Harris Interactive found the following about online customer communication preferences. Although a couple years old, their findings remain suggestive. 62% of consumers online who have had a problem researching a product/service or with the product/service itself go to a company/brand’s website to find information. 28% of customers online said that by improving website usability and search functionality companies can better engage with them to encourage them to spend more.
If customers can’t find what they need online, they want the option to engage with a live person on the phone or a live person to respond to an email or chat online…
1) 73% prefer to speak directly to a live customer service agent
2) 66% want to send an email when they interact with a company.
When consumers are researching a company’s product or service online or having a problem with a product/service, they usually call (62%) or email (49%) the company directly.
–18% of consumers want to be able to chat online with a live agent.
–43% of online customers use a search engine.
REFLECTION: Are we making ourselves available to customers in their preferred lines of communication?
This Customer Experience Impact Report was conducted within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of RightNow Technologies September 2009 among 2,295 U.S. adults ages 18 years or older.
Why is Davis-Mayo Associates committed to delivering our customer service training programs in person rather than remotely by e-Training, CD or video?
CUSTOMIZED & INDIVIDUALIZED. We customize the program to fit the needs and the outlook of participants. Scenarios, examples and role plays are taken from an organization’s experience (through our pre-session preparation). Participants’ language is employed; their challenges are addressed. ADVANTAGE:
1) Participants “buy in” and remain engaged;
2) Participants apply the learning to their specific world;
3) Better understanding of the approaches, tools and nationally field-tested best practices.
GROUP INTERACTION. Small and plenary group exploration creates an opportunity to share and resolve issues. Larger group discussions instill understanding and overcome resistance. ADVANTAGE:
1) Rapport, trust and team thinking emerge;
2) Participants become active problem-solvers;
3) Participants discover ways to support one another;
4) The group “brings along” resistors;
5) Opportunities for collaboration and application appear.
LEARNING IS “CAUGHT.” Questions can be answered. Discussion leads to new awareness among participants. Feedback to facilitator who is expert both in customer service and adult learning provides opportunities for clarification and application. Best practices are shared among participants. ADVANTAGE:
1) This is the best way to invite notable change in “attitudes” as well as behaviors;
2) Knowledge acquisition is richer and transfer of training to every-day application more powerful;
3) Impact leads to retention and on-target application;
4) Areas of participant interest are addressed on the spot.
A LIVE FACILITATOR IS PART OF THE PROGRAM. The facilitator models the content. A good facilitator helps people shift their attitudes and behaviors, in addition to merely passing on skills. It is powerful to find a facilitator who is also a subject matter expert. Clients tell us that this makes all the difference. ADVANTAGE:
1) Role model adds clarity and motivation;
2) Rapport with facilitator generates commitment to the content.
SO, WHAT CAN MAKE LIVE TRAINING WORTH IT?
1) Customized content.
2) Immediate real-life application.
3) Opportunities to learn and apply by asking questions.
4) Synergy and humor—the “ah-ha” and the “ha-ha” factors.
5) Inspiration and motivation.
6) Interaction and human engagement.
7) Connection and commitment.
What is a “brand?” It is a very personal connection that forms in the minds of customers and coworkers through their experience with us—at every point of contact.
Consider that each of us has our own personal “brand” as a professional. Groups, teams and departments have a brand, too. We invite positive connection and trust from our customers and coworkers when we maintain a balanced, professional brand. This attraction results often in their loyalty. It opens the way for communication, trust, personal effectiveness.
Effective professionals have learned to maintain a consistent personal and team brand when they are “on stage” with customers and coworkers. Professional excellence is not just attention to doing tasks well; it is attention to a professional, balanced brand with people, too!
There is a significant link between a customer’s perception of any organization and how they perceive they were treated by one of that organization’s employees at any given time. What makes us stand out in today’s service-oriented culture is the excellence of our personal, team and department brand. These add up to be our organization’s brand.
OUR PROFESSIONAL ROLE: Maintaining an Excellent Personal Brand.
Your organization may employ many people. Yet a customer forms a judgment about our entire organization through contact with any one of them. If this one person is seen as unprofessional or inefficient, the bad impression is not easily or quickly overcome. Courtesy and efficiency over an extended period of time is required to overcome that negative experience. Therefore, every one of us who comes into contact with customers is a perception-creator. The perception is an advertisement…good or bad.
When you are interacting with a customer, you are your organization to them! In addition to our “job description,” we have a “role” to play with each customer–it’s not just WHAT we do; it’s HOW we do it–every time; every interaction.
REFLECTION: What reflexes and habits do I exhibit, which threaten my professional brand–not in my eyes; but in the eyes of others?
Here’s a brief recap of common factors that promote employee restlessness, which have surfaced from years of questionnaires and surveys we’ve conducted in order to pulse employee job engagement in multiple U.S. organizations.
Most of the following factors seem to be symptoms of one common theme: my work is not human.
- Fast pace of work without the training or technology to support it
- Repetitive tasks without opportunities for variety
- Being a target for problems and complaints all day long
- Hours that conflict with personal commitments
- Compensation that falls short of personal commitments
- Feeling confined to a small, stale work space
- Unsatisfactory interaction with co-workers
- Lack of permission to make decisions (appropriate discretion), leading to the feeling of being treated like a child
- Being watched all the time (supervisor hovering, technological surveillance, metrics without communication and coaching)
- Unnecessary regimentation
- Feeling unappreciated by the organization
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:
- How do you keep work productive, yet human?
- How does workplace wellbeing impact cost and revenue?
Evidence suggests that one of the best approaches to hiring customer service personnel is through behavior based interviewing. If your goal is to select and retain the right employees–high performing professionals with the attitudes you need–it is critical to obtain accurate information about a person’s potential match to your organization.
The use of “behavior based questions” will garner that insight into a candidate’s competencies and culture fit. Remember that, while many skills can be learned, attitudes are much more difficult to change—especially if they don’t fit your organization’s culture and standards. Focus questions on behaviors, attitudes, knowledge and skills required for the job. Past behavior will help indicate future performance.
Behavioral interviewing is said to be 55% predictive of future on-the-job behavior, while traditional interviewing techniques are only 10% predictive.
Behavior based questions” are open-ended questions, which focus on how a candidate actually performed in the past, rather than how they think or feel they would do. Examples of such questions are:
- “What steps do you follow when…”
- “Describe how you…
- “Tell me about a time when you…”
- “Give me an example of a situation where you…”
- “Describe a situation in which you were able to use persuasion to successfully convince someone to see things your way.”