5 Tips to Hiring and Retaining Employees with Customer Satisfaction in Mind

When businesses look for customer service reps to fill their support positions, it can be difficult to gauge whether a candidate is prepared for the role.

Decision-makers who strategically craft their hiring processes and requirements are better suited for success, according to a recent Training Magazine article by Merry Gagg, a training account manager at Signature Worldwide.

Gagg explained that hiring practices should not be a guessing game, suggesting a set of questions that managers should ask themselves before diving into a stack of resumes or setting up interviews:

  1. What is a typical customer like? Locking down an idea of the average individual seeking support from a brand is key for creating effective hiring methods. Decision-makers with a clear vision of their target audience will have a much easier time in their search for compatible service staff and reaching high levels of customer satisfaction.
  2. How should customers be treated? Team leaders should visualize how they’d like their ideal service interaction to occur, and try to assess whether a potential candidate would be able to fulfill that vision. Traits such as patience, vocal articulation and professionalism are all key things to look for. Consumers remember their interactions with brands, and it is important to always make the best impression possible.
  3. How do the best current reps perform? An easy way to screen candidates is to compare applicants with current members of the ecommerce support staff. Managers can reference the attitudes and behaviors of their high-performing staff in their search for new employees to increase their chances of finding the right fit.
  4. Is there a pressing need to fill the spot? When support teams are under pressure to fill a position, leaders may find their judgment clouded when it comes to making the best possible choices. No employee should ever be hired out of desperation, and it may be better to leave a spot open than to bring in an unqualified employee.
  5. Are training resources ready to go? Although service reps often have an intuitive sense of how to handle customer inquiries, training programs must be in place to ensure best practices are followed and employees are acclimated to their new working environments. This is key to keeping morale high and making a good impression on callers.

This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.

Keeping the best of the best
While the best consumer-facing employees often have natural talent for handling difficult situations and finding the right answer for any problem thrown their way, there is no substitute for experience when it comes to ecommerce support.

Workers who constantly interact with consumers develop a thick skin through all of their ups and downs as a service representative, making veteran team members an invaluable part of any good support squad.

This is why business must do their best to retain their employees and keep them engaged on the job, according to an article from This Day Live. The source highlighted the importance of retention by quoting HR thought leader Robin Throckmorton, who said that 80 percent of employees are actively looking for their next job.

“It is critical you start creating retention solutions that work in your organization now! Don’t wait until you lose that first key employee,” Throckmorton said. “Once you know what employees want, start implementing some of the solutions they shared to help retain your workers.

“Whether you call the survey an employee opinion, engagement, satisfaction or climate survey, the key is you want to find out information from your employees about how they feel about your company, supervisors, work conditions, job and even intentions for staying.”

Listening to employee feedback is undoubtedly a core component of any successful business strategy, and can have a big impact on customer satisfaction. Decision-makers should never overlook the voice of their workforce if they want to create the best possible support experience.

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What is Customer Experience?

Customer experience is now the single greatest driver of organizational growth, competitiveness and revenue … but what exactly is it? Customer experience is the sum of all interactions, transactions, and reactions that a customer has with your brand organization-wide. Customer experience is really about how your customer perceives the experience you deliver.

Every moment matters, no matter how small.

Customer experience consists of three things:

  1. Brand Personality
    Customer experience is driven by a company’s innermost values and beliefs. Knowing who your brand is—its personality and what it stands for—enables you to best engage and retain customers. So, is your company someone who you would want to work with? Do you buy-in to your corporate culture and vision?
  2. Hyper-Personalization
    Customer experience starts by understanding each customer, and their unique behaviors, expectations, and preferences. For businesses to stay relevant, they must deliver personalized service that empowers customers with autonomy and engages at the individual account level. There are several technologies that can help in this area—communications-enabled business process, biometrics, and analytics—but more than this, it’s about recognizing and celebrating individual consumers for who they are.
  3. The End-to-End Journey
    Customers interface with the entire organization, yet customer experience is often quarantined to one or two departments. Customer experience is ongoing and continually evolving. This is where system integration becomes key.

Investing in an open, agile infrastructure lets brands seamlessly integrate platforms and channels across the organization. This allows for advanced data sharing, in which companies can intelligently gather, collect, and provide data when and where that data is needed. This ability to deliver context-driven, end-to-end customer engagement is what produces real value and tangible return.

When it comes to your customers experience is everything. Explore how Avaya creates a seamless multi-touch experience for the customer and a more intuitive, context-rich environment for agents.

Get out of the Queue: Drive Your CX with Attribute Matching

At this point, nearly every company is working overtime to realign around two simple words: customer experience (CX). So much so that nearly 90% of companies now compete solely on CX—a drastic increase from 36 % in 2010—and 50 % of consumer product investments are expected to be redirected to CX innovations—like attribute matching—by the end of this year.

But what exactly does the CX consist of, especially in today’s new world of digital business innovation? This next-generation CX is supported by several advanced technologies—big data analytics, omnichannel, automation—however, these investments are all aimed at driving one thing: contextualization.

The rise of contextualized service—the ability for companies to not only gain insightful information about their customers but also deliver information in a way that is relevant and meaningful to customers based on individual circumstances to improve their experience—has evolved the CX to a point where it looks virtually nothing like it did as recently as 10 years ago. Whereas consumers once primarily focused on the act of purchasing, driven by such things as product quality and price, they now focus on the richness of brand relationships, driven by the personal value that companies deliver throughout the customer journey. Just consider that 70% of buying experiences are now based on how customers feel they are being treated. This is the key factor that sets apart market leaders like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Apple from the competition.

