Author: Steven Bederman, President, NobelBiz
At this point in time, the debate of whether or not customer experience is important is pretty much over. We can all agree that in this age of endless options, CX is one of the few key differentiators when it comes to customer retention and other metrics such as the Net Promoter Score.
However, CX has proved to be a tough nut to crack. In the last couple of years, we were exposed to a flood of articles, webinars, podcasts and every other type of content under the sun, in an attempt to optimize this elusive but essential aspect of doing business.
This article is yet another brick to the edifice of understanding what customer experience is and how it works. However, today I will try to come with a somewhat different perspective and talk about the irrational aspect of CX. And here is where the magic of empathy comes in.
In CX, empathy is more than just a word
In my opinion, great CX is a bizarre combination between two distinct and concrete elements: technology (interaction infrastructure) and interpersonal dynamics; and empathy can be cultivated at both ends. Surprisingly enough, a healthy dose of empathy can also play a crucial role in setting up the communication technology and infrastructure.
But before we go into that, let’s get a bit philosophical and see what empathy is and how it can be tied to what we call customer experience. The concept itself can be defined as the ability or resonate and share the feelings of another being. In other words, it entails the capacity of one person to mirror the inner "movements" or "experiences" of another. But what has all this to do with CX, you might ask.
Well, we all know that a deep subjective experience can rarely if ever be fully put into words. We can try, but we will never be able to rationally understand it for the simple reason that it has a strong emotional and irrational component. This is why empathy is so crucial for a deep understanding of what customer experience is and how to tackle it.
Engineering the magic of empathy
Most of us only have a working understanding of empathy as being something strictly dedicated to interpersonal relationships and interactions. However, there are a few disciplines that are using empathy (although they might not call it so) to deliver excellence and personalize their services or products.
I am thinking about architects, designers, marketers, anthropologists and so on: any type of activity that requires walking in the shoes of the customer; where having a deeper understanding of the irrational experiences of "the other" renders incredible success.
Designing an empathic contact center CX infrastructure
Now we can go back to the first of the two building blocks of CX that I’ve mentioned at the beginning (i.e. contact center technology). CX happens at the interface between your client and your business.
In order to infuse empathy in this interface, one needs to experience himself/herself the process of what it means to interact with a specific company (your company). Purposefully walk in the shoes of your customers and pay close attention to what frustrates and what makes you happy about the process.
You might discover that after an initial contact on one particular channel you are redirected to another channel but the initial discussion is completely lost and you need to repeat your request to another clueless agent.
You might discover that your company advertises on multiple media, but uses only one or two communication platforms (i.e. the client needs to leave the platform they first saw your content).
You might discover that the waiting time for a response or resolution is too long.
You might discover that the system does not have an efficient routing system; and the list can go on…
Your findings will most definitely help you optimize the communication technology of your company and aid in your decision as to what infrastructure you actually need to adopt. Do you need a full-featured omnichannel communication platform? Do you need more agents? Do you need a Web Chat app or maybe an AI powered Chat Bot?
In other words, become your customer and try the experience you have provided to them! You may be surprised!
The truth is that good CX is always contextual. This is why general rules and to-do lists don’t always render the desired outcome. Yes, we all love quick fixes. Unfortunately, because it has such an important subjective component, customer experience requires a profound understanding of both the business model and the client base.
And if there would be one thing that I would like the readers of this article to remember is that designing your CX strategy (both in terms of contact center infrastructure and actual communication) with an empathic mindset might be your best shot at getting it right. Become your customer!
About NobelBiz Corporation:
NobelBiz is a provider of contact center solutions from their patented carrier of carriers network to their new fully-remote Omnichannel Contact Center Software. Their network guarantees your lines stay up all the time, and their omnichannel product makes sure agents can seamlessly switch between Twitter and voice, or any channel, with a simple click. Their support and engineers are always ready to guarantee full compliance and attestation solutions.
Published: Monday, November 22, 2021
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