Responding Authentically Drives Customer Retention
There is a lot of talk around replacing contact center agents with bots or some form of self-service options. But according to research conducted by NewVoiceMedia, 75% of customers still prefer a live agent (voice or chat) to help them solve their issues.
Successful companies know how to create a culture that allows agents to not only express empathy but express the Right level of empathy for the customer’s situation. Here is an example.
A customer who is calling to get roadside assistance because they have a flat tire.
Agent#1 “I apologize for your situation.”
Agent#2 “I’m sure that’s really frustrating for you.”
Agent #2 does a better job of expressing empathy that expresses what the customer must be feeling. They recognize what is going on in the customer’s world. This would be perceived as “more authentic” vs. canned and routine.
You can teach agents how to use the skill of active listening, here are 8 steps created by David Grosman that are right on target with how we teach this skill in our simulator
- Approach each dialogue with the goal to learn something. …
- Stop talking and focus closely on the speaker. …
- Open and guide the conversation. …
- Drill down to the details. …
- Summarize what you hear and ask questions to check your understanding. …
- Encourage with positive feedback.
- Listen for total meaning
- Pay attention to your responses
I’ve highlighted number 5 as this step is really critical step. It demonstrates to the customer that you truly understand their situation and can accurately paraphrase what is going on.
When the customer senses you are truly trying to get to the heart of their issue or how to help them out. This builds a level of trust. This connection is priceless and should not be taken lightly. When customers feel you are trustworthy they are more likely to continue doing business with you.