Difficult Customers-Make a Change with Five Helpful Strategies

Difficult Customers-Make a Change with Five Helpful Strategies

1 . February . 2019

Everyone comes across difficult people in every aspect of life—our jobs, friendships, and yes, sometimes even our family. We can’t avoid it, but we can do something about it. It takes work, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Here are five ways to approach these situations:

1- Avoid Labeling or Judging People
If you think you are dealing with a difficult person, you are setting up the conversation to be difficult. Unconsciously, you may put people in categories and then expect them to behave the same way every time. Resist that temptation to label or judge, even if their behavior.

2- Step Back Before You Respond
Your natural response may be a quick or critical comeback, but stop yourself! That comeback may, in fact, come back to haunt you and cause the conversation to go spiraling downward. Trust that the other person does not mean to be difficult. Take time to compose yourself before responding.

3- Stop Wishing They were Different
How many times have you thought, “If only she would be more responsive or positive or reliable, or whatever differences you wish to see in this difficult person? Well, you’ve probably realized by now that wishing doesn’t work. The best way to see a change in difficult people is to change your own thinking and behavior..

4- Use a Learning Mindset Approach
Approach each interaction with an open mind—avoid making decisions or predictions before you start. Really listen to what the other person has to say and remain open to their viewpoint. When people feel your support, they will be more willing to work with you.

5- Don’t be a Difficult Person Yourself!
It’s really easy to identify when someone else is being difficult. But, how many times do you look in the mirror and acknowledge that you are the one being difficult? Take responsibility for your actions without turning to your “dark side” so that you don’t become the difficult person that others avoid.

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Setting Effective Targets

Setting Effective Targets

1 . January . 2019

Every employee in the organization should have a customer experience metric on their performance scorecard, specific to their area of responsibility. This approach ensures that employees understand that improving the customer experience is “everyone’s responsibility.”

Furthermore, setting an overall corporate goal, such as a customer loyalty score or index, reinforces the message that employees must all work together to ensure an improvement in the end-to-end customer experience.

Setting targets is one of the trickiest parts of the process associated with linking customer experience metrics to compensation; it is a balance between art and science.

For those employees who are average performers, it is better to lean toward the upside and focus on the positive aspects of customer experience improvements rather than to risk demotivating employees with targets that they don’t believe they can achieve

To set credible, actionable and achievable targets, consider the following:

► The target must be set outside the margin of error to prevent rewarding employees for a simple random sampling error in the survey results.

► Consider the “end goal” or benchmark performance that you want the organization to ultimately achieve across all customer experience interactions.

► Determine what percentage improvement is expected to close the gap (e.g., 15%) between current performance and benchmark standards.

► Use a 1 decimal convention for reporting and target setting to prevent employees from focusing on minute changes in the actual numbers.

► Ideally, use one full year’s worth of data to establish the baseline before setting the target.

► Establish a standard (e.g., 8.5 out of 10) when improvements are not required, but rather target performance is set simply to maintain current performance.

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Reduce call center after-call work (ACW) time

Reduce call center after-call work (ACW) time

1 . November . 2018

Wrap time, after-call work, ACW, post-call processing – these are just some of the names for that important bit of time in a contact center once a call has ended when the advisor can update the system with the caller’s resolution, next steps, details or order notes.
In this article we will show you how to make the most of just a few precious minutes to ensure wrap time or ACW is used properly and effectively.

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Phrases agents must NEVER use

Phrases agents must NEVER use

3 . September . 2018

Customer interactions, both good and bad, are likely to affect brand loyalty. You, as a customer service agent, must ensure that every caller is pleased with your service skills, so that the business which you represent is not negatively affected by the consequences of your customer interaction. To do this, you must be made aware of common customer service phrases that irritate callers.

Listed below are 5 such statements and suitable suggestions for how to refrain from using them.

1. What were your details again?
A common source of customer frustration comes from when they are made to repeat their personal information and details to a call center agent. Customers appreciate efficiency, so make sure that you have clearly recorded such details in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, in order to avoid repeating yourself. As a representative of your company, the customer will consider your efficiency as a trademark for the business.

