More and more companies are realizing that the cost of retaining current customers can be far cheaper than acquiring new ones. However, in order to succeed at this strategy and add to a healthier bottom line, you need to turn positive customer relationships (loyalty) into more sales of goods and services. This is where problems arise.
Companies large and small oftentimes turn to technological solutions such as online/offline loyalty programs, “smart” customer-relationship-management (CRM) systems, and other technologies to improve service/quality. Unfortunately, most of these initiatives end in disappointment, or at least, unmet expectations. What’s often missing is not the tool itself but the spark between customers and frontline support staff. Without this spark, tools simply become and afterthought, a hinderance in transforming cynical or wary people into strong believers and loyal brand followers.
Companies known for great customer service understand how to create these sparks. These companies know how leverage emotionally-charged situations and conversations to earn trust and increase loyalty. These situations often occur when customers are at their most vulnerable state. For example: a lost shipment, a wrong order, a non-working application, a damaged product, etc. When customers invest a large amount of emotionally-charged energy in exchange for a reasonable outcome your frontline support staff must respond in a way that not only puts the customers’ needs in front of all else but also in a way that is instinctive.
It’s sometimes difficult for companies to transform the way it responds to customers. Many are stuck in a cycle early on and run a patch routine to “fix” things. Fortunately, there is a way to train your support staff to learn “instinctual” support and build emotional intelligence (EQ). Emotionally-charged conversations require a certain level of EQ to deal with. And contrary to popular belief, EQ can be taught, and therefore, increased. One way to do this is by removing as much “scripted” events as possible. Many support teams mistakenly use scripted responses to customer conversation, which are by definition spontaneous events, thereby removing all authenticity and empathy from the customer experience. Things such as these make it difficult to improve the EQ of your support staff and impedes empathetic behavior (instinct). As a result, sparks are diminished, and the excellence of your frontline support staff is muffled by the over reliance of your tools.
Performance Via Emotions
Normal, every day transactions are boring. A successful purchase, a good/service well-delivered, and a thank-you email promptly sent are all hallmarks of great service but they don’t come even close to emotionally-charged conversations when it comes to the number of opportunities generated. Emotionally-charged conversations occur when the customer has a problem. These opportunities offer vastly more opportunities to create emotional bonds with the customer. When your support staff perform well here, and with the same level of emotion and EQ, you win. Many companies often over invest in normal, every day scenarios but fail to set themselves apart when it comes to experiences that truly matter.
To Be Continued…