It’s a common misconception that focus on a customer is shouldered by one department – usually customer service or customer support. At Genesys, we believe customer service should be effortless, pain-free and easy, as easy as texting.
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C company, the entire company—from front-line sales or technical support to software developers to those processing invoices—should focus on the customer. In a competitive business landscape, companies who build relationships with their customers can differentiate themselves and become leaders in their industries.
How do brands and companies create that relationship? Every employee must be engaged with, connected to and empowered for the customer, no matter what their role is or to which department they report.
Here are five ways to create engaging and meaningful connections with your customers:
1. Know Your Customers and Anticipate Their Next Move
The Japanese have mastered the art of deeply knowing their customers in a philosophy called omotenashi. They have come to know customers so well that they can anticipate their needs or wants before they’re even realized. In other words, customers do not have to exert extra effort to explain who they are or what they want; we already know. With today’s technology, obtaining data about a customer is easier than ever—from knowing their buying behaviors to anticipating their next business problem. And being able to address those issues can be as simple as sending a text message, starting a chat pop up or making a call. This also means that every employee, at every cross-section of an organization, should have some sort of visibility into each customer.
2. Have Empathy and Make an Emotional Connection
In Harper Lee’s classic “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the title character Atticus Finch says, “If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
This was part of a scene in which Atticus was teaching his daughter about the advantages of having empathy. Applied more practically, empathy allows you to communicate and connect more effectively with your customer. Moreover, empathy is integral for employees to truly understand the customer and deliver the right type of service and action. Empathy allows you to more deeply understand what makes your customers tick—what they value, how they want to connect, what triggers their connection to your brand. This helps to continuously innovate and improve your products and services.
3. Build Customer Services Within the Product, Offer or Service
Customer experience doesn’t just begin and end with the customer service or technical support departments. To truly differentiate from competitors, the challenge is for product and service designers and engineers to innovate ways to provide services and support within an app or product suite. For example, mobile phone carriers make it easy for you to check your billing or any account status by simply dialing two digits. Make it a seamless interaction that is embedded in the experience.
4. Be Authentic and Genuine
In the age of social media, it is often difficult to determine what is real and what is staged. There is even a word for it now: “plandid” or “planned candid.” Look through anyone’s Instagram feed and you’ll be bombarded with images of a “casual” walk down the street or an “unplanned” laugh in the middle of brunch. These “plandid” images take the authenticity out of a moment. Don’t interact with your customers in this way.
Interacting with your customer shouldn’t be a “plandid” moment in which you check off a box. Instead, ask thoughtful questions. And most importantly, listen. Don’t just simply gloss over the customer’s response to the question to check off another box. Intently listen and hear what customers say. In the same vein, don’t simply provide a canned response. Customers are inundated with so many “plandid” moments; they know a genuine and authentic response over one that is hollow and meaningless. Authentic and genuine interactions uncover the real reasons for their frustrations or their delight.
5. Create a Relatable Purpose
With advances in technology and access to a global workforce, many service providers struggle to differentiate themselves from industry competitors. How do consumers ultimately choose one vendor over another? What makes them stick with that vendor if they see a similar service or product on sale from another vendor? Similarly, what makes a person choose one employer over another? With so many options, customers and employees choose the right company for them based on strong ideological beliefs. Genesys’ community outreach programs reinvest into the communities where we have a major presence. Our employees drive much of these initiatives and it is a source of great pride.
In the end, we are human. And as humans, we are full of emotions with a strong desire to form relationships that are positive—with one person or many. The challenge is for organizations to humanize services so that they are easy and meaningful for customers. Learn how to cultivate connections with your customers with an on-demand webinar: Be Proactive: Don’t Leave Great Customer Experience To Chance.