Thursday, April 5, 2018

Chit-Chat Is Nice, But Good Dialogue Drives Customer Satisfaction

By Kristen Kuyatt
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn

The mandate to the engagement (contact) center is to improve customer satisfaction (CSAT) or Net Promotor Score (NPS) or first-call resolution (FCR)—or better yet, all three. But clearly traditional approaches to improving the customer experience—and the metrics that measure it—haven’t been working. Delivering scripted monologues or pre-written text in a chat window just doesn’t build the credibility, rapport, and trust that are needed to really move the needle on customer-facing metrics.

Instead, your engagement center needs to use the science of dialogue to deliver a true human conversation. That’s because only good dialogue (not chit chat) meets the needs and expectations of today’s consumer. Here’s why.

It’s all about the humans in the conversation

While some industry experts give lip service to personalized conversation between an engagement specialist (agent) and a customer, authentic dialogue that improves engagement and outcomes is much more than saying the customer’s name at certain points in the conversation or chit-chatting about the weather.

Instead, good dialogue is about using proven communication principles to adapt to the implicit needs of the customer and by doing so, gaining credibility, rapport, and trust. The result is that customers feel that someone is listening to them, they are being treated as unique individuals, they are understood, and can trust the people they are speaking with.

When asked about potential customer service contacts either online or by phone, 85% of survey respondents said they prefer a customer service representative versus a chatbot/AI or IVR (interactive voice recognition) experience.

Source: STARTEK U.S. Customer Engagement Survey, 2017

The hallmarks of good dialogue

What makes for good dialogue that improves the outcomes of customer interactions? There are three hallmarks to look for:
  • Professional
  • Personalized
  • Marked with moments of spontaneity

Here’s a test: if the conversation could have been with any customer at any point in time, it’s not personalized or spontaneous. It’s simply a series of canned responses used at appropriate points.

On the other hand, if the conversation could only have happened at that time and with that particular customer, then it’s truly personalized and spontaneous. If it’s also professional, then you have the makings of good dialogue.

Once your engagement specialists learn and master the concepts of using the science of human communication to create good dialogue, you’ll see the marked difference in CSAT, NPS, and FCR. And that’s not idle chit-chat.

Customer experience executive focused on the customer and building for the future, including corporate visibility, brand development, and customer satisfaction. Progressive management experience includes highly visible leadership roles within corporations and success in building a high quality, strategic, end-to-end omnichannel customer experience and service. Charged with driving a culture of customer and lifetime value by optimizing the customer experience and service approach, driving increased satisfaction, quality of interaction and continuous improvement for high end brands regionally as well as internationally.

Connect: LinkedIn

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