When it comes to communicating with customers, what are the key things to keep in mind to ensure the best possible experience? I hosted a webinar with Customer Contact Central on to share ideas to help CX teams create thoughtful, delightful, and engaging experiences for their customers as they scale. Watch a recording of the webinar below or keep reading for key takeaways:
My advice for CX teams falls into three main buckets:
- Evaluate your tech stack
- Ensure cohesive communication
- Empower your team
We polled the audience at the beginning of the webinar to see which tactic they were most interested in learning about and Ensure cohesive communication got the most votes at 68%. Evaluate your tech stack came in second with 18% of the votes, and Empower your team was close behind with 14%. Let’s dig in to each of these categories.
Evaluate your tech stack
There are three main questions to ask yourself when evaluating your tech stack:
1. On which device do your users spend the most time using your product or service?
Whether it’s via smartphone, laptop, desktop, or some other medium, my tip is to monitor usage data and figure out where certain user groups spend the most time with your product, and make that device where you communicate with them the most. In order to meet users where they spend their time, look for tech tools that allow for variety.
Outcome: Make it easy for your users to communicate with you without leaving their workflow.
2. What types of information do you communicate to users most? Where would this be best received?
What information do you push to your customers? Product updates? NPS surveys? Requests for feedback? Event info? Whatever it is, my tip is to make it easy for customers to respond to that information by serving it up wherever it's most relevant. Asking a customer to complete an NPS survey via email isn't as convenient as asking someone to complete it within the product itself. Just don't push the survey request while they're in the middle of a workflow! That might annoy people and prevent them from giving feedback :)
3. Which integrations are absolutely necessary and which are “nice to haves”?
Tech stacks can quickly get out of hand. By determining which programs you actually need, you can help you narrow down your choices. My tip here is to budget time. Custom integrations are typically harder to set up than expected, so allow for a few weeks more than your engineering team predicts.
Ensure cohesive communication
Ensure cohesive communication got 68% of viewer votes as the topic they were most interested in hearing about, so I dug a little deeper into my tips here. I have four:
1. Define your voice and tone
At Guru, our marketing team led an exercise to determine just how the Guru brand voice should sound in every scenario. (Our Head of Corporate Marketing detailed the process in a blog post – check out how Guru uses our brand guidelines to empower our revenue team and download a copy of our brand guidelines PDF for inspiration!) Here's how we think about brand voice:
Our brand has one voice. From tweets to pitches, from associates to the leadership team, we sound unique and recognizable. Whether our users are reading or listening, we make their takeaway clear and consistent—and, where possible, we do it in a way that puts a smile on their faces.
2. Provide a training guide
Once you've defined your brand voice, it's important to give your team the framework they need to yield it appropriately. We created a matrix for our team to use to suss out which note to strike during which situations. It requires a level of emotional intelligence to judge each scenario, but a training guide always helps.
3. Develop a short voice and tone “mission statement”
Your brand's voice and tone should remain constant across channels. The better equipped your team is to speak about your brand using the right words to get the right sentiment across, the more polished and legitimate your brand will appear. It’s a way to help all employees be the best possible ambassadors of your brand.
“We speak with our customers through clear communication that is fun, engaging, and consistent.”
4. Brainstorm responses based on your values
CX teams need to understand how to apply your brand's voice and tone appropriately so as not to get themselves or your company into trouble over an insensitive comment. It’s important to give examples of the good, the bad, and the ugly, so everyone is on the same page about how to communicate with customers.
Empower your team
Finally, it’s crucial to empower your team to communicate effectively. This means going beyond simple training sessions and actually coaching them in context on how to respond to different situations. They’ll need access to different types of knowledge based on the situation and should be able to adapt and think on their feet no matter where the conversation goes. I’ve got a few tips that we employ at Guru that I think all CX leaders will find valuable.
Empower your team with enough information to:
1. Adequately address your customer's problem or question
And to also....
2. Predict what the customer may need to know in the future
3. Provide additional information and advice
4. Ask more questions. Be curious and engaging
At Guru, we utilize a "Yes, and..." framework which is actually an improv technique. So, for example: "Yes I can answer your question, and here is something else you might find interesting." The important thing to note here is that you need to give your team the time and space to engage more deeply. That means allowing them to go beyond #1 and dig deeper into 2, 3, and 4.
My tip to empower your team to have deeper conversations is to examine your support metrics. If you measure things like handle time, you may be encouraging your reps to get off the phone quickly rather than encouraging them to engage with customers.
At Guru we practice improv sessions to act out various scenarios – best and worst case – to make sure that we're prepared. And we also encourage team-wide contribution. We also refer to something called "intelligence swarming," which removes the tiers of support and empowers all team members to collaborate when solving problems and contribute to their team's shared knowledge.
At the end of the webinar, we polled the audience a second time to see what tactics they were most excited to implement moving forward, and I was excited to see that Empower your team had gained some traction and increased to 27%! At Guru, we're all about empowering teams with the knowledge they need to do their jobs, so I hope everyone gained some knowledge through this webinar!