Avoid These Six Behaviors for Better Customer Experience
By David Sudbey, Chief Customer Officer and President, Cogito
Many of us have been that frustrated, disappointed or eager customer on the other end of a customer service call. We can feel whether or not the representative is truly engaged and trying to connect to solve the issue. Real human connection cannot be faked or manufactured.
With more choices available to customers than ever before, unsatisfactory experiences often lead individuals to take their business elsewhere. Customer-facing organizations must ensure their CX goes above and beyond expectations to attract and retain customers—and knowing what call behaviors to avoid is critical to their success.
Avoid These Six Behaviors
Creating connections between the agent, the customer, and the business will always be a "must-have" not a "nice to have" to build a truly customer-centric organization. Emotion and genuine human connections set brands apart—and certain call behaviors can bother customers so much that the entire brand experience is disrupted.
Here are the top six behaviors that customers find the most frustrating:
- Long Periods of Silence—Customers want to feel heard. Conversational silence often feels like a lack of engagement or distraction. Also known as "dead air," silence typically occurs when agents must look up information to actively solve the customer's issue, yet fail to acknowledge what’s happening. Agents must be active participants in every call, narrating their actions as they take them.
- Inappropriate Speaking Pace—When an agent speaks too quickly, the customer may have trouble understanding or following them, or may feel like their issue isn’t important to the agent; whereas when an agent speaks too slowly, the customer may feel as though the issue isn’t getting resolved, or the agent isn’t matching the urgent nature of their issue. Finding the right pace to match the customer is critical.
- Monologuing—When agents continuously talk for long periods of time without stopping or engaging, it’s natural for customers to tune them out and not absorb what they say. Agents must avoid monologues to create more engaging conversations.
- Frequent Interruptions—To have productive and positive discussions, two parties cannot battle each other to speak. Talking over each other creates chaos that disrupts the call flow, and negatively impacts customer emotions, and, ultimately, the call resolution.
- Low Energy—Energy is a telltale sign of engagement. If that enthusiasm or eagerness is missing, customers tend to be dissatisfied with the service experience.
- Lack of Empathy—Emotional connections are the top driver of customer experiences, as noted by Forrester. Empathy, specifically, is critical to forging relationships, creating human connections at every interaction. With competition increasing across nearly every industry, the stakes are high to keep customers satisfied and loyal. Empathy helps customers feel more valued. When empathy is not felt, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
To succeed today, it's critical brands rid the customer experience of the most well-known frustrations and provide experiences customers expect and desire.
What Your Customers Really Want
It's pretty simple: When customers feel good and valued by a brand, they remain loyal to it. It's up to each brand to exude positive emotions during customer conversations—avoiding the most frustrating call behaviors—to help customers feel like an individual, rather than just a number.
This has become incredibly clear as new offerings and service providers compete for narrowing market share, and choices feel endless. To acknowledge customers have the power to select who they spend their wallet share with and appreciate every individual's business goes a long way in the entire customer experience journey. The consistency in delivering positive interactions that customers crave ultimately positions companies for long-term loyalty and customer success, resulting in customers who will be more inclined to advocate and stand alongside a brand today and into the future.
The Developing Role of Technology
It's easy to identify call behaviors that are dissatisfying customers. However, we must also consider the agent experience when evaluating the customer experience. Customer service jobs are notoriously known for their high turnover rates and burnout from handling 30+ calls daily. With the next-gen CX coming to fruition, the best organizations will do a much better job supporting agents on and off calls. Organizations must give agents the tools, technology and processes to help them throughout conversations, alleviate frustrations and improve performance.
One opportunity to explore is augmenting agent intelligence with machine intelligence, which can create better experiences than one without the other. AI Coaching is becoming increasingly popular to enable agents to address negative call behaviors in conversations, self learn and lessen the frequency of negative behaviors over time.
As humans and machines continue to work alongside each other, the value-add of agent empathy—and human connection—will only increase.
Defining Good Customer Experience Today
Defining a good customer experience can feel impossible, given all the variables and preferences out there. But one thing is for sure: customer-centricity is virtually always at the heart of good customer experiences.
If customers don’t feel an organization’s customer-centric mindset, they won’t think twice about ditching the brand. And, while avoiding all of the most frustrating call behaviors is imminent to CX success, empathy could take home the crown as the most important quality to maintain. Empathy is a foundational ingredient to customer service that will not go out of style anytime soon—the soft skill helps organizations deliver constant value and genuine human connections.
Do it right, and you earn loyalty and customers for life.