Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Every year, I receive multiple emails and Facebook ads reminding me that I need to make sure I tell that special someone how much they mean to me. Greeting cards at the store read “You make me feel special,” “Thanks for always being there” and “Valentine, you just get me.”
When it comes to providing good customer experience, the same relationship qualities apply. After all, the number one priority for a brand is to build relationships, whether it’s supporting current customers or courting new ones. So when looking to improve customer experience, going back to relationship basics is essential. Do you treat your customers with empathy and compassion? Are you there for them when they really need you? Are you treating them with respect and empathy? To make sure you are worthy of their love and loyalty, you must deliver customer experience that makes customers smile and feel supported. There are many other suitors out there–simply playing fancy music while on hold is not enough to sustain a long-term relationship or impress new customers.
What goes into a good relationship?
The key to establishing long-lasting loyalty (or long-lasting love) is building a strong foundation. The one piece of sage advice most couples always seem to give as the secret to their longevity is “Never go to bed angry.” I never realized that saying also had a second part to it, “…or bad feelings will harden into resentment.” Brands should also take this sage advice to heart when engaging with their customers. Never let a customer walk away frustrated after an interaction with you. According to PwC,1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience, while 92% would completely abandon a company after two or three negative interactions.
So how can you ensure that your customers will always have a place in their heart for you? Apply these simple relationship rules to your customer experience strategy and watch your relationship with your customers blossom.
Always be there, especially when they need you the most
A big part of a successful relationship is being there when someone needs you. Recognize that your customers are busy and that the ideal time for them to get things done is not always during regular business hours. By offering your customers a way to take care of tasks when they want will make them admire you even more. In the same vein, it’s also important to be there when they need you most–which is often during times of crisis or uncertainty. When unplanned volume hits, answering the needs of your customers by proactively providing information and not making them wait in a long queue will show them that they are your number one priority.
And being there not only means being able to contact you when they want, but also how they want. Make sure that you offer the channels that make sense for your customer base and optimize those channels to create the best customer experience you can. Offering channels that your customers do not use, just for the sake of adding channels, does not allow you to focus on the channels that matter.
Don’t ask them to change for you
As Billy Joel sings “Don’t go changing, to try to please me. I love you just the way you are.” If someone asks you to change yourself in order to be together, it’s a big red flag. With true love, people accept you, for being you.
Today, many brands offer automation to help their customers get things done and decrease costs. However, it is important to remember that not all technology provides the same experience. Some automation technologies require customers to conform and change the way they communicate–either speaking in “a robotic way” or using specific words and phrases. This can lead to a frustrating experience.
Don’t be a cheap date. Invest in technology that understands your customers regardless of accent, background noise, and syntax.
Show them that you care
Sure, getting showered with gifts is always nice, but being treated with empathy, compassion, and respect is more important when it comes to sustaining a relationship. Your customers deserve the same type of treatment when they contact your brand. Especially for industries that deal with emotional topics, such as insurance, finances, and healthcare, the ability to show empathy throughout the entire customer journey can go a long way. Human agents naturally are able to incorporate this sentiment into their conversations, but outdated and inefficient technology has a bit more trouble. In order to keep customer experience efficient with automation, consider implementing technology that has emotion detection and a conversation design that can shift sentiment to accurately respond to different emotions.
Always listen, and let them know they are being heard
“Are you listening to me?” I think it is safe to assume that this is one of the most used expressions in a relationship. No one likes to repeat themselves. And especially in long-lasting relationships, people need to feel like they are being heard to feel loved. Customers are no different.
Often, the automation put in place to make customers’ lives easier actually makes it more difficult. IVR, DTMF, and chatbots, which are popular legacy automation systems, use subpar automatic speech recognition and natural language processing technologies, if at all. When these systems fail, they require customers to repeat and rephrase their communication.
Support customer relationships with quality technology that remembers context and understands the underlying intent of customers, so they feel truly heard and understood. Not only do these more sophisticated technologies, like Intelligent Virtual Assistants, reduce average handling time by eliminating the need to repeat phrases, but it also leaves customers satisfied and committed to your brand.
Remember their name
You can learn a lot from the typical serial dater who texts one of his dates and calls them by the wrong name. There is no recovering from that mistake. In any relationship, taking the time to really get to know someone is essential. Remember their name. Know their likes and dislikes. Recall what was discussed the last time you had a conversation.
For example, you wouldn’t buy your date flowers if you know they like chocolate better. The same holds true when it comes to customer experience. Don’t offer a customer a discount on something that has nothing to do with them. Let them know you know them intimately by offering them pertinent suggestions based on their past interactions or purchase history. Personalization through the seamless integration of a Conversational AI application and existing backend system can make this possible.
There are many ways to impress your customers and make them fall in love with your brand over and over again. Take these simple principles into consideration, especially when implementing technology into the equation. Not all technology offers the same level of customer experience and it’s up to the brand to decide if you want to have lots of new dates or establish long-term relationships. Read our ebook to learn more.