We are living in times where customers are spoiled for choices and even a solitary bad experience could take one in three customers away to a competitor. The strength of any brand depends on its quality, convenience and reliability which is only possible by making these ingredients an integral part of a company’s customer service philosophy. This is especially important if you use call center outsourcing solutions and outsource your customer support.
Now, how we could achieve this? The answer is simple- by incorporating your customer experience culture in your outsourced customer service agents. It needs a collective effort from the everyone who is managing the customer support outsourcing team in your company to everyone in your outsourced team from the trainer, account manager, operations in-charge led by their HR department to achieve this. For starters, the following are the key steps to get the desired results.
Identifying the customer experience to be offered
Before establishing a customer experience culture in an organization and extending it to your call center outsourcing solutions provider, the very first thing that needs to be done is to define and layout for everyone what ideal customer experience looks like. To find the answer, you need to ask: What kind of customers are you targeting? Profile them. What is it that they expect when they come to your website or store? What would an ideal customer experience mean to them?
The key thing is finding your unique customer service vision statement which should be short, simple, relevant and having a great recall feature. It should be easily understood by your employees, including everyone in your customer support outsourcing solutions team, and should inspire them to deliver great customer service. It should address issues, which affect the bulk of the customers such as speed, convenience, friendliness and knowledge.
Incorporating customer experience expectations into your company philosophy
After identifying the ideal customer experience, the next step required is to align that vision with the company’s philosophy. Every single decision of a company needs to be guided by its core philosophy, including when you select who your customer support outsourcing solutions provider will be.
Customer service is much more than a department. It is a philosophy, which must be embraced by every member of an organization, right from the CEO to the frontline executive to everyone in your customer support outsourcing solutions team.
The major decisions in your company and in your outsourced call center such as setting the right benchmarks and expectations for employees, expertise and qualities expected from new recruits, and employee training and development should be taken after considering company’s philosophy.
Providing customer-oriented values
The company values are the set of ideas that define their organizational culture. At the same time, it should be simple and transparent in a way that employees and call center outsourcing solutions team have no problem in understanding and implementing it in practice. In short, it should be customer-centric, actionable on a daily basis and also relevant to customer’s need.
There is an old adage “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”. It perfectly applies in the case of customers. Managers will develop a customer-centric culture only if they know how it impacts results and then the attitude will automatically percolate down to the level of customer support outsourcing solutions agents. That is why companies should focus on finding the link between culture and customer impact. In a company like IBM, employee engagement drives two-thirds of the company’s client experience scores. Thus proving the fact: If employees feel good in a company, customers do the same.
Companies such as Virgin, Nike and Nordstorm have created strong brands with powerful brand promises. They succeeded after listening to customer needs through their employees, which helped them to identify the value of their own brand, and thus creating a customer focus culture in line with customer vision. This is why it is essential that you encourage your outsourced customer support agents to gather feedback from your customers and pass them on to you.
Importance of training, onboarding and development
This is important for most of the departments and more so for the employees of the customer support department, including your customer support outsourcing solutions team. Ideally, the new recruits in outsourced customer support team should be groomed to become customer-focused at the time of employee training and onboarding and this should be made clear to your call center outsourcing solutions provider. They should be made aware of the company’s existing philosophy and values and also understand the ways to provide the ideal customer experience. The existing employees may not be very supportive of these changes but through training and development opportunities, they can also be brought on the board.
The training should start right from day one, focusing on the soft skills, your customer service expectations and your core values. It should be a type of inclusive training applicable to everyone, including the senior managers and everyone working in your customer support outsourcing solutions team. The whole idea is based on creating an impression for everyone including the call center outsourcing solutions provider that customer service is indeed the most important element. The leaders should especially serve as role models for others to emulate.
The employees should be treated with the utmost respect and dignity like you do with your customers – maybe even more so. This also applies to everyone working in your customer support outsourcing solutions team. With everyone working together to achieve the customer service vision and all decisions made with the customer in mind, the end result should be a growing base of new and returning customers.
Accountability and reward
To bring a long term cultural change in operations is not an easy job since it requires a high degree of accountability at every level. Equally important are rewarding and celebrating the success of an employee for doing a job exceptionally well, irrespective of whether that employee is in-house or someone working in a remote office of your call center outsourcing solutions provider. It doesn’t necessarily mean a party every week. Even recognition at a weekly meeting or the annual awards dinner, or maybe a reference in the company’s in-house bulletin could be helpful.
Such things go a long way in motivating employees to perform even better, all the more when the employee belongs to your outsourced call center team. At the same time, those who are failing to reach the expected level could be further trained and prepped to be successful in the future. It goes without saying that a happy employee who feels appreciated will be more enthusiastic about delivering good customer experience.
It’s not a bad idea to link compensation of employees with their performance. Such a system is widely practised in companies like Adobe, where they call it “giving every employee skin in the game.” This way, every employee will know about customer-oriented attitudes and behaviours expected from him and also the repercussions for not falling in line. This is something you can discuss with your call center outsourcing solutions provider and implement even for your outsourced customer support team.
Hiring horses for courses
Let the company’s vision guide your hiring decisions internally and in your call center outsourcing solutions team. The top leadership is the one who decides the particular culture of a company, but it’s left to the employees to convert that thought into reality.
To start with, the leadership team must create the culture and subsequently the hiring should be made based not only on the skills to do the job, but also possessing the right mindset to fit within your unique customer service culture. The technical knowledge and skills of a candidate cannot be undermined, but it’s also essential to consider the candidate’s personality and attitude. You should involve yourself in hiring decisions made in your customer support outsourcing solutions team, at least initially so that your outsourced call center has a better understanding of the kind of people you want in your outsourced customer support team.
Empowering Employees for better Service
The top management of companies should understand that once outsourced call center agents are trained in their customer service vision they will also need authorization to exceed their service standards. Support and trust them to do the needful and never ever restrain them with rules that get in the way. Believe in their abilities and give them the freedom to do the right thing.
It is important for customer support outsourcing solutions team to be aware of the guidelines under which they operate. So, empower them suitably to take their own decisions so that they don’t have to ask the manager for approval every time before making a customer-focused decision.
Tracking Customer’s Journey
To provide services that are in consonance with customers’ needs, companies are nowadays using a tool called Customer Journey Mapping. This is very handy in identifying the journey that the customer takes while dealing with an organisation, often visiting from one organizational silo to another.
Now, if you want your business to be customer-friendly, the use of Customer Journey Mapping could prove a game-changer as this is key to understand your customers’ experience through their viewpoint instead of learning through your internal organisation silo. Share this map and your insights with your call center outsourcing solutions provider so that they are on-board with your mission.
Understanding the Basics
It is important to motivate outsourced call center agents to perform the task efficiently but that cannot be achieved unless ensuring that they have complete knowledge about the job in hand. Hence, it is imperative that each employee in your customer support outsourcing solutions team who is supposed to liaise with your customers is given a basic customer training service so that they could understand the virtues of delivering a high-quality service to customers.
Having a customer experience culture in a company has a dual benefit of enhancing the brand image among consumers as well as creating a healthy and positive atmosphere inside the company and in your call center outsourcing solutions team. Those who don’t treat customer experience seriously are at danger of soon being put out of the reckoning.