Empathy is the key to improving the customer experience – and closing more sales

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The opinions expressed by enterprising contributors are their own.

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Post-pandemic economic headwinds and changing customer expectations have left many CEOs scratching their heads about getting the most value out of their customer experience programs. Teams are held accountable for Net Promoter Score and do their best to improve customer retention and interactions, but many don’t see the impact on their bottom line.

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After being in this industry for 25 years, I have seen a change in customer expectations. Here’s how you can ask a different set of questions to move beyond chasing the score and demonstrate more empathy, how you can combine different metrics to measure how customer-focused your teams are, And get more with less effort from three tips on how to combine operations, marketing and people performance.

Related: Are You Offering Your Customers a Personalized Experience? Here’s why you can’t ignore it anymore.

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1. Moving on from chasing scores

Empathy is about understanding the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of another person.

Many customer experience programs are limited to asking, “How likely are you to recommend us?” And then providing a comment box. Some general rating style questions add up to how you feel about the speed of service, quality of the product, price or ease of dealing with them. While there is nothing wrong with any of this, it is not enough to bring about actionable change.

You need to personalize the questions you ask to match the customer scenario and ask only what is relevant to them. Your data should tell you everything you need to know about your customer profile, so change the survey questions to ask what is relevant to that customer. Advanced CX programs will even change the questions as you go through the survey, so for the customer, the overall experience is highly personalized and makes them feel like you care – and helps them appreciate the unique experience they’ve had with you helps. ,

Second, you must target the key behaviors that, when delivered, create the right experience. Understanding what happened in detail can help you understand why they felt that way. This can include steps in your sales process such as greeting, understanding needs, asking for the sale, and recommending additional relevant products; However, it may also include questions such as whether the staff member demonstrated that they loved their job, had a genuine interest in solving the customer’s problem, and sold them a complete solution.

Score chasing is when programs get stuck with ratings and overall scores, but fail to know the truth about what happened at the moment. You need to be extremely clear on the behaviors that drive the experience. To keep your team fully engaged and taking action, feedback should be based on behaviors they can control and improve and you can help them develop new skills and build capabilities.

Empathy, as it relates to customer service programs, is understanding how customers really feel and having clarity about what happened. We find that when feedback is simple to act on and specific to the team member level, it is much easier to hold teams accountable for improvement and create a culture of “no excuses” as they execute key priorities. We do.

RELATED: Do this to level up your customer-experience management game

2. Customer Focused

The next action point is to combine key selling behaviors into one metric we call customer centricity. There is a common misconception that assumes that all customer service standards are the same; Failing to meet one or the other has the same result. However, we find that this is not quite true. In every situation, there will be a core set of behaviors that have the greatest impact on customers buying from you, returning to you and promoting you to others.

As you identify important behaviors from the feedback results, you’ll typically find that there are seven parameters that have the most impact. Some will be related to key service measures, some to side sales steps. For example, if I’m renovating my home and updating window furnishings, I might want to spend $40,000. I look forward to you taking the time to understand everything I need, provide options, sell me a complete solution, provide a quote, follow up on that quote, and take care of me.

What are the key customer-centric steps in your business, and what are the implications if you miss just one of these standards? What was your customer’s purchase mode? Which contestants did they meet before and why did they choose you? What affects the experience of your website before a visit?

By asking non-scoring, marketing-related questions as part of the core program, you begin to profile the customer and personalize the experience by providing you with feedback. For your team, the advantage is being able to group service measures into a single metric called customer centricity, and key sales behaviors into sales centricity.

It is ideal for linking e-learning and financial measures such as average transaction value, items per transaction and conversion rates. The results will show you exactly what behavior was missed and what was the impact on the business.

RELATED: The future is ‘phygital’: What customer experience experts need to know

3. Accomplish More With Less Effort

Many companies struggle because they have different suppliers providing different data (eg CX, foot traffic, e-learning), and they are working in silos.

Big data can provide great insights, but when it’s not easy to take action on an individual level, we find that it actually inhibits improvement. It comes back to a focus on key indicators – and when you focus on executing key priorities, you see a change in performance, whereas the focus on the score is more of a lag indicator.

So here are some tips and examples of how we approach an integrated solution:

Operational: Focus on measures that enable behavior change. Provide real-time coaching to uncover performance deficiencies or strengths when they occur, helping you embed daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly actionable habits. Be clear about what needs to happen in each phase and make it part of the business’s operational rhythm.

HR People Performance: Ask yourself, where do we need to improve from a customer perspective? Profile individual performance across the company, then link skills gaps directly to your eLearning modules. Personalize Coaching. Managing rosters, labor planning, recognition, best practices and sharing top tips for addressing the bottom 20% is essential.

Marketing: You need to understand buying behavior, website experience, competitors visiting, buying patterns, measurement by campaign, boosting social media and Google ratings, and why non-buyers go elsewhere and to whom . Refer-a-friend programs and lead generation should be part of your core CX program.

Accomplishing more with less is what matters most to customers and encouraging everyone to make improvement their priority with no excuses.

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