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It’s just a couple of shorts week until the 19th annual Customer Contact Week (CCW) event, and we couldn’t be more excited. CCW’s inspirational keynotes, in-depth educational opportunities, and community-oriented approach form a memorable experience for all attendees. With more than 2,500 customer care, CX, and contact center leaders under the same roof, there are endless opportunities to learn about developing customer loyalty, building retention, and improving brand strategy.
We’re also thrilled to share that we are co-presenting with Macy’s during an IDG (Interaction Discussion Group). Mattersight along with Macy’s Director of Omnichannel Contact Center Strategy, Adam Schmitt, will lead the discussion titled, “Build the Business Case for AI and Automation” on June 21 starting at 11:00 a.m. PT. The discussion will highlight how AI impacts change in the enterprise, and where to uncover hidden cost savings.
Mattersight’s SVP of Strategic Sales, Frank Suljic, also sits on the CCW Advisory Board and will be onsite with the other board leaders.
If you’re interested in meeting while we’re onsite, swing by our booth – #920!
Publish Date: June 14, 2018 5:00 AM
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in September 2014 and has been updated to align with Mattersight’s new naming convention for personality styles .
I’ve received some really great coaching over the years. I remember once when a Sr. Exec. I respected took me aside during a client meeting and coached me on saying “we” versus “I.” To this day, I agree it is much more effective. I didn’t lose ownership by making that small change; I actually increased it. Good coaching made me a more impactful presenter. I’ve received great coaching on my golf swing; great defined by how responsive I was to the coaching versus any improvement to my actual swing.
I’ve also received coaching in and out of work that resulted in me being demotivated, demoralized, and discouraged. The intent of the coach was to help, the content was appropriate, and the feedback was accurate, but there was something in the delivery that made me dig in my heels and resist. And I know by the response that my coaching is not always received in the manner intended as well.
How does this happen? Why does this happen? The simple answer is that personality matters in coaching. While the content is important, the delivery determines if the coaching will be effective or fall on deaf ears. Consider the person you are about to coach and how they will best hear the message. After all, “Communication is about what is heard, not what is said.”
Years ago, I had a Connector (warm, sensitive, and caring – a true people person) team member tell me: “Coach me on the difficult things; I want to hear them. I want to keep getting better. Just be nice when you are doing it.” Her words made me realize that sometimes I wasn’t as direct with her because I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. And she knew it, which made her feel bad. This is a tough cycle to break with no winners.
For an Organizer (logical, linear, and responsible – data is important), avoid the “sandwich.” You all know the coaching approach I mean; a positive, a constructive, and another positive. This is a practice that is mostly designed for the coach to feel better about the session because we all know what is coming! With Organizers, being direct, to the point, and supportive with specific examples or data points is most effective. Make it about the “how” by providing steps or a process, which is a logical approach. Establish a timeframe and align on expectations.
With Advisors (dedicated, observant, and conscientious – respect is key), the key is to point out the opportunity without saying “you’re wrong.” When the relationship is solid with an underlying respect for both parties, a coaching session is productive and actually strengthens the relationship. If the relationship is not a comfortable one, include a sincere “why” in your approach and avoid the word “but.” Try saying something along the lines of: “I know we don’t always see eye-to-eye; however, I do want our team to succeed in delivering excellent customer care to our customers. And you are a member of our team which is why I want to talk with you today about X.”
Coaching Originals (spontaneous, creative, and playful – show your support) successfully is easy if you don’t make it a serious, complicated message. After all, there’s never been a study showing that you have to be serious to be successful! Keeping it light can be difficult for some coaches; a tip I use is to think about an Original that I enjoy spending time with and I think about how they should be coached. I use that as my foundation for the session.
Try this two-pronged approach of content and personality in your next coaching sessions to see if personality really does matter in coaching.
Publish Date: May 23, 2018 5:00 AM
Conversation is a two-way street and that road can occasionally be rocky, winding, or completely stagnant. When it is, the best thing you can do is take a step back and listen.
In a past interview with tastytrade, Mattersight CEO Kelly Conway shared some personality-based tips for being a better listener. The next time you find yourself in a conversation that seems to be heading in the wrong direction, keep this always-relevant, three-step plan in mind.
Step #1: Tune into the “How”
A great conversation is about what’s being said. In a less-than-great conversation, it’s how things are said that matters. Identifying someone’s personality style is the first step in salvaging your conversation with them, because it gives you an immediate understanding of their needs and motivations. Personality style comes through in tone, tempo, syntax and grammar, and if you know what to listen for, it’s easy to spot.
Download our Personality Labs piece on how to spot and talk to different personality styles.
Step #2: Look Out for Distress
Distress is the state we go into when things are important, uncertain, or unknown — and can often be the demise of conversations. Because distress looks different in different personality styles, however, it’s not always clear when and why a conversation is going south. Is the person you’re talking to getting flustered? Are they becoming hypercritical? Are they being too specific? Distress patterns like these are a red flag that a person’s psychological needs aren’t being met. Until they are, the conversation likely won’t go anywhere.
Our language patterns and distress signals are like advertisements. They tell the world exactly how we want to be communicated with. If you want to get a conversation back on track, set your own preferences aside and give the other person’s advertisements right back to them. “If you do,” says Kelly, “you’ll have much more successful meetings and more success in selling and servicing customers.”
