"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."
Some of us may not know the name of the person who said this, but we all know the name of the business he grew: McDonald's. His words still ring true today no matter which industry you may be in, and within their simplicity lies the blueprint for success that is on display for everyone to see—the customer always comes first.
Ray Kroc gave his advice in simpler times, before the arrival of the Internet, web browsers and social media. Despite great advances in technology, however, some businesses still struggle to truly understand their consumers! This lack of knowledge negatively impacts their agents, who are often the first point of contact for customers.
The dangers of working blindfolded
As frontline staff, your agents are expected to deal with more customers, more frequently, and in real-time from multiple communication channels. The increasing use of technology by savvy consumers, along with elevated business goals and KPIs, has only served to intensify the demands and pressure placed on your teams.
❌ Impacts agents. Your agents need information at their fingertips to do their best work. If they don't have that knowledge when it is needed, your customer service reps cannot help customers as effectively. This will negatively impact the customer experience by portraying your agents as being unknowledgeable or untrustworthy. 🙁
❌ Wastes time. When agents lack real-time customers insights, they must spend time searching for it, ask other team members, or switch between apps for email, chat and social, for example. This comes at the expense of team productivity and the customer experience, as seen by long wait times and questions that are not resolved in the first contact.
|In a study by commissioned by CINNOX, Forrester conducted a survey of 1,200 consumers who interacted with a brand for purchase or customer support. Not surprisingly, the outcome of the study found that three things are necessary for a good customer experience:
1. First-time resolution
2. Short wait times
3. Knowledgeable sales or customer reps
❌ Affects morale. Poor customer service, along with negative customer feedback, has a domino effect, increasing agent frustration, boosting disengagement and lowering team productivity. You can prevent this from becoming a deep-seated issue and affecting your brand by providing your agents with the necessary knowledge in the first place.
Not too little, not too much, just right
So, how much information should you provide your teams? If they have too much, they will waste time sorting it out. If they don't have enough, they need to spend time filling in the missing info. The sweet spot is just enough information to enable your agents to make quick real-time decisions, while keeping the customer happy!
If you want to get to know your customers better, a full-fledged CRM solution may not be the best choice. Your agents will have to learn yet another app and toggle between it and other apps. A better way is to give agents just enough information before an interaction, empowering them with the visitor's intention and interest:
✔️ Delivering the right information at the right time. If data such as a website visitor's browsing history is not available in real time, then it's probably of little value to your agents. Browsing history from a couple of hours ago, for example, may be outdated as customers shortlist products and move along their buying journey.
✔️ Enabling access quickly and easily without fuss. Customer information should be made available to agents in one place, such as CINNOX's Chat Room panel, without having them switch between different apps. Their country and language should form part of their profile, including all other info about the customer.
✔️ Making it available from wherever they are, on any device. With hybrid and remote teams being the norm in a post-pandemic world, a platform should not restrict agents to using it on desktops only. You should be able to access it from any web browser on any device or download native iOS and Android apps for mobile.
No matter which solution you choose, it must also be easy to use and intuitive, so that your customer service reps can easily find the answers they need with minimal training and onboarding. Also, the platform must be able to scale along with your requirements as your company grows, handling 2, 20 or 200 hundred agents!
3 benefits of empowering agents with knowledge
1. Build happier and motivated teams
Answering customer enquiries might seem like a lottery at times for agents. They never know what they'll have to deal with next: product info, shipping fees or angry consumers. Stress levels may increase when agents cannot see what is coming next or when they have self-doubts about their ability to answer unanticipated questions.
By enabling agents to anticipate customer enquiries, you are helping to minimise their stress and improve team productivity. When your agents have more information about an enquiry they are accepting, they will be more confident in who they are dealing with and will be able to plan how to answer their expected queries.
It's a win-win situation for businesses as well. It's no secret that the customer care industry has one of the highest turnover rates at 45% for call centres alone! Customer care leaders are sitting up and taking notice—34% of companies are attracting and retaining talent by motivating and building trust with employees.
For example, which of the following enquiries do you think your agents have more assurance to deal with?
