In the past decade, as more and more businesses have recognized the value of delivering an exceptional experience, “customer experience” has become a clear competitive differentiator and a key metric for business success.
During a recent webinar delivered by Internet Creations, “Personalization to Build Customer Relationships, which explored customer experience from the perspective of personalization, one of the four pillars of the Service Experience Suite, Adrienne Lieberman, IC’s Product Marketing Manager noted that “84% of customers say experience is as important as the products and services.” (quoted from the 2019 Salesforce State of Service Report)
Drawing from their varied experiences in the customer experience space, Howard and Jenny provide two distinctive perspectives on the value of personalization as well as tangible ways businesses can use personalization to craft an excellent service experience.
” 84% of customers say experience is as important as the products and services” – 2019 Salesforce State of Service
Imagine this scenario: A customer emails a company about a frustrating product issue. For support teams that prioritize traditional KPIs like First Response Time and Time to Resolution, this customer represents a straightforward challenge: reply quickly and close the case quickly.
Typically agents have to pick between these traditional metrics–metrics that only emphasize speed, quality, or cost. (And at most, he noted, an agent can only pick two to the detriment of the other).
But you can’t make relationships if you only focus on KPIs.
For a support team that prioritizes the customer experience, the “metrics” are far more nuanced.
Howard notes that when KPIs focus on speed, for example, the metrics inevitably alienate the customer: “If everything is about speed, how can you expect to connect–to really personalize the experience?”
In this sense, personalization is about taking each case on its own merits–attempting to communicate to each person behind the case.
How do you communicate? Questions matter. If agents don’t understand the issues, they won’t be informed enough to personalize. Questions build rapport, and rapport builds trust. Another stat from Salesforce: “73% of customers say trust in companies matters more than it did a year ago.”
For Jenny, who uses her background in mindfulness to define personalization, every customer contact, every email, phone call, or chat represents “a beautiful idea, opportunity, or person.”
The language of mindfulness is not an obvious fit for a business world focused on KPIs, but Jenny’s point rings true: “How do you treat people like humans while still getting things done?”
Just as personalization enhances the customer experience, your service agents also require a high level of humanized communication – specifically in the context of training, resources, and tools.
As Jenny noted: “You won’t have stellar customer experience if your employee experience totally sucks.”
Jenny’s company takes a unique approach to train: NumberBarn does use KPIs but only from the perspective of the team–how does the team perform, for example, on TTR? More importantly, however, is the individual communications, which Jenny’s team scans for specific elements that have proven successful or unsuccessful, including tone, diction, and spelling and grammar.
This micro-approach emphasizes the personalized aspect of the service experience at NumberBarn, where each agent has a hand in creating his or her own tools and resources. For example, Jenny has all agents modify scripted emails to suit their own style.
When you give agents space to be creative, they feel more empowered to deliver an exceptional experience. And for NumberBarn, this process never ends. Jenny continues to ask: Do you have the resources and tools to answer questions?
In the end, of course, personalization won’t work if people don’t know what they’re doing.
“When you give agents space to be creative, they feel more empowered to deliver an exceptional experience”
Tools like Email to Case Premium’s Canned Comments, which Howard calls a “fast forward button” to success, help to make personalization much easier.
The human touch must extend to all aspects of a business. Howard urges managers to build reflection into coaching. ”If the tools aren’t supporting personalization, fix them.”
In the end, each customer is a story, and the agent is part of the story. Personalization offers a path to creating this story with a happy ending—-what Jenny calls “the awesome in every interaction.”
For more of this fun and nuanced conversation about the value of personalization, be sure to check out the webinar Personalization to Build Customer Relationships today!
Learn more about how you can personalize your communication with Email to Case Premium