Step #3: Give Back What You Get
Our language patterns and distress signals are like advertisements. They tell the world exactly how we want to be communicated with. If you want to get a conversation back on track, set your own preferences aside and give the other person’s advertisements right back to them. “If you do,” says Kelly, “you’ll have much more successful meetings and more success in selling and servicing customers.”
Publish Date: May 14, 2018 5:00 AM
In our first blog, we found that some personality styles are more likely to wait longer than others when put on hold. The committed Advisor is more likely to wait on hold longer because it strengthens their position of being in the right and that the company is handling its customers wrong. On the other hand, an Organizer may be more likely to hang up right away because they can’t plan for an undetermined hold time; they have a schedule to keep.
We also know that Rivet Smart Audio has found that “compared against music or silence, callers stay on hold up to 23% longer with Rivet News On Hold.” Using advanced voice technology and artificial intelligence, Rivet’s hold time solution of news can reduce abandonment while increasing productivity, revenue and customer loyalty.
As we think about that, how can we take it a step further and infuse personality into hold time through news, infotainment and targeted promotions to keep callers engaged? Even without breaking it down to the individual level, you can still think about your general audience. Based on demographics and what you know about the personality styles, think about the type of content your audience would be interested in and how they want to consume it. With changes like this, we would expect the overall experience to be that much better as callers make their determination that they are appreciated by this company.
Here are some ways you can think about hold time content and your customers:
Organizers (25% of population)
Logical planners who focus on the “how” of a situation. During hold time, the Organizer would prefer to hear news presented in a consistent, factual, and organized fashion. Something more akin to the Nightly News vs TMZ. Giving them some sort of time structure while they’re on hold lets them know what to expect, too.
Connectors (30% of population)
Warm, sensitive, and compassionate individuals attuned to their relationships with others. A Connector would like to hear feel-good news and positive stories that center around people and read in a friendly tone. Anything that gets across the idea that people are the focus will help them feel that the company will treat them as a person, not a number.
Advisors (10% of population)
Conscientious, look for respect, and focus on the “why.” News stories that focus on justice, loyalty (but not loyalty to the company they are calling – that seems a little slick) and doing the right thing are likely more appealing to an Advisor. They are also often interested in periods of history and in traditions which represent commitment to things that are important.
Originals (20% of population)
Creative, unique, and fun individuals with a casual way of speaking. Originals are easily engaged by fun facts and goofy news stories. If a story is playful and stimulating, an Original is likely to respond well and stay entertained while they wait.
Keeping customers engaged and on the line is important. We believe that when giving them a new way to connect with a brand while they wait on hold, there is a big opportunity for those customers to accomplish more than just the reason they called and have greater personal alignment with and affinity for that organization.
Publish Date: May 9, 2018 5:00 AM
When you dial into a contact center and are placed on hold, how long are you willing to wait before you hang up?
Rivet, a company dedicated to changing the way audio is produced and delivered, has teamed up with Humach Labs, an incubator program where you can beta test innovative solutions such as serving up customized news stories to a customer’s personality when they call in. Customers of different personality types will experience a completely reimagined hold experience, and with stories tailored to their interests, they may have a more enjoyable hold time and feel a more personal connection to your brand. By looking for new ways to connect with the caller and keep them engaged, the goal is to enhance a customer’s hold time experience.
As these companies continue to look for ways to innovate in the world of customer experience, we at Mattersight Personality Labs were interested in joining forces to see what we could learn from already available information. We wanted to find out how long people are actually willing to wait on hold and if there was any correlation to the four main personality types (Advisor, Connector, Organizer, and Original) leveraged at Mattersight. We also have some ideas on how to tailor the hold experience to each personality style.
Finding #1: People are generally not willing to wait on hold
We sampled more than 12,000 callers across a variety of channels with various reasons for calling, and found that only 25% of callers make it past the 30-second point. A full 60% of callers gave up in 10 seconds or less. By 30 seconds, 75% of people had abandoned the call and by two minutes, 90% of people left.
Looking at that pool of individuals who were willing to wait more than two minutes, we wanted to know more. What type of personalities were willing to wait? And why?
In the two minutes plus category, we grouped the callers by personality type. The results of the median queue time before abandonment were as follows:
- 176 seconds
- 2.9 minutes
- 208 seconds
- 3.5 minutes
- 255 seconds
- 4.3 minutes
- 215 seconds
- 3.6 minutes
Finding #2: ‘Advisors’ typically wait the longest
Advisors, who are known to be dedicated, observant, and conscientious, waited the longest. On average, they waited 4.3 minutes before hanging up. The reason for staying could be that when Advisors have an issue, they are committed to getting it resolved. This often involves pointing out to the company where they’ve gone wrong and why the customer is right. They may wait on hold not only to get their own issue resolved, but because if it is happening to them, it will happen to others; they must ensure that the company is aware of the misdeed. They seek recognition for their convictions and their work for the greater good; part of this is to ensure that someone is held accountable for the issue at hand. Advisors make up only 10% of the U.S. population and they are often seen as a vocal group who is willing to fight for what is right.
