Does your company opt for damage control over solutions? An article by Krysta Gahagen gives an example of a coffee shop that had a mechanical problem with their coffee maker. The shop put up signs informing customers that hot coffee would not be available that day.
A solutions-based company would encourage their employees to be creative and offer solutions instead, like giving drink recommendations in lieu of the coffee maker being broken. Instead of losing customers before they entered the store, these alternative signs might encourage customers to come in and try something new. The idea is simple, but many companies don’t put it into action.
Employees should be able to think in terms of solutions when issues arise with products or services, not damage control. This involves allowing and encouraging anticipation of customer needs, removing the strict adherence to scripted responses, and completing all remaining tasks necessary after helping customers.
Patience, teamwork, and flexibility are crucial traits in this methodology, from corporate managers to store supervisors to front-line employees. Taking this approach to customer service can have many positive results, including increased customer loyalty and improved job satisfaction among customer service agents.
Strict adherence to scripting and brand voice can have negative results, specifically when it comes to agent morale. Yes, it’s important in many industries that companies adhere to rules and regulations. I’m not saying we need to remove training and scripts from contact centers and tell agents, “Say whatever you want!”
What I am saying is that agents should be given trust from their supervisors and other leaders. They should be trusted to use a script as a guideline with the freedom to help the customers without strict adherence. This freedom certainly benefits customers due to a more conversational (and potentially helpful) interaction, but it also provides a benefit for employee morale.
Heavy turnover has plagued contact centers for decades. Being an agent is a tough job dealing with angry customers, but it’s made even harder when you don’t feel like you’re a vital piece of the customer experience. By giving more trust and freedom to your agents, you encouraging them to think critically and go beyond a rigid script in order to find solutions for customers.
You have chatbots and other AI to handle mundane and script-specific tasks, why treat your human agents like you expect them to be robots? There are obvious standards that will always need to apply to customer service representatives (they can’t just lie customers or make promises that the company can’t back up).
However, the more experienced and comfortable agents become in their role, the more opportunity they should receive to have a creative, solutions-oriented mindset within the job. This will help agents feel more like they’re a respected, important piece of the big picture and could potentially lower attrition rates.
This blog post is based on an article from CustomerThink. To read the article, please click here!
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