Personalization in the Contact Center

Posted by Bob Rafferty,
Sr.Director, Operations

The 1980’s sitcom “Cheers” took place at a bar where people would go to hang out with friends and relax. The theme song "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" conveys what companies are facing with their current customer experience journey.  How do we keep them coming back? How do we differentiate ourselves? How do you keep customers happy? How do you engage them?  Everyone wants to go to a place where they are appreciated and treated as individuals.

We know the names of our favorite barista and hair stylist, but how many of us can name anyone at our wireless provider, credit card company, or electric utility provider? When customers call toll-free numbers, the only thing some agents may know (or care to know) about the consumer is their account number. 

Consumers who feel they are treated as individuals are more satisfied with their experience and more likely to remain loyal – and loyal customers are good for business.

Personalization is one way to make a customer’s interaction more meaningful, but how do you create that in the contact center? How do you make people feel connected, valued, and appreciated?  Here are some tips to incorporate personalization on every interaction in the contact center:

  • Use the customer’s name. Say “hello” and “how are you?” When the call is complete, say “thank you”.  Visit the HGS blog post on The Customer Experience Blue Print to see how HGS identifies, models, and documents best practices when handling inbound customer service calls.
  • As you are verifying the customer information (name, address, date of birth), if today is his or her birthday, or if it’s coming up, wish them a happy birthday!
  • Instead of opening your emails with something generic like “Dear Customer,” make sure to use the customer’s name.
  • Consumers are talking on social media networks. Are you listening? When you’re engaging consumers on social media, don’t use boiler plate responses. Give your agents the authority to engage with the consumer and make decisions based on the consumer’s need.
  • Invest in a CRM System to manage the customer’s history.  – This will give agents the opportunity to know what has taken place in previous communication, and prevents the customer from having to repeat their story.
  • At HGS, we have a fulfillment center that sends out various items, including gift cards, checks, product samples, refunds, and other items.  For letters, we make sure that we use the customer’s name and reference things that were discussed on the call. This assures the customer that we have listened, heard, and responded to his or her concerns.

This list is not complex or difficult, and as the saying goes, “little things mean a lot”. Personalization will enhance each customer’s experience and play a role in maintaining customers for life.

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