What does a customer’s tone of voice express? Emotions!

Customer service centers are likely be your organization’s most direct point of customer contact.  A customer’s voice, for them, is not simply an abstract concept, it’s something they listen to directly. Their objectives, however, are primarily defined in terms of effectiveness and cost control; so, It should come as no surprise that customer satisfaction is not their top priority.

A good example of this is the case of gaming software company Zynga’s support center, reported in Call Center Week. When Telus International was awarded its customer support mandate, it started out using traditional effectiveness measures. Since Zynga was aware of the crucial importance of satisfaction for its game players, it obliged Telus to take another approach. This required significant training effort, not only to achieve understanding of how the games operate, but above all to perceive them from the gamer’s (client) perspective. As Zynga’s Services President explains in this article, the gamers are emotionally involved in their games, and this has to be taken into account when interacting with them.

This doesn’t just apply to the gaming world, of course. Now that customers also hold forth in the social media, the emotive aspects of their postings take on more and more importance.

As Frank Eliason, author of the book “@ Your Service”, explains in an interview with Cynthia Clark, the essence of customer service is to treat our customers as human beings, and not numbers. It’s listening to them attentively and dealing with their requests in a respectful manner that will gain and keep their loyalty.  However, if customer service employees on the front line are obliged to operate according to ultra-strict procedures, this can quickly lead to dead ends and frustration. Frank Eliason clearly explains how customer support centers are often incapable of getting their organizations to make the changes necessary to improve the customer experience.

Even then, we hear numerous organizations boasting about their customer focus practices while there remain major gaps between what they preach and actually practise. This study from the Temkin Group shows that only 25% of the 255 companies studied achieve an adequate level of customer focus; not something to crow about!

The conclusion of the interview with Frank Eliason, cited above, is inspiring. It shows that simply reporting stories of unhappy customers can speed up decisions to make changes. Why? Simply because emotions expressed by customers are more powerful than rational arguments.

In fact, how many companies dress up their customer satisfaction studies with abstract performance indicators or dry tables of numbers? Instead follow Frank Eliason’s example and recount the experiences of your customers. Illustrate your report with concrete examples which put the numbers into context. You will be surprised by the result.

To validate directly how your customers perceive your service efforts (and those of your competition), complement your study with a social media analysis. Thanks to Semeon’s tool  you can quickly draw up a sentiment analysis of your customers and bring significant cases to light.

Are you ready to share your customers’ feelings?

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