Finding #3: Rarely will you find an ‘Organizer’ waiting beyond two minutes
On the flip side, Organizers didn’t wait much longer than two minutes. On average, they waited 2.9 minutes. Without an approximate wait time, Organizers are more likely to hang up because they need to adjust their schedule. They are logical, linear, and can become frustrated with broken processes and things that don’t make sense; an indeterminate hold time definitely falls into that bucket.
Recommendations: How to make hold time part of a satisfactory caller experience
- For the Organizer, news stories or an opportunity to learn something can be a good use of time. It needs to be time-boxed so there is not a sense of getting to the middle of a story and then never learning the ending. Short snippets of news can be productive time. Also of value to the Organizer can be verbal coupons about ways to save money or time.
- For people-oriented Connectors, customers telling their own stories or human interest stories with warm, friendly narration, will make them feel good about being on hold. It shows that the company cares about people.
- For the Advisor, content that demonstrates respect, loyalty, and customer-centric practices is best. Ideas include: verbal coupons based on loyalty such as customer tenure or spend bracket (but not as a hard sell!); showcasing an employee of the month (which demonstrates commitment to employees); spotlight on awards. Include the “why” in the narrative.
- For the Original, music is great if it is the music they like. Stories with animation, surprise endings, and funny content are good for this personality. They live in the moment and if they like it, they stick around. If they don’t like it, they will hang up.
In conclusion, we know that most people aren’t just willing to wait. With so many callers giving up after less than a minute, businesses must do more to make sure that being on hold is no longer an inconvenience for customers.
To best serve your customers, you need to get to know them first. By using Mattersight Personality Labs to learn more about your customers’ personalities, you can be one step closer to ensuring that every aspect of the customer journey is easier.
Publish Date: May 3, 2018 5:00 AM
Last week, Mattersight was represented by Frank Suljic, Senior Vice President of Strategic Sales, at Customer Contact Week (CCW) in New Orleans. The tri-annual event offers those within the call center industry a chance to educate themselves on emerging topics, the newest technologies, and how to embrace a digital future.
Founded in 1999 with 80 call center managers in attendance, CCW now serves more than 3,000 attendees annually and is the world’s largest customer contact event series. The four-day event promotes discussion of best practices in customer care, CX, and call center operations. Industry leaders can find events covering topics that include agent training, emerging call center technology, meeting customer expectations, and cost reduction.
Frank recently joined the CCW Advisory Board with other leaders from brands such as Microsoft, Comcast, Target and PetSmart. As a member of the board, this gives him the opportunity to provide guidance on emerging industry issues, participate in thought leadership, and offer input on conference topics. With more than 25 years of leadership in corporate and startup enterprises, Frank brings a unique blend of experience to the CCW Advisory Board.
Congratulations to Frank and the rest of the 2018 CCW Advisory Board! We look forward to their valuable insight and continued impact across the industry.
Publish Date: January 29, 2018 5:00 AM
Wishing everyone a very happy CX Day 2017! We look forward to following the events around the globe, learning from passionate leaders and practitioners, and attending CXPA-hosted local events. This is one of our favorite days of the year as together we create awareness around the customer experience and celebrate joint successes. Enjoy!
Publish Date: October 3, 2017 5:00 AM
As the uproar continues to surround United Airlines after their very public display of “re-accommodating” a passenger, the company’s customer service representatives are finding themselves in the crosshairs. This is especially true in the contact center — often the place customers turn to vent their biggest frustrations.
So how does a company like United prepare their contact center customer service representatives for the wave of inquiries into Flight 3411 and distress fueled cancellations that they are surely seeing?
Here’s three key things you need to know in order to navigate a contact center crisis:
In any sort of corporate crisis, timing is everything. Likely, United had a crisis plan in place involving key executives and communicators. While some have questioned the soundness of that plan due to how external communications unfolded, the effectiveness of your internal contact center crisis plan is equally important.
While customers are increasingly looking to solve problems online, they still often have to turn to calling customer service to get real answers. According to Microsoft’s 2015 U.S. State of Multichannel Customer Service report, only 28 percent of customers call customer service as their first attempt to solve a problem. However, 81 percent of customers still end up using the telephone to contact customer service on a regular basis to find answers.
Although we don’t know the exact surge in customer calls with this incident, United does have a history of forcing incredibly long hold times on customers when attempting to get through to a representative.
Having strong analytics in place that can pick up and parse trending topics related to a crisis can also fuel the timely creation and dissemination of accurate updates and answers to customer problems. Additionally, things like predictive scoring across all conversations will give you real-time insights into where to focus your immediate attention.
Outside of answering the call in a timely fashion, understanding the nature of the call in its truest form is equally important. The contact center’s job is to resolve situations. Naturally, many of those situations are fueled in part by negative emotion(s). Our previous research has found that two-thirds of consumers are frustrated before they even start talking with a customer service representative.
Furthermore, when our researchers analyzed over 118K customer service calls at 11 large enterprises, customers exhibited emotional signs of anger 54 percent of the time in the first half of the call. They also displayed emotional signs of sadness and fear in their speech more than 50 percent of the time in the first half of those calls.
