To further compound matters, many of today’s customers will only contact an organization once they have exhausted all other avenues to resolve an issue, meaning that many times they’re already verging on frustration. The way customer service employee handles that call can make a difference between the customer becoming a brand promoter or a brand detractor.
This is especially true when the call is related to something that the customer puts great value on; for example, a vehicle. Not only is a car an expensive investment, but there’s also an emotional attachment to a vehicle. And, motorists don’t necessarily go straight to the manufacturer at the first sign of trouble. Instead, some will ask a friend for advice or take their vehicle to a local mechanic. This phenomenon makes the pathway to resolution very complex. First, there’s a good chance that by the time the customer reaches out to the manufacturer, they’re doing this as a last resort. Plus, there is a lot of pressure on customer service associates to make things right for the customer.
While training is necessary to ensure that agents are able to help resolve customers’ issues, at TTEC we also believe that personal employee attributes of agents have an impact on improving Net Promoter ScoreTM (NPS®). Primary among these employee attributes is the associate’s ability to work with empathy, showing the customer at the other end of the line that the associate understands them, even in instances where they cannot resolve their problem immediately.
At a time when a major differentiator for many organizations is the service they deliver, contact center business leaders need to pay attention to the personal attributes of their associates during the hiring and training process to ensure that they’re able to handle customer issues effectively. Here are the eight attributes that we believe business leaders should be looking for in their contact center agents:
- Attitude: Negative attitudes have no place in a contact center. Associates need to be passionate about helping customers.
- Caring: Customers who call in with a problem want to be heard by someone who genuinely cares about them and is actively trying to help them resolve their issue.
- Valuing the Customer: Understanding that the customer might be distressed while calling an organization, associates need to show the customer that the company values them and their business.
- Friendliness: Especially when customers are angry or upset, they need to feel as if they’re speaking to a friend who has their best interest at heart. Even if customers are frustrated when calling an organization, associates need to conduct the conversation in a friendly manner.
- Helpfulness: Rather than strive to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible, associates should try to gain as much insight into what the client needs, even if the customer himself is unable to verbalize it.
- Honesty: The worst thing that agents can do is lie to customers. Associates need to be truthful in cases when they cannot resolve the customer’s issue.
- Politeness: Customers want to feel that the organization respects them and as the face of the organization during that conversation, associates need to make sure they conduct the conversation with absolute politeness.
- Professionalism: Even if a customer gets angry, associates need to keep their cool and make sure that they continue the conversation in a professional manner.
These personal attributes, or “soft skills,” are pre-requisites for an organization to achieve high Net Promoter Scores. Customers who are doing business with an organization want to feel that the company isn’t only after their money, but will be there to help them at any time after the purchase is made. Especially for organizations fighting for market share, word of mouth is extremely important, and the way agents conduct an interaction will have an impact on whether or not customers become ultimately become brand promoters or detractors.
Net Promoter Score is a trademark of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld. NPS is a registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld.