Are all your employees trained to win customer loyalty? Or is it left to your customer support agents?
How your business answers these questions is key to building a loyal customer base for the future. For your customers, the entire experience—from need to sale—will decide where their loyalties lie. Uncanny though it may sound, this decision does not always have to do with price or product availability.
Every business, regardless of size or industry, is looking to improve the customer experience, and there is plenty to consider. To name just a few:
How to connect with customers without making it an explicit sales agenda
When to evoke the role of advisor
How to never use the power of suggestion
When to give the customer enough room to think about their choices
If you can train your employees to accurately recognize what your customers need and expect, and deliver what’s essential with due respect for your customers, you are on the right track.
Brands must keep up with the times, and times are changing. At first, branding was an independent function handled by the upper management. But around the 1990s that began to change. What was once five separate functions of advertising, marketing, sales, support, and branding has had to dovetail into the single seamless function of customer experience management.
Savvy brands recalibrate their views to focus on consistent communication and resource creation. They do this by creating new positions in the brand’s organizational hierarchy, as well as revamping existing ones from across all functions to create a customer experience management or CEM team. This inclusivity is vital for a brand, because every aspect of a brand’s operations, internally and externally, contributes to the customers’ experience. Besides, a great customer experience begins within, when your brand’s internal customers are happy.
Today’s CXO is the brand’s lynchpin. Positioned at the forefront of business and customer interaction, a good CXO keeps up with what customers need and want, from their interactions and transactions in the market. From this perspective, a CXO needs to be specially equipped with information from the entire range of the brand’s communication. Every little detail that can impact a brand’s business at any level is vital information for a CXO. But employee training is where their input is needed most.
The CXO and Training Design are intrinsically linked. Everything a customer needs or wants from a brand is either an actual deliverable or an attitude. Whichever aspect of business it may be, the CXO has the experience to plan strategies and quantify outcomes. A good trainer can springboard these ideas into effective activities for better experiential learning so your employees can make your customers’ day, every day.
Three basic abilities CX training must qualify.
Every rudimentary training curriculum includes product knowledge, language and communication skills. But it takes three additional, but basic abilities to help build customer loyalty:
Honesty is vital to win customer loyalty. Lie to your customer just once about a very small detail and it could lose you more business than you thought was possible. Keep it honest and within the realms of your customers’ understanding and you will build loyalty even if you cannot make them happy every time. In a professional world, honesty is the standard and anything short of the truth can cause problems for your business. So anyone who tends to fudge the facts is not a good fit.
Empathy is the ability to be on par with the customer so you can relate at a real level. Put simply, it is respect for the customer, the product, the team, and the brand. Look out for signs of arrogance in how people approach their roles. It is when we become really good at what we do that we tend to lose sight of the customer.
Listening is a receptive skill, like reading, and allows for better understanding. But effective listening involves more than just being able to hear the words and recap everything that has been said. It’s important for every employee to be aware of the extent and limitations of their listening skills so they can work on improving them. Though there are less than ten external barriers to listening, like noise, bad connections, or the weather, there are many more psychological barriers to listening. Sadness, fear, anger, hunger, and so on, can all get in the way. A good trainer can identify, address, and nurture the change required to bring down those walls.
A well-designed training curriculum can help you understand where all your employees stand on these core abilities. This is the keystone to creating a focussed CEM team, one that can inspire your brand to deliver a good customer experience every time.
In these changing times, customer experience stories indicate a subtle shift in the attitudes and perceptions of both brands and markets. Even as brands adapt to a gamut of changes, customers continue to remain open to experiences before they pledge their loyalty to any brand or marketplace.