Technology like ours employs speech recognition algorithms to help enterprises understand these displays of stress or anger in seconds. It also allows us to leverage machine learning to identify trending topics and keep a pulse on situations in real time, giving the entire customer service team powerful insight into broad customer sentiment, trending problems or questions. Ultimately, it reduces the number of distressful calls by getting the right agents on the phone with the right customer.
While we may soon find ourselves in a world where the bot on the other end of the line can actually empathize with us, today humans reign supreme when it comes to exhibiting emotions in response to another person’s situation.
But the only way to ensure that the customer is paired with a representative that they will “click” with is to have a routing process built around an understanding of the different personalities you’ll encounter and how they prefer to be communicated with.
Understanding emotion is a human trait after all, and automation may just make problems worse. Even millennial customers don’t want to talk to robots when they’re angry. According to our research nearly 88 percent want to talk to a live person, not an automated system when they are calling customer service.
We all know that when you are handling a call there’s a lot more than one customer at stake. Today, consumers make decisions largely based on input from their spheres of influence — and in the age of social media — there’s a lot on the line. In fact, 81 percent of U.S. online consumers’ purchase decisions are influenced by their friends’ social media posts.
For us, the crisis plan is executed behind the scenes as enterprises employ the latest in technology and the most adept agents to stem the bleeding and pull the nose of the organization up and away from disaster. While Corporate HQ waits for another headline to take over the spotlight, proper mechanisms can help businesses, contact center employees and most importantly – customers.
At the end of the day, a corporate crisis often ends up becoming a frenetic and difficult battle. However, with the proper mechanisms in place in your contact center, it’s a battle you can overcome.
Publish Date: April 13, 2017 5:00 AM
“Go back 30 years, and product was the most important thing. Then it was the features and functionality the product provided. Now it’s the experience.”
That’s Brian Gillespie, Comcast’s VP of Forecasting and Financial Excellence, crystallizing the seismic shift that companies large and small are navigating today as they strive to hang on to their customers’ heart, minds and share-of-wallet … in other words, their loyalty.
Experience is indeed what drives loyalty in today’s market. And as we’ve discussed many times here on the blog, emotion is what drives experience. Empathy, effortlessness, understanding, compassion — these are the kinds of words (and feelings) that define great, loyalty-generating CX today.
Mattersight’s recent Call to Loyalty customer summit was a two-day deep dive into the emotion/experience/loyalty connection. At it, Gillespie and other execs from some of today’s top companies – including The Home Depot, UnitedHealth Group, CVS and TriWest Healthcare Alliance – sat down to discuss the challenges of delivering emotionally-satisfying call center experiences at scale, the tools they’re using to do it, and the remarkable results they’re seeing, including:
- A 111-second drop in AHT
- Ongoing 7-9% overall improvement
- Reduced operating costs and huge revenue upside
There’s great insight in here for anyone looking to uplevel their CX and loyalty metrics in 2017. Take a look!
Publish Date: November 4, 2016 5:00 AM
Ed. – As one of Mattersight’s Training and Adoption team managers, Jackie Cheron is a (literally) certified expert on personality. She’s also a massive Walt Disney World fan and frequent visitor. In our continuing series on CX through the eyes of Mattersight employees, Jackie shares her unique perspective on why a trip to Disney offers a customer experience like no other.
Known as the “Most Magical Place on Earth,” Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida attracts over 52 million visitors annually. But what exactly is the “magic” behind the Disney brand?
As with so many things in business and in life, it’s a matter of personality.
We often discuss how quality customer service can (and should) be tailored to meet the needs of each personality style. The Walt Disney Company has perfected the art of providing an excellent experience to ALL guests and ALL styles at once! It’s a rare feat, but also one that any company invested in providing a great customer experience can learn something from.
As an Organizer, I am logical, responsible and organized, with a preference for planning and efficiency. I sometimes surprise people with my affinity for the Disney parks. I visit 2-3 times each year (I live in Chicago!) and can often be found assisting people in planning their first visit. Of course, my suggestions are always backed by data, facts and figures.
For me, the consistently superb customer experience is something I can rely on. One less thing left up to chance. I can plan on quick assistance, accurate information and effective processes. Even the dependably cheery demeanor of the cast members means I don’t have to be on edge preparing to do battle. Organizers cope with the world by planning. We tend to contingency plan for all possible outcomes. When I know I don’t have to be prepared for as many variables, I can allow myself to enjoy and live in the moment. And that’s magical!
>> RELATED: Learn more about the 6 personality styles of your customers and employees
My most frequent Disney partner is my mom, Leslie, who’s an Advisor. Advisors are motivated by beliefs, values and judgments rather than facts and data, and believe there is a right way to treat customers. Respect and recognition of their loyalty and commitment are paramount. My mom believes:
“It’s the best place to immerse yourself in a whimsical and imaginative atmosphere. You can detach from reality but in a comfortable way… They are committed to making your experience magical; there are so many tiny details no one else thinks of but Disney does. In 45 years, they’ve maintained the same standards for service, if not raised them. I only know of their every day treatment of customers, not the actual customer service department, because I’ve never had an issue. That’s the true test of an organization’s views on the customer experience.”
My Mom completely trusts Disney to provide her and her family a great experience. From an Advisor, those are high marks.
