Making Each Interaction Count: How Everyone Is Becoming Customer Facing

Customer experience (CX) is everyone’s business. Those on the frontline of customer services – such as those working in a call centre environment or account managers focused on client delivery – are used to handling direct interactions.

However, many traditionally ‘non-customer facing’ employees are having to step up – particularly in light of the current circumstances – and are making themselves more available for by phone, video conference, as well as messaging apps and online chat.

Also, there’s more pressure on employees who are used to customer handling – as the number of platforms they use to deal with customers continues to grow.

Here are a few ways employees can navigate different customer interactions, and how companies can help them better serve customers using what technology has to offer.

Supporting Those Unused To Interactions

Typically, there are some business roles and functions – such as accounts, HR, product manager, even IT – that are completely focused on back office operations. While some will work with internal customers and stakeholders, a lot of the work they do is process-driven.

When being physically present isn’t possible, and as remote working becomes the norm, external communication becomes critical – meaning many of these employees will need some guidance.

While there are some very simple points that apply across the board – such as making sure details are correct, listening carefully to each customer in order to understand their query, thinking before speaking, and responding in a calm, polite helpful manner – the response itself needs to fit with the channel being used.

Deliver An On-Brand Customer Experience

Web chats, messaging apps, and customer portals are now part of the communications mix for most modern businesses – in addition to phone and video calls – and each one requires a different approach.

Customers want to be heard and understood, but they communicate very differently in short form text than they do when speaking. Customer facing staff need to be acutely aware of the different nuances and focus on getting and proving clarity.

It’s also vital to make sure that the way in which staff communicates reflects your company’s brand values and aligns with overall CX objectives. For example, a B2B fintech service that prides itself on accuracy will need to be much more formal in the way they communicate than a hip consumer clothing or drinks company.

Using Tech To Optimise Efficiency

Another thing to be mindful of is efficiency. A large number of customer interactions require a lot of coordination. When the pressure’s on, it’s easy to lose sight of the importance of CX and to try to cut to the chase – which can impact on how the customer perceives the brand.

However, advances in technology are helping to alleviate these issues. While AI-based chatbots are already commonplace on messaging-led customer service platforms, it could soon be possible for machine learning AI to guide agents in real time – on both calls and online chats

For example, the AI would monitor the call and make suggestions based on what it detects. Say a piece of information is needed, the AI could recognise the customer name and immediately bring up the files for the agent to review – saving them a lot of time and effort.

Similarly, AI could be used to suggest next steps and could even detect customer emotions; prompting agents to change their approach when necessary to offer a better experience to angry, upset, and frustrated customers – without having to escalate calls to management.

All things considered, customer interactions continue to evolve in line with consumer needs, habits, and the types of platforms available.

While commonsense, empathy, and a proactive attitude apply in all cases, efficiencies are crucial from a business perspective. But with the right technologies in place, all of these concerns can be addressed at the same time.