All contact centers should exist to meet one core business goal: resolve issues as quickly as possible while providing a level of customer service that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s easy to say that is the mission of your contact center, but do you walk the talk? Industry-leading contact centers go above and beyond, taking extra steps to ensure that clearly defined principles guide them. With such principles in place, brands are more likely to meet their contact center mission.
At Spoken, we have a set of guiding principles that allow us to strive to be better for our clients.
Our guiding principles include:
- We are driven, self-directed individuals who push themselves to solve ever tougher problems
- We listen first, engage and advance the customer experience
- We embrace and drive change
- We welcome complex problems and generate simple, elegant solutions
- We are even better because of divergent views within our team; we grow from varied backgrounds
- We continually challenge ourselves and our customers to be even better
Let’s take a look at three companies whose principle-driven contact centers can serve as a model for your own.
Hot Topic is a company that sells clothes and accessories related to music and pop culture. Generally speaking, the company has a younger audience. To differentiate itself, Hot Topic makes sure its contact center employees address all of their customers on a first-name basis. More importantly, agents are told to not let customers hang up the phone unless they are happy.
To improve the overall customer experience, agents continually ask for feedback. Any suggestions received are then considered by managers and, if warranted, used to improve the caliber of service that agents deliver. Another important maxim that governs the Hot Topic contact center is that only an optimal agent experience can guarantee an optimal customer experience. As such, Hot Topic maintains a relaxed culture for its staff, including music that is always playing, a casual dress code, and no individual offices that might create barriers to collaboration.
Zappos is an e-commerce retailer that sells shoes. The company has grown tremendously over the last few years, but its 10 core values have stayed the same. With those values in place, Zappos agents know exactly what is expected of them. For example, the company’s first principle encourages agents to deliver “WOW” through service. Such a philosophy leads to some interesting outcomes, including:
- Sending flowers to a woman who ordered six pairs of shoes after her feet were damaged during medical procedures
- Paying a day’s worth of tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike to help commuters celebrate the holiday season.
- An agent patronizing a competitor’s store to secure a pair of shoes for a customer because Zappos had run out of the style.
On top of that, Zappos agents don’t read from scripts. This means that their conversations are more organic, something customers surely notice and appreciate.
Amazon doesn’t need an introduction. The mega e-commerce retailer is similarly guided by a set of tenets to ensure that customers have a pleasant experience in each and every interaction. One of the tenets encourages agents to be customer-obsessed, meaning that they focus on what customers need and work hard to meet those needs in every transaction. The company also strives to hire and develop the best talent and insist on the highest standards for their behavior.
Amazon introduced its Mayday button last year for user with its Kindle HDX product. Users can simply tap a button on the screen and, in less than 10 seconds, be face-to-face with a live customer service agent who can answer questions. We all know what it’s like to call a company and be put on hold for 10 minutes only to ask a question we feel shouldn’t have had to be asked in the first place. Amazon understands this too and, with Mayday, proves it is indeed customer-obsessed.
When we were working with direct marketing client Guthy|Renker to improve the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) customer experience, the initial goal was to exceed identification and intent rates over their current system. But, according to our principle of continually challenging both ourselves and our customers to be EvenBetter, we saw an opportunity in one call flow. In one Smart IVR call flow, callers were asked for their house number, with an expected response of something like "123 Main Street." However, a Spoken team member noticed that the call data revealed that callers were inputting 10 digits in response to this prompt. Guessing that callers were entering a home phone number, the member suggested that the team run the input as phone numbers. And matches were discovered in the data cache! The result? A new initiative to automatically run any 10-digit inputs to the house number prompt for a phone number match, which ended up returning an additional 2% match. Want to know more? Read the full case study.
At Spoken, we believe well-defined principles will help guide your contact center toward success, creating pleasant customer experiences each and every time. What are the principles that guide your contact center? Let us know in the comments below!