My Mom and I are often joined by my sister Talia, a Connector. For her, the Disney magic is all about the shared experience. Connectors are warm, caring and people-oriented. They tend to be genuinely happy as long as those they care about are happy. Connectors also have highly developed sensory needs – they are more intrinsically satisfied by the sights, smells, and feelings around them than other styles. Here’s what Talia says about her Disney experience:
“I love the Disney themes because they remind me of the Disney movies I love – especially the classics from when we grew up like Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, The Lion King. I love how things don’t get old. We can go a million times and still go back to the same parks and do the same “dumb” rides and attractions and have just as much fun. Knowing the parks so well makes it easier to navigate and decide what to do when because we know exactly what we like to do in each park. I love seeing characters still and how everyone is so smiley; they seem genuinely happy to be there and that’s contagious.”
Note the frequent use of “we” in my sister’s response – Disney is that much more magical because we can experience it together. Disney’s consistency and attention to detail keeps her connected with happy childhood memories.
>> FREE REPORT: Are customers feeling the magic in your CX?
When asked about his favorite vacation (for a recent, unrelated project), my fellow Mattersight team member Patrick, an Original, said, “It has to be taking my kids to Disney. It was cool to see how excited my older daughter was when she saw everything the first time. Plus now they serve beer at most of the parks so that makes the crowds bearable…”
Originals are fun, spontaneous and playful – out-of-the-box thinkers and creative problem solvers who have an innate ability to see things just a little differently than everyone else. They get energy from a stimulating, interactive environment and prefer things to be light and fuss-free. Patrick has been known to drink his way “around the world” in Epcot’s World Showcase while the grandparents take care of the kiddos.
Here’s what Patrick had to say about Disney’s service and what makes them great:
“They’re totally over the top! I really can’t think of a bad experience. Waiting in lines, but obviously you’re gonna run into that. I’ve done different events like the marathon and stuff there and it’s above and beyond what you would expect and they always have their stuff together. Makes it a hell of a lot less stressful, especially when you’re somewhere that has ridiculous crowds and that’s pretty stress-inducing because you’re dealing with a lot of stupid people… the fact that the employees are over-the-top accommodating makes it that much better.”
Disney does the hard work for you so you can kick back and enjoy your vacay. Doesn’t get much better than that for an Original!
Disney’s rigorous standards for excellence touch something in all Styles. It’s one aspect of a vacation experience that is never left up to chance, truly making Walt Disney World the place “Where Dreams Come True.”
Image: spatuletail / Shutterstock.com
Publish Date: August 26, 2016 5:00 AM
Brands tend to be literal about the concept of effort. They see it as a function of customers having to DO things: take too many steps, press too many buttons or switch channels too many times in order to get a problem solved. So they focus their time and resources on streamlining these aspects of the customer experience.
For customers, effort is much less tangible. While people may not like having to exert themselves during the course of a service interaction, they dislike being made to feel bad in the process even more. A lot more.
CEB found that while exertion has a 34.6% impact on a customer’s opinion of a company, a customer’s feeling about their experience accounts for 65.4% of their evaluation. Put another way, from a customer’s point of view, effort is 1/3 “do” and 2/3 “feel.”
It isn’t always possible to give a customer what she wants. If you use the right words, that’s OK.
Getting that ratio right is critical, as CEB’s research showed that 96% of high-effort experiences — i.e., experiences that leave a customer feeling badly — drive disloyalty. Contrast that with low-effort experiences, only 9% of which cause a customer to become disloyal, then couple it with their discovery that re-engineering service experiences from high- to low-effort reduces costs by 37%, and the argument that effortlessness pays becomes pretty compelling.
CEB’s emissary of effortlessness, The Effortless Experience author Matt Dixon, blew into the Windy City recently for the last of our Call to Loyalty Road Shows. This series of small regional breakfast sessions were designed to bring the some of the key messages of our first-ever Call to Loyalty to people who weren’t able to make the main event last November. And just like its Phoenix, Dallas and Atlanta counterparts, the Chicago show was a huge hit with the CX and call center pros in attendance.
>> ANSWER THE CALL: Register now for Call to Loyalty 2016!
In a presentation packed with compelling ideas for alleviating customer effort in order to elevate customer loyalty, one that really stuck out for me was about language.
The fact that, as Matt put it, “words matter – a lot” is a truth we see play out every day here at Mattersight. One of the reasons why our Routing solution delivers such phenomenal results is that it pairs customers and agents who naturally, automatically speak each other’s language.
When that happens, customers feel good. And good feelings lead to loyalty.
Matt highlighted three simple yet extremely effective language techniques that leading companies proactively employ to engineer a more effortless, loyalty-driving experience for their customers. The best part? They’re strategies that any organization can implement quickly and see results from fast.
1) Be an advocate, not an adversary
Advocacy means putting yourself on the side of the customer and actively supporting their objectives. It’s the difference between talking to an angry hotel guest across a desk versus coming out from behind it to have the conversation … or telling a customer with a defective product, “You’ll need to take that into one of our service centers” versus saying, “Before you take this into one of our service centers, let me see if there’s anything I can do on my end get it taken care of for you and save you the trip.”