2. I’ll get him/her to call you back in a minute.
Putting an ambitious time limit on when a colleague will continue a customer enquiry can be tricky. If you offer the customer such a time restriction, and your co-worker fails to work to it, this can be misconstrued as laziness on your colleague’s and your own part. Thus, you risk damaging your company’s reputation. Unless you are absolutely certain that the other person will be able to contact the customer within the required time limit, never offer one.

3. Let me investigate.
Whilst it may seem a perfectly legitimate statement to make, this phrase is too vague and can cause the customer to feel like they are about to be involved in a massively drawn-out situation. You must remember that efficiency is crucial to effective customer service. Therefore, you should inform them of your action plan for resolving their query and provide them with a realistic time period in which you will deliver that solution.

4. You are our priority.
As a call center agent, you are probably going to receive hundreds of calls every day, and the majority of these callers will understand the sheer number of people that you have been talking to. Therefore, it is likely that the customer will feel patronised by such a comment, knowing that you have only said it to “sweeten them up”. So instead, divert yourself from using such language and simply present your intentions to solve the matter, whist ensuring that the customer is happy with each detail provided.

5. Please can you hold for a moment?
Being forced to wait is something that no customer enjoys and it can cause them to feel frustrated when they have little idea of why you have done so. In order to minimise such frustration, keep them informed of the actions that you intend to take while they are on hold.

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Cognitive Technologies

Cognitive Technologies

3 . August . 2018

Computers cannot think. But increasingly, they can do things only humans were able to do. It is now possible to automate tasks that require human perceptual skills, such as recognizing handwriting or identifying faces, and those that require cognitive skills, such as planning, reasoning from partial or uncertain information, and learning.

“Technologies able to perform tasks such as these, traditionally assumed to require human intelligence, are known as cognitive technologies.”

Cognitive technologies have been evolving over decades. Businesses are taking a new look at them because some have improved dramatically in recent years, with impressive gains in computer vision, natural language processing, speech recognition, and robotics, among other areas.

Because cognitive technologies extend the power of information technology to tasks traditionally performed by humans, they have the potential to enable organizations to break prevailing tradeoffs between speed, cost, and quality.

We found that applications of cognitive technologies fall into three main categories: product, process, or insight.

• Product applications embed the technology in a product or service to provide end-customer benefits.
• Process applications embed the technology in an organization’s workflow to automate or improve operations.
• Insight applications use cognitive technologies—specifically advanced analytical capabilities such as machine learning—to uncover insights that can inform operational and strategic decisions across an organization.

Each of the type is further discussed below.

Organizations can now embed cognitive technologies to increase the value of their products or services by making them more effective, convenient, safer, faster, distinctive, or otherwise more valuable.

Not only can cognitive technologies be used to enhance products and services, they can also bring about entirely new classes of products and services that can create new markets and generate large gains for inventors.

Process: Automating internal processes with cognitive technologies

Another category of cognitive technology application is automation. By automation we mean using computer systems to do work that people used to do. The result is that the work gets done faster, cheaper, better, or some combination of the three.

Some applications of cognitive technologies eliminate jobs by taking on all of a worker’s responsibilities. Automated voice response systems that replace human customer service agents for first-tier customer support are well established.

Cognitive technologies are not the solution to every problem. Organizations need to evaluate the business case for investing in this technology in an individualized way. Organizations should look across their business processes, their products, and their markets to examine where the use of cognitive technologies may be viable, where it could be valuable, and where it may even be vital.

Insight: Cognitive technologies learning from information

The third category of cognitive technology application is creating insight. Natural language processing techniques, for instance, make it possible to analyze large volumes of unstructured textual information that has not yielded to other techniques. Machine learning can draw conclusions from large, complex data sets and help make high-quality predictions from operational data. Many companies are using cognitive technologies to generate insights that can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase revenues, improve effectiveness, or enhance customer service.

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