According to Accenture, there is an estimated $6 trillion in global revenue up for grabs due to dissatisfied customers constantly switching providers. The ability for companies to offer contextualized service is vital for operating at the speed of the consumer and capturing more of this market share. There’s just one thing preventing companies from seizing this limitless potential: the traditional call queue.

Every customer is familiar with the call queue. This is the place where statements like, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” and “Let me transfer you to a specialized team who can help you with that” perpetually live. It’s where exhaustive efforts to route customers to the correct service rep become lost, or where consumers must repeat the same information to multiple agents across different teams. It’s the greatest barrier preventing companies from being more dynamically connected to their consumers, and one of the greatest reasons why customers reduce their commitment to a brand.

Driving Contextualization with Attribute Matching

In a world where customers demand a profound level of connection and transparency, organizations can no longer support a contact center environment in which calls are distributed among agents who are organized by function (i.e., sales, service, support). In today’s smart, digital world, companies must transform the traditional call center into an integrated, digital communications hub. This means moving away from a siloed, metric-driven queue and instead working to put customers in touch with the best organizational resource depending on their exact need or circumstance as immediately as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is to migrate from archaic infrastructure towards an integrated, agile, next-generation platform built on open communications architecture.

Open communications architecture allows organizations to seamlessly collect, track and share contextual data across various teams, processes, and customer touch points. This integrated environment supports a real-time data repository from which businesses can pull from to route customers based on needs beyond traditional characteristics (like language preference). Rather, the technology allows companies to build customized learning algorithms that drive anticipatory engagement, enabling them to match customers based on next-level variables like personality, emotion and relatability.

Imagine, for example, a hotel routing a customer directly to an IT staffer after seeing that the person tweeted about a poor in-room Wi-Fi connection. Imagine a bank being able to route a customer to a money management expert after seeing that the last five questions asked via live chat were about account spending. Imagine an athletic apparel company matching a customer with an agent who is an avid runner after noticing that the individual recently signed up for a 5K.

The future of the CX means creating and continually building a contextualized view of customers throughout their entire brand journey. It means going beyond customer service to establish unparalleled, organization-wide relationships. It means transforming peoples’ lives, verses simply answering questions. This is what companies must work to align themselves with. The good news is that technology has evolved to a point where they can now easily, effectively and cost-efficiently do so.

Interested in learning more or getting beyond the queue to Redefine Your Customer and Employee Experiences? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

Three Attributes that Lead to Great Customer Satisfaction

We all know that customer satisfaction dictates success in business. You’ve heard it all before: CSAT scores help determine likelihood of future purchases, customer turnover, branding, and differentiation from your competition. What are you doing now to raise your company’s CSAT scores? What are the biggest pain points you’re trying to solve?

Three CSAT Attributes

Personally, I am happy with a company if our interactions have these three qualities:

  1. It’s easy. I want it to be easy to find the answer to my questions on the website. Why should I buy X vs Y? Which one fits my needs? If I can’t find the answers on my own, I want to talk to a human quickly. I get very impatient when I have to search for how to contact a company.
  2. There’s a multi-touch experience with subject matter experts. When I do reach a human—whether it’s through chat, phone or video—I want that person to be an expert and answer my questions, without having to ask one of their peers. They should know what products I am looking at before we start interacting.
  3. There’s a proactive element in the service. I love it when an agent takes initiative and suggests a solution that I hadn’t thought of. “I know you’re looking at X and Y, but based on the needs you just described to me, I think you should consider solution Z.”

Given all of the budget pressure and changing customer needs, a company needs laser focus on improving customer satisfaction. It takes strategy and execution to transform people, processes and technology. And it takes patience!

Avaya’s Customer Service Success

Northface ScoreBoard Award
At Avaya we have been transforming customer service over the last several years. Our CSAT scores have been rising each year. In 2016, once again our customers gave us an all-time high score with 95% rating in the excellent, very good, and good categories. Customers said we improved support services performance by 8% since 2015 in Web Effectiveness, Web Quality of Documentation on support.avaya.com, and in Web Search Function. For the fourth consecutive year, we’ve been awarded the NorthFace ScoreBoard AwardSM in recognition of achieving excellence in customer service and support.

 

The detailed and transparent opinions our customers give us through direct conversations and surveys drive our strategy. We are focused on providing proactive support. We use data gathered from client satisfaction surveys, service requests, and historical customer design issues to identify potential risks and resolve the issues before customers even know about them. We’ve launched an updated Avaya Healthcheck tool to provide a simple, fast, and easy way to help keep Avaya solutions running at peak performance.

Avaya’s Continuous Improvement Approach

Today, our customers don’t have to repeat any information as they move from a web interaction to a live agent. We assign service requests based on attribute matching. In the future, we’ll know if a customer has been to a particular product hub site, if they’ve viewed Knowledge Base documents, or if they’ve gone to pages to manage their service entitlement. The live agent will see these actions in their workspace as part of the customer journey—a true multi-touch experience.

And that’s not all. We know data breaches are top of mind for all organizations. When we connect to your company via our Secure Access Link to deliver mission-critical support, not only do we resolve your issues 42% faster but you will have the control you need to make sure your company is protected.

Responding to customer feedback is critical to competitive differentiation. We keep striving to give our customers the best and we are thrilled when we receive feedback like this: “The skill set demonstrated by the Avaya Support engineer in resolving the issue was timely and precise, rare commodities in most industries.”

But our work is never done. We’ll keep surveying our customers to see where we need to make things easier, improve performance, and be more proactive throughout our customers’ journey with us. Our services and solutions are about helping other businesses do the same.