Author: crmxblog

8 Best Yet Inexpensive Customer Appreciation Ideas

Most businesses consistently thank their customers for doing business with them. This simple act of demonstrating gratitude to consumers who support your business is not to be underestimated. Customers want to feel appreciated. And the more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to become a return customer and recommend your business to others. If you want to show your customers your appreciation, here are eight great yet relatively cheap ideas to try.

Treat Them On Their Birthday

Many businesses offer some sort of birthday reward. To show your appreciation to a customer on their special day, you can offer them a free product or service. This can be something as small as a free beverage or free dessert on their birthday if you’re in the food industry.

Have A Customer Appreciation Sale

Sales are a great way to appreciate your customers and drive sale volumes. To express your gratitude for your most loyal customers, hold an exclusive sale just for them. The makeup retailer, Sephora, does an excellent job of rewarding their biggest spenders by granting them early access to sales and a higher discount than other customers.

Listen To Their Input

If customers have voiced concerns or made suggestions in the past, listen to their feedback. If their suggestions are a good idea or their concerns are valid, make the necessary change. The next time you see the customer, inform them of the changes you made and thank them for their feedback. This informs the customer that you value their opinion.

Connect With Customers

Taking the time to have a conversation with a customer can show them that you’re grateful for their business. It’s also a sure way to form a connection and convert them into a loyal customer. Perhaps, you have a shared interest or they shared details about their family with you. Make sure to remember these tidbits of information and ask about it the next time you talk to the customer.

Surprise Them With An Upgrade

Upgrading your customer’s product, service, or experience is a great way to show your appreciation. The costs of upgrading are typically cheaper than giving something away for free. If you manage a theatre or concert hall, you could surprise a customer by upgrading their seats to better ones at no cost on the day of the show. Those seats are going to be empty anyways. You might as well show a customer appreciation by improving their experience.

Give Them A Freebie

Delighting a customer with a free product or service is the ultimate way to show your appreciation. This is an amazing way to reward and encourage customer loyalty. If your products or services are quite expensive, this idea might not be as feasible. However, if you manage a business like a restaurant, you can show your appreciation by giving a regular customer their meal or dessert on the house once in a while.

Go Above And Beyond

While you might not always have the time to go out of your way for a customer when it’s busy, doing so when you have chance can show how much you appreciate them. For example, if an item the customer is looking for is out of stock, you could order it in specifically for them or help them track down the item at another location. On the other hand, if you know a customer orders the same thing every single day, you can have it prepared and ready for them as soon as they enter your store.

Provide Personalized Service

It takes little to no effort to provide personalized service to a customer, and yet, it can make their day. If you know your customer’s name, ensure you greet them by their name. If you conversed with the customer before about an interest or a hobby, ask them about it. Providing a customer with a personalized service can make them feel special. It also lets them know that you care enough to actually listen and remember facts about them.

Conclusion

As a business, customers are at the heart of what you do. Making your customers appreciated not only makes their day, but it can also greatly benefit your business. With so many ways to show your customers gratitude, there’s really no excuse not to.

Christina Lee is a business development manager at College paper and Essay help. She writes about business growth and customer engagement strategies for such services, as OX Essays, and others.

9 Easy Hacks To Increase Customer Engagement And Slash Your Bounce Rate

When it comes to getting people to your website and keeping them there, the key is engagement. If your visitors aren’t engaged with what you are offering them, they are highly likely to bounce onto the next website that is able to capture their engagement.

A customer is considered to be ‘bouncing’ from your website when they decide not to go further than the home page. What this typically means is that they weren’t interested enough to stay on your site, or found it too difficult to find what they were looking for. But, how can you optimize the level of customer engagement and prevent them from hopping off your site and onto another? Here are 9 easy ways to keep your customers interested and increase your sales:

  1. How User-Friendly Is Your Website?

When your customers enter your website, what does their experience look like? Is it easy to navigate and find the information, products or services they are looking for? Customers will get easily frustrated and quickly abandon your website if they encounter problems finding what they need. If customers are expressing frustration about navigating your website, listen! They are the ones who are using it, so their feedback matters.

  1. Add Calls To Action In The Right Spots

Inspiring your online visitors to act means you’ll have to prompt them to take action. Add calls to action where appropriate, so that your customers can easily be guided to where they need to go in order to complete the transaction they need. And, keep your call to action honest – if you are offering something for free, then asking for credit card information, it can cause many users to feel misled and bounce.

  1. Speed Up Your Site

In our fast-paced world, almost nothing will turn away a customer than a slow website. Ensuring that each page of your website is optimized for speed can help maintain a high level of customer engagement and prevent them from leaving. You would be shocked with how quickly someone will abandon your site if a page isn’t loading fast enough. In just a few seconds, customers will make their decision whether they are sticking with your site, or whether it’s too slow for them.

  1. Do Some A/B Testing

Test out the performance of your pages by creating A/B tests. Different landing pages and calls to action will yield different results, so you can see which one gains better traction and implement the ones with the best results.

  1. Include Engaging Videos

Videos can help explain a lot of information easily and quickly, and many users prefer to watch a short video than to read anything of length. Including short, informative videos can keep users engaged and moving through your website.

  1. Highlight Lots Of Great Images

Images are highly engaging, and including high quality images in all the right places can help drop your bounce rates. Large, quality images are eye-catching and are being more widely utilized by companies looking to bump up the engagement of their customers. Either create your own images by hiring a professional photographer or utilize free stock images.

  1. Let Others See What Your Customers Are Saying

One of the most effective ways to highlight what your potential customers can expect from you is by providing feedback from past customers. Customer feedback is an effective tool because it provides honest words from real people who have already utilized your products or services and found their experience so phenomenal that they needed to share with others.

  1. Readability Is Key

You may have a great deal of informative and useful information throughout your website, but if it’s