Over the past several months I’ve had the pleasure to work with a client with a dedicated focus on improving their Net Promoter Score (NPS). NPS is a management tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm’s customer relationships; some people might even call this a “loyalty metric”. Keep in mind, this client’s NPS scores are already heads and tails ahead of their competition; but to them, they still see areas of opportunity. The team at CX Solutions completed a deep dive analysis, reviewing the client’s training methods, reporting and communication elements and coaching practices in addition to reviewing customer contacts to gain a better understanding of their current scores. While the majority of what we reviewed demonstrated a company with a solid focus on catering to their customer’s needs, we did uncover an area of opportunity as it pertains to engaging and connecting. A greater focus on creating an emotional connection with the customer was a key element to improved NPS scores.
As I listened to hours upon hours of recorded calls something became very clear; the engaging and connecting aspect of the calls was often missing, but the positive voice tone coming from virtually every agent helped to compensate for the lack of emotional connection. Now I’m not saying that engaging is unnecessary to achieve great NPS scores. In fact, the building of relationships is what drives NPS further up the continuum. What’s important to note, based off this particular client, is having positive voice tone helped to set the stage for a more satisfied and thus, loyal, customer. The door to engaging and connecting with their customers was being flung wide open with the dedicated focus on great tone of voice.
Each call seemed to start at the same high level, right off the bat, due to the positive and professional tone of voice; there was a consistent lift. Not only was it consistently welcoming and professional, you could almost see the smiles on the agents’ faces. In training we often talk about putting a smile on your face. As silly as it might sound, people can hear a smile from across a telephone line and that was completely apparent in my time monitoring their calls.
In the past we’ve worked with clients who struggle with creating that solid connection with their customers. Often times we spend a great deal of time working with the leadership teams on coaching techniques to improve the tone of voice, a necessary first step to help the agent connect with the customer. Understanding what constitutes great, professional sounding voice tone takes practice and, for some, it’s a skill that is hard to crack. In this particular scenario, a solid framework was already in place. It was evident that leadership time, attention and coaching was dedicated to this very important customer service behavior.
As you look at your organization’s NPS scores, take some time to review and listen to the communication between your front-line agents and customers. Often times we get so caught up in the process of the call, the flow or the amount of items that must be addressed on each call, that we sometimes overlook the standard behaviors that are most important to our customers. What’s the tone of the conversation? Can you “hear a smile” on your agents’ faces? These are the behaviors that ring true to our customers; these are the behaviors that create long-term loyalty.
August 28-31, 2016
ASQ Service Quality Conference
October 24-25, 2016