Advocacy shows a customer that he isn’t alone in trying to get his problem solved, that he and the agent (and by extension, the company) share the same goal and are in it together. And it goes a long way towards reducing perceived effort. CEB found that advocacy drove a 77% reduction in customer effort.
2) Flip the script on negativity
At Walt Disney World, no cast member will ever tell you what time the park closes. They will, however, tell you how long the park stays open. It’s a prime example of positive language, and as subtle as the difference may seem, the impact on effort is profound. Letting people know what they can do, or when something will happen, leaves them with an impression of abundance rather than scarcity – possibilities, rather than limitations.
For customers, that translates into effortlessness. According to CEB, positive language decreases customer effort by 73%
3) Offer choices to amplify benefits
A $45 ribeye may seem ridiculous if it’s the only steak on the menu. Put it next to a $55 and $65 option, and it becomes much more appealing. Such is the power of anchoring – which CEB defines as “positioning a given outcome as more positive and desirable by comparing it to another less desirable one.”
Matt shared the example of a cable company that offers customers two service call alternatives: an all-day window the following day, or a two-hour window the following week. Blocking out a full day to wait for a cable tech to come is no fun, but it sounds pretty good when the more convenient alternative means waiting a week for your next binge-watch — and it feels even better when the choice is yours to make. CEB saw anchoring decrease effort by 55%.
No matter how customer-centric a company is, it isn’t always possible to give a customer what they want. That’s OK. If you can use the right words to communicate bad news, your customer won’t punish you for it. In fact, they’ll reward you with the best gift of all: their loyalty.
Image Copyright: Kiselev Andrey Valerevich
Publish Date: June 30, 2016 5:00 AM
The 17th annual Call Center Week Conference and Expo is in full swing today at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas, and Mattersight is on site with a show-stopping booth worthy of the venue:
The message? Callbacks are coming — and if your call center isn’t equipped to do battle with them, they may take you down.
If you happen to be at the big event, stop by Booth 606 to snap a pic with Khaleesi and Jon Snow (sorry, Dothraki fans, Drogo seems to have run off with some New York City police horses after his appearance at CXNY), discover which “personality house” you belong to, hunt down some hidden dragon eggs for a stellar prize, and find out how our award-winning tech can help you turn the tide of callbacks, talk time, low CSAT and more — and keep your kingdom of customers happy, satisfied and everlastingly loyal.
Not at CCW? No problem! We can show you how personality can transform your call center metrics without you ever having to leave your iron throne.
Publish Date: June 29, 2016 5:00 AM
Do you want to attract and retain top performers? It might be time to start looking more closely at how you foster relationships. Candidates are driving the job market in 2016 and they are increasingly making professional decisions based on emotional compatibility with their prospective employer.
In fact, according to our recent survey of American office workers, positive emotional connections and work relationships are no longer just a luxury for employees and job seekers — they’re a necessity. This priority on relationships is forcing employers to rethink their strategic approach to hiring, candidate retention and growing corporate culture. Relying on emotional intelligence factors and personality data are driving the American workplace to become a new emotional workplace.
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Applying the science of personality and emotion
Survey data shows that compensation alone is no longer enough of a singular selling point for top performers and job candidates. There needs to be a promise of connection and autonomy, coupled with responsibility on behalf of the employer to identify what can be controlled and improved when problems arise.
When asked to rank the top three reasons they look for a new job employees cite friction with managers, poor internal communication and lack of empowerment via workplace/cultural policies. The theme of problems arising through strained relationships can be heard loud and clear.
So how can employers guarantee solid relationships between employees and a collaborative, productive work environment? Getting actionable insights, like the business world has grown so accustomed to, out of these three pillars may seem like a daunting task. But there is one critical though often overlooked tool employers can employ: personality data.
If used properly, personality data gives the employees extremely valuable insight into their colleagues, managers into their reports and executives into their companies as a whole. This allows employers to re-think their strategic approach to hiring, candidate retention and growing corporate culture for lasting success.
Personality assessments that are built to hone in on an employee’s work style, examining workplace motivators, triggers, etc. are a valuable first step for gaining insights into employees. Taking an analytical look into these traits can make it easier to implement a meaningful, proven strategy for improving the emotional intelligence, corporate culture and bottom line of a brand. Here are a few ways this data can be used to a business’ advantage.
Make sure each employee feels company-wide respect
Employers need to understand their employees unique work style, habits and environmental needs. Taking into account how employees derive satisfaction and view accomplishments on the job will go a long way, as not everyone translates achievement, success or failure in the same way. With personality data, you can parse out how each personality style responds to a spectrum of job factors, and use that data to inform business structure and build a better emotional workplace.
Re-think team structure, based on personality and work style
Don’t forget to think about how you can help employees build strong relationships with colleagues. Top performers place a lot of value on having a cohesive team that works well together and understands each other’s needs. Making sure they are matched with peers who balance their style or jive well — even if they’re a different personality style — will increase productivity for individuals and teams and mitigate avoidable job snafus.
Learn the difference between management style and preference
Train managers to know and take into account how each of their direct reports works best, and acknowledge the differences. Place importance on matching the right mentee with the right mentor. Having a strong rapport with their boss and/or supervisors will make employees more satisfied and lead to better business outcomes for all involved.
