What is the purpose of your contact center? An honest answer probably involves making money, pleasing shareholders, or some combination thereof. And yes, those things are key to keeping your business afloat, but they’re not your purpose. However, the purpose of your contact center is to serve the customer’s needs. Putting customers first is key to the success of your product or service
The purpose of every contact center is to take care of the business’ customers. Financial success is the outcome of this purpose, not the purpose itself. If you’ve been chasing dollars in the short term, then you’re not setting yourself up for the success that you could have as a customer-first contact center.
To elaborate on this, we’ll be diving into some ideas shared with us by our friend and colleague, Annette Franz.
You can listen to Annette Franz’s entire interview here.
Why do so many businesses fail to connect to their customers?
There’s a wide gap in perception when it comes to any contact center’s customer experience. While the majority of executives are convinced their business delivers a superior customer experience, hardly any of their customers actually agree. Statistics from a few years ago put this comparison at 80 percent and 8 percent. This means only 8 percent of customers agree with 80 percent of company executives, and when it comes to customer service, the customer’s opinion is bound to be more accurate.
So where does this massive gap come from? It’s the result of a breakdown of communication. Too many companies ignore the most important voices to their brand: the voices of their customers.
Honest input and feedback from customers should be step one in the design process of any product or service. Assuming you know what’s best for your clientele without actually checking in with them is a critical planning flaw.
This is why your contact center is the heart and soul of your business. Through it, you get the opportunity to communicate with your customers to understand their needs and wants. In turn, the data that you derive from your customer engagement should be the top priority when decision making. The purpose of any contact center is to get feedback and use that feedback to alter your product or service.
This is how you survive the competition and this is how your brand stays relevant. Adapting means keeping up with people’s needs. Take for example how the Nokia brand easily lost its customers to its competitors simply because it failed to adapt. While other brands introduced mobile features that made the customer’s modern life easier, Nokia stuck to its old models which became rather inconvenient for the user in a world where technology was advancing.
You get what you give
Understanding and caring for your customers needs to be baked into company policy from the ground up. “You get what you give” as the saying goes, and if you allow your business to ignore customers or treat them poorly, then you’ll receive that treatment back in kind.
This means equipping your contact center agents and supervisors with the tools and the training they need to better serve your customers. This is not the place to cut corners. As the cornerstone of your customer service, your contact center should be a representation of your brand.
An incompetent contact center can greatly impact your business because no matter how good your product or service is, there are bound to be problems surrounding it. How you will deal with those problems will overshadow the quality of your product or service. This is because, as humans, we naturally notice the negative more than we notice the positive. It is how society has programmed us and that is how your customers are programmed.
Why putting customers first matters
Your customers are the base on which your entire business is built. Focusing too much on immediate income and business growth at the expense of customer and employee retention is a huge mistake. Focusing more on the quality of your customer service can get you ahead of your competition. Most businesses focus more on putting out more products and services, taking advantage of the consumerism complex.
However, this eventually catches up with your brand especially if your brand does not make an effort to put the customer first. There are more advantages to putting your customers’ needs first and developing products and services that make their lifestyle healthier and more convenient. Put in the groundwork to take care of the people who matter most to your business and the growth will come naturally.
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Jim Rembach is the Editor in Chief of the Customer Service Weekly and it’s Podcast host. He is President of CX Global Media and the creator of the Call Center Coach Virtual Leaders Academy. As the host of the Fast Leader Show Podcast, he has interviewed hundreds of experts, authors, academics, researchers, and practitioners on various angles, viewpoints, and perspectives for improving the customer experience. He has held positions in retail operations, contact centers, customer support, customer success, sales, and measured the customer experience. He is a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner, Employee Retention Specialist, and recipient of numerous industry awards.