In a webinar that was sponsored by contact-center consultants Keynomics Thursday, call center expert Colin Taylor put forward the idea that, in the age of social media, customer experience is the new marketing.
“It used to be that we said an unhappy customer would tell 22 people about his experience. Now it might well be 22 million,” he said. Customers continue to believe that 70-80% of the comments they see online are valid, Taylor said, so companies should take care to have customers hang up satisfied when they speak to call centers.
He called out two banks, Ally and Chase, for including a strong customer service message in their marketing. Ally had the well-known “Robot” ad, and Chase made the same point in marketing for its Sapphire card with the slogan, “Reach a person, not a prompt.”
Below are a few of the points Taylor made that struck us as valuable for financial institutions to consider.
– Empower your agents to be problem-solvers. Studies show that empowered agents save money and cut down on call volume.
– Align call centers with your brand message by including call-center representatives in marketing meetings. Don’t let agents hear about marketing initiatives from customers.
– IVR (or interactive voice response) is here to stay, but keep your automated phone trees simple, and always offer a 0-out option to reach an operator at every level. Don’t make customers so frustrated that they’re ready to explode by the time they reach a live agent.
Agents should show empathy and try to solve problems before trying to sell anything, Taylor pointed out, and added that simple listening is a key, and under-valued, skill — to which we say, “Hear, hear!”