Featured Image for the blog: Looking to Provide a Star Tier CX? Start By Empowering Your Agents

Customer service is fundamental to the lifetime value of a customer, and your agents play the leading role in determining if your customers become company cheerleaders or bee-line for the exit. But to help turn customers into cheerleaders, your agents need a positive experience, too. And that falls on a manager’s shoulders.

Your job is important. Your agents’ jobs are important. Coach them to be even better at what they do, and your team of all-stars will bring in the metrics to back their incredible work and boost your company’s success. Studies show that customer retention is less expensive than customer acquisition AND that existing customers are more likely to buy from you than new customers. That means you and your agents control a significant amount of your company’s potential revenue.

With agents who constantly provide stellar service and customers who shout about it through a megaphone, your sales team can shift their features and benefits pitch to include that incredible level of service. You have an opportunity to directly influence the value proposition of the product or service your sales team is selling, your marketing team is positioning, and your operations team is streamlining.

Helping customers is everyone’s job.

Start the transformation by coaching your agents and empowering them to provide jump-over-the-moon-worthy customer service. The impact that real, human interactions have on a customer journey makes the value of what you do clear. And when companies see all that crystal clarity, it will empower them to brag about the incredible service customers can expect.

Coach your agents to start the movement and show off their sparkle. Human customer service interactions are even more valuable to your company than some of the tiny nuances of your product. Here are three more reasons you should treat customer service as a feature of your product or service. And when you do, watch how quickly your entire organization shifts into go-help-the-customer mode.

Creating an emotional connection with customers is a competitive differentiator.

Customer satisfaction is expected, it isn’t a differentiator. What is, though, is connecting with customers on an emotional level. Not to mention, the lifetime value of that emotionally-connected customer is more than twice that of a highly satisfied customer. And that emotional connection is crafted through incredible service experiences. An HBR article on customer emotions dove in to see what creates an emotional connection and how valuable that connection becomes to your company. The key, you ask? Customers engaging with your company through service experiences.

“The customer experience is a critically important driver of emotional connection. Our analysis shows that customers who engage in an omnichannel experience, for example, are much more emotionally connected and therefore consistently more profitable.” – HBR, An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction

To get a little more perspective on just how impactful these experiences are, take a look at the graph below.

The value of emotional connection

It shows that fully (emotionally) connected customers are 52 percent more valuable than HIGHLY satisfied customers. Customer satisfaction is expected, and valuable of course, but creating that emotional connection is what sets you apart. And that’s worth talking about.

Customers will pay a premium for a great experience.

Customer experience often plays a role in purchasing decisions, and excellent service is essential to the customer experience. It turns out that people are even willing to pay more if it means they’ll get great service. So, imagine how ecstatic potential customers would be if your company told them up front that you’ll provide that great customer experience… for free. Hmm. That just might be a tipping point.

The customer experience is so essential to purchasing decisions that a premium exists across industries. Some industries rack up an additional 16 percent in fees for fantastic service. Take a peek at the PWC graph showing common industry premiums people are willing to pay.

But even with premiums this high, the time-savings people enjoy from a fantastic experience often outweigh the added costs. Not to mention the uptick in a customer’s mood after they hang up with a happy, helpful agent vs. a disgruntled one. No one wants to deal with unhappy agents, long hold times, or problems that drag on for days before agents can solve them. That’s a frustrating experience. And frankly, time is too valuable to waste these days when we’re stuck in a “forever-on” mindset. For many, great customer service isn’t the icing on the cake, it’s the whole cake.

Positive agent-customer interactions create brand advocates.

Some of the most impactful experiences we referenced in the HBR studies above were hand-written welcome notes agents gave to new customers and online training videos for customers to learn about important topics. Notice that these interactions, the ones that are most impactful, are service-oriented experiences your well-coached agents deliver.

According to research out of the Temkin Group, customers who have a positive emotional experience are 6x more likely to purchase from your company again. And, they’re 12x more likely to recommend you to their network. And, 71% of people say a company’s employees have a significant impact on their experience. Positive agent-customer interactions create loyal customers. Loyal customers become brand advocates, and brand advocates publicly vouch for your product to help bring in new customers. Helpful, friendly agents encourage customers to shine a spotlight on your company. When you have the backing of brand advocates and delighted customers, there’s even more reason to create an upfront contract about the incredible service your empowered agents deliver.

The impact customer service has on a company is absolutely a selling point. Empower your agents to provide the best customer service experience possible. And talk-up how incredible they are when your company prospects new business. Your agents, their expertise, and their level of service are worth bragging about.

Learn more about the impact your agents’ experience has on the customer experience, here!