A web call is initiated from your website. Nothing else is known about the call. 🤷🏻♀️
A web call starts from the CINNOX widget on your website. Your agent can see that the visitor is from Australia, that their browsing language is English, and that they have been looking at web pages about cushions and throws. Your agent mentally prepares to answer queries about soft furnishings and confidently accepts the call. 💪
A live chat enquiry starts from the CINNOX widget. The visitor is from Malaysia and their browsing language is Bahasa Melayu. They've been looking exclusively at tableware and napkins. If your agent is unsure about chatting in the prospect's native language, the enquiry can be transferred to another agent for a better experience. 🙌
Enquiry 1 gives agents the impression that they are entering into a scenario blindly— they have no clue what to expect and will have to figure it out as it happens. For enquiries 2 and 3, CINNOX helps your agents anticipate the interaction, prepare for the engagement, and plan an appropriate response strategy in a short space of time.
2. Grow business with knowledge
Knowledge is the ultimate competitive advantage. While call centre agent skills like empathy and active listening are desirable, if you know more about your customers than your competitors, you can use that intelligence to win their trust, deliver personalised experiences, build long-lasting relationships, and earn repeat business.
It has been shown that providing individualised service to customers may boost online conversion rates by 8%! How? Let's compare two different kinds of scenarios: one is transactional, while the other is tailored specifically for the prospect.
A website visitor begins a live chat enquiry at your e-commerce website. Your agent greets them and asks how they can be of assistance. The prospect is looking for a new sofa but is undecided between fabric or leather. The agent shares a web link that compares the two materials, asking if there is anything else they can help with. 😐
A prospect initiates a live chat session from the CINNOX web widget. Your agent warmly greets them, knowing that they are browsing for sofas. The visitor is undecided between fabric or leather, but since they are from Indonesia, your agent recommends fabric for tropical weather. Thankful, the visitor adds a sofa to their cart! 🎉
Which scenario would you want to see your agents participate in? Scenario 1 is a typical interaction in which the regular back-and-forth between the prospect and agent does not make the customer experience special. Furthermore, the prospect may feel hurried since the agent wants to move on to the next enquiry in the queue.
Scenario 2 shows conversational marketing in action. Your agent is composed, knowledgeable, and capable of influencing the prospect's buying journey. The prospect's browsing history, as well as their location, are shown in CINNOX, enabling your agent to add value and truly understand the prospect's pain point!
3. Collaborate for amazing experiences
You can boost agent engagement and encourage them to provide genuinely outstanding customer experiences by promoting a culture of sharing and learning. An IDC survey found that 85% of companies agree that an improved employee experience and elevated engagement translate to a better customer experience, increased customer satisfaction, and higher revenues for the business.
When call centre agent responsibilities include contributing to a pool of common knowledge and best practices, they promote the exchange of ideas and new ways of doing things. In CINNOX, for example, enquiry labelling can be used to categorise enquiries based on products, languages, countries, and more. This may help uncover insights from "dark data" that might otherwise go unnoticed:
✅ Identifying and seizing opportunities
Your sales and marketing teams can use enquiry labels to learn that outdoor furniture is very popular in Thailand and Indonesia, whilst modular and multi-purpose furniture is preferred in space-constrained Hong Kong and Singapore. You can then act to optimise your inventory in each country to capture sales, minimise warehousing costs, and launch campaigns tailored for each market.
✅ Delivering better customer experiences
If your agents diligently label enquiries by language, for example, you may find that emerging markets such as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos prefer to converse in their native languages. This may help to affirm your decision to hire fluent agents for better customer experiences and build language-specific landing pages and websites for these countries.
✅ Uncovering potential business problems
Finally, using a visitor's browsing history, your agents can identify business hotspots before they become a major issue. If many web calls or live chat sessions are started from the returns and refund page, for example, it may suggest that the current page is not useful and should be rewritten, or that your policies need to be reviewed. Such behavioural data is not easily captured in conventional call and chat interactions.
Knowledge is the key to success
Ray Kroc transformed the humble mom-and-pop diner into a quick-service model for time-pressed consumers. When you empower your agents with knowledge, you can similarly transform each customer interaction into a happier one and improve team productivity at the same time! Give CINNOX a try now to find success for your agents and your business.