicated ourselves to creating a contact center environment where every person – from the customer to the client to the employees themselves – experiences remarkable results. Our people receive ongoing training and coaching to ensure that they are empowered to always provide the best possible experiences. Plus, we keep the lines of communication open through suggestion boxes and internal focus groups so that our employees feel heard, and are willing to work harder to retain customers at higher rates than our competition.
Want to see the full impact a contact center’s company culture can have on your customer service? Learn how one of our clients improved fulfillment and increased FCR by 91% using our CSRs.