Know that connection is the key to retention
50 percent of American office workers have stayed at an unsatisfying job because of positive emotional relationships. Conversely, 65 percent say they would look for a new job because of poor internal communication. The unifying factor in both of these responses is the importance connections played for workers. It’s a strong indicator that companies need to re-think how executives, managers, and employees convey emotional intelligence in the workplace.
As the job market becomes more and more candidate-driven, creating an emotionally-astute work environment is becoming more and more important. Companies will live and die by emotional intelligence. Those who want to stay on the right side of that equation need to learn what makes their employees feel emotionally fulfilled at work on both an organizational and personal level — and implement policies, processes and technologies that can help facilitate such experiences.
A version of this article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.
Want to take a deeper dive into creating an engaging, emotionally-connected workplace? Join Mattersight personality expert Melissa Moore and CMO Jason Wesbecher for our June 1 webinar, “6 Secrets to Make Your Employees Happy and Your Customers Even Happier.” Register now!
Image copyright: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo
Publish Date: May 26, 2016 5:00 AM
We all know startups fail for a number of reasons: no funding, bad marketing strategy, a not-so-unique product, inactive founders, etc. But bad hiring practices and low employee retention can be just as fatal to a startup — and, for that matter, any size business.
For a startup to work well, it needs (a) the best people, and (b) the ability to retain them.
In fact, Steph Russell of Vizually says, “The biggest challenge we faced early on was talent and hiring. In the earliest stages of a business, the biggest investment made is often the employees, both from a monetary and trust standpoint. At the same time, it’s important to build a good team and sometimes time is of the essence.”
Hence, it is crucial that a startup takes the necessary measures to hire and keep the right talent. Here are some lessons I learned while running my own startup, that every kind of company can apply to find and keep great talent.
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Mastering the art of hiring
1. To find proactive employees, take proactive measures
Here’s the deal: We startups have to be really picky with who we hire! So if the pool of people on monster.com are not really in sync with what you’re looking for, don’t sit around and wait to find the right people.
There are quite a few proactive measures you can take. One idea is to use networks like LinkedIn to look for people who fit your expectations, and approach them and lay down your proposition even if they aren’t actively seeking a job.
Similarly, at my company, Hiver, we participate in the Blogathons and Hackathons that are popular in the startup circles, and that’s where we’ve found most of our marketers and coders!
Most people are open to finding a new opportunity, even if they aren’t looking for one.
Another idea is to go to startup meetups and events, meet new people and just grow your network. The thing is, you never know just where you might find the right people. As you expand your local network, the size of your potential employee pool increases.
2. Implement smart and two-way interview practices
For a startup, generic interview questions such as, “Walk me through your resume,” “Why are you looking for a job change?”, etc. won’t help much in making a decision.
I particularly emphasized presenting candidates with cases and hypothetical scenarios to really understand their thinking processes when interviewing for Hiver. Some examples:
- Present a scenario where two equally powerful employees have a conflict of opinion, and ask them how they would resolve it.
- Take a real problem you’re facing in the present and ask them what counter-measures they would suggest.
- Explain your company culture and ask them if they would change anything and why.
You can get wildly creative here. Also, the interview should encourage a two-way conversation. You must convey what your culture is to the candidate and encourage discussions about it.
3. Look for multi-taskers
Startup work can be unpredictable; depending on the changes in demands, the employees should be willing to switch between different tasks and not sit in the safety of their comfort zone.
For example, there was a time at my startup when we had to constantly shift our work force between different tasks – tasks which didn’t necessarily fall within their purview. Then, we needed employees who were excited about learning new things and capable of balancing their original work and the new work. We still do!
Here’s how you can find multi-taskers:
- Examine their resume. An employee who did community service work along with his daily job will probably work for you.
- Look at their previous job responsibilities. Did they do a wide range of tasks or did they stick to their specialization?
4. Select the jury well
It would be a mistake to send in a marketer to interview a software engineer. Although they can ask generic questions, they really can’t go into the specifics.
The fact that you’re the CEO of the company doesn’t mean you’re the best person to judge a candidate. Take the help of others who can.
At Hiver, it’s important that each of our employees is extremely collaborative. When we’re interviewing a senior experienced employee, we send in a junior employee to kick off the interview, just to see if the candidate will take it well or be offended.
This helps us understand the candidate’s attitude, which is really a very critical aspect for startups when hiring.
Mastering the art of keeping the hired
1. Build a happy culture
Nurturing a happy and fun work culture can keep your employees satisfied and positive, and happy people don’t look for change.
Often, work at startup includes meeting deadlines, fixing mistakes quickly, etc., and these activities will build up stress and pressure. No one really wants to work with a grumpy and stressed-out bunch of people. So, take it on yourself to make their office time a tad more fun and uplifting.
- Encourage office pranks.
- Have game nights – Jenga/surgery/cards.
- Celebrate events such as birthdays and festivals.
- If nothing else, a pack of beers and some chat time will work, too.
Here are some unconventional ways to make your workplace more creative…
2. Make them the boss of their own ideas
According to the book, “The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave” by Leigh Branham, money rarely motivates an employee’s departure. Feeling devalued and unrecognized is one of the main reasons why people leave — which shouldn’t be surprising, as feeling appreciated is a fundamental emotional need.
