An increasing number of companies using Hello Customer include the HR department in their feedback programme. The open feedback analyses become part of the coaching and training programmes of shop teams, contact center agents, representatives and other people with direct customer contact. Because for the very first time, feedback actually results in impact.
A study from Harvard Business Review, dating back to 2013, showed that customer loyalty - the percentage of returning and recommending customers, has more influence on shareholder value than the traditional 'brand value'. And companies are increasingly aware of the need to put more budget and effort into their existing customers if they want to remain valuable and grow.
Building a good customer relationship often means good human interaction. Even though I am aware that the world is becoming digital with web portals, e-commerce, mobile apps, we also see a rise in 'human' investments, through customer success teams, contact center expansion, human support via chat, and so on.
From the customer feedback we've analysed over the course of the years throughout industries, we can confirm that human interaction remains extremely important. In many cases people talk about being helped, receiving advice, having trust, friendliness and feeling welcome. The customer relationship is strongly influenced by how employees make a customer feel. An employee can make or break experience, the emotional connection. Moreover, your brand is highly effected by that level of connection. Your brand can be influenced positively by an experience at location A and at the same time be damaged by a bad experience at location B. It's that delicate.
So basically customer experience starts with building awareness and motivating your own staff. Not through incentives or obligated one-way training programmes. A customer will feel the difference between a forced smile and a generous welcoming smile that came from within.
That's the hard part. How do you get started? Where do you get started? It's easy to train product expertise, it's easy to coach hospitality. But how do you build that culture of genuine customer-first attitudes?
By focusing on positive feedback in your satisfaction programme (be it NPS, CES or CSAT), you'll create a general positive drive in your employees. Sharing positive feedback as often and real-time as possible with the right people will lead to an enormous impact.
Open feedback, aggregated to insights and measurables are extremely useful for employees. Today they probably have a KPI such as the NPS score, if not accompanied by compensation or bonus. But what if you could provide them with a KPI that is 100% customer-driven and tied to human interaction? What if you could offer them the pure insight into how customers perceive their level of service, their behaviour?
By literally analysing feedback into topics and sentiment, this becomes possible.
At HR level, this type of insight will help decide on where to allocate training budget. Through open feedback analyses focused on human interaction, HR managers can better prioritise who should receive which kind of coaching or training. It also enables peer to peer coaching, by identifying high performers.
Grant your employees access to the feedback and insights from their own customers, give them ownership of the programme. In the end, it's them building relationships. So make this programme their empowerment rather than another set of control mechanisms.
It's a continuous performance improvement and awareness cycle. By generating permanent feedback insights, you spot best practices and pain points instantly. Addressing them, whilst continuing to probe feedback creates a real-time measure of the improvement efforts. This enables a very quick gauging of the coaching investments, directly from the customers. The circle of life...