Millions of commuters and travelers struggling to reach their destinations in last month’s massive snowstorm, “Blizzard 2016,” found themselves stranded with no means out because their transportation carriers were unsuccessful in updating their communication channels. While the airlines and train companies can’t be blamed for the nearly two feet of snow that pummeled a large part of the East Coast, they can be held accountable for leaving customers without the necessary information as to delays and cancellations.
In this instance, after receiving inaccurate travel information on the company websites and social media channels, stranded travelers had every right to be upset with the organizations for failing to meet their needs. Customers need to know they can trust these resources, and, as such, it’s imperative for businesses to continually update their communication platforms in order to ensure customer satisfaction and retention.
“Blizzard 2016,” while a significant weather calamity, does not excuse companies from upholding their responsibilities toward their customers. So, where in your organization does this accountability reside? Typically, the responsibility lies within your contact center and your agents—the brand ambassadors for most companies. As such, contact center managers need to make sure their agents are empowered to keep customers informed across all channels at all times. Here’s why:
Ease customer frustration: Informing customers about a product or service issue before it becomes their problem is a sound strategy for ensuring an optimal customer experience. Admitting to a wrongdoing or telling customers that a service or product for which they’re paying for is malfunctioning is never pleasant, but informing them earlier rather than later may limit its negative impact. For instance, using the example of the stranded travelers, these people would have known to adjust their travel times to accommodate revised schedules, instead of waiting outside in the cold, if their transportation providers had updated their websites promptly.
By training agents to be proactive and to continuously update company websites and social media networks in real-time, your company will be able to keep your customers informed as needed, while also helping them avoid any further inconvenience. To ensure this kind of optimal customer service, you must provide your agents with the most comprehensive and effective tools available. Contact center software with a built-in automated coaching system, such as e-coaching, will give agents the competitive edge to meet these omni-channel needs.
Cultivate brand loyalty: Customers need to have confidence in your company and its products or services if you’re ever going to sustain a lasting relationship with them. As such, customer trust is an important component that will propel the relationship from transaction-based to pattern-based, according to a study by the International Journal of Economics, Commerce and Management. To achieve this level of loyalty, a company needs to not only keep customers abreast of any relevant information that may affect them, but to also treat them with respect and consideration at all times.
Managers can support this initiative by deploying a workforce optimization solution that includes customized coaching features that will automatically send recordings of evaluated customer interactions to agents for coaching exactly when they need it most. Since the software is completely customized, agents can focus on their own specific needs and not waste time training on skills in which they are already proficient, thus enabling agents to gain insight into the customer’s experience, and transform every interaction into a lasting customer relationship.
People understand that bad things, like “Blizzard 2016,” happen, but when you strive to keep your customers informed and assure them that you’re committed to resolving their issues, you’re demonstrating that you value them and that you’ll do what it takes to keep their business. This kind of exceptional customer service will help cultivate brand loyalty and ultimately increase your company’s bottom line.