So at my startup, when an employee comes up with a good idea, we make him in charge of the planning, execution, and delivery of the idea. Everyone, including the CEO and the founders, will follow his lead.
Giving honest credit to an employee’s idea like this can give them a boost in their confidence levels and will leave them feeling valued and respected.
3. Keep their day interesting
Let’s be real, most of the work in a day is less than interesting. Necessary but uncreative tasks like documentation, filing and record keeping can drain your employees’ mental energy and if anything, makes them less focused.
One way to keep their day interesting is by helping them pursue other interests that they may have. This may seem counter-intuitive. Most of us think that when an employee is involved in too many things, they can’t be focused at work. It’s really not the case.
Organizing some edifying activities like learning a new language, playing guitar etc. during the work day will keep the day interesting no matter what the workload looks like, plus it will contribute to your employees’ personal development.
4. Paint the walls red
Nobody wants to work in a dungeon-like, sorry-looking place. Choosing lighting, colors and interiors that create an aesthetically-pleasing environment can really help the moods of the people.
Consider this: According to a study by researchers at Creighton University, people working in blue-colored-wall offices felt more centered and calm at work.
To make your employees’ environment more uplifting, motivating and conducive to happiness and productivity, you might think about including:
- Peppy and fun interiors
- Quirky quotes to look at
- Well-ventilated, spacious areas
- A no-desk system
Former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy said, “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person – not just an employee – are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled. Satisfied employees mean satisfied customers, which leads to profitability.”
Those are great words for every organization to hire, work and lead by.
Niraj Ranjan Rout is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool. Niraj works on programming, customer support and sales, and also contributes to design and UI. He’s a fusion music aficionado, loves to play the guitar when he can.
Image Copyright: racorn / 123RF Stock Photo
Publish Date: May 5, 2016 5:00 AM
Cirque du Soleil performances are like the sprinkles on a cupcake. They touch you in an emotional way and with a kind of whimsical flair. They make you want to eat the icing and skip the cake. Sprinkles make a treat alluring, not just delicious.
Analyzing the magic of a Cirque du Soleil show can be in very instructive in what it can teach us about call center service with sprinkles. Every one of the 20+ different Cirque du Soleil performances, from the Beatles Love in Las Vegas to Varekai in Vienna is laced with color, acrobatics, dance, and over-the-top music. It is a sensory menagerie. There is little predictable about any performance. Instead, you get head-turning surprise every few minutes.
What if Cirque du Soleil were in charge of your call center experience? Here’s what the show might look like:
Conversation, not checklist.
I can spot a script a mile away. Even done with the skill of a master thespian, it reminds me of those boring days of “Thank you for shopping a J Mart, next.” Talk with me like a good friend, not like you are primed to ask me some call center variation of “Would you like fries with that?”
Inconsistency, not robotics.
I appreciate the virtues of consistency. It makes operations much easier to manage and measure. But, people-communicating-with-people is by definition inconsistent. Customers hope for untidy and inefficient personalization. Don’t be so methodical you fail to leave room for serendipity, ingenuity and personality.
>> FREE INFOGRAPHIC: Are Robots Running Your Call Center? <<
Needs, not handle time.
I can always tell when I am disrupting an operator’s AHT. Please take the time that is required to get me what I need. When you force me to call back on the same issue, your stats are already blown. If I was your best friend, would you rush me? Well, I’m not your best friend; I’m your paycheck!
Mentoring, not just manners.
Smart operators give me security. I am impressed when they are savvy enough to tutor me on things that improve my experience. It tells me I am dealing with an ambassador concerned with the welfare of his or her organization, not a person just filling a seat and waiting to punch out.
Problem solving, not transaction management.
Some of my contact center calls are for information or purchases; most are related to an issue. My problem is not solved until I believe it is solved. Just taking me through your steps or procedures may feel like real work to you. But, without closure, it is just a noisy hassle that wastes my time.
Easy, not laborious.
Wait time tells me either your organization does not care about customers or your contact center is poorly managed. I am unmoved by your excuses and indifferent to your attempts to remind me of my importance as I wait to be served. Making me repeat anything tells me your systems are archaic and perhaps I should steer clear what you are selling.
Personality, not prowess.
As your customer, I do not care how much you know until I know how much you care. Be the interpersonal sprinkle in my day. Make me remember my awesome experience long after I have forgotten what I contacted you for. If you were charging me admission for this interaction, what would make me believe I got my money’s worth?
Customers today only want value for their hard-earned dollar and that includes their experiences, not just your products and services. They are far less brand-loyal and will often abandon an organization on a single hiccup. Social media makes the voice of the customer louder and gives it greater reach than ever.
It all means expectations are climbing quickly — about 30% higher in the last year — and it requires call centers to choreograph the customer performances they deliver with the precision and passion of Cirque du Soleil. So get that headset on and smile. It’s showtime!
Chip R. Bell is a renowned customer service speaker and the author of several national bestselling books. His newest book is the just-released Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences Through Innovative Service. Chip will be the keynote speaker at Mattersight’s 2016 Call to Loyalty. He can be reached at www.chipbell.com
Image copyright: luckybusiness / 123RF Stock Photo
Publish Date: April 21, 2016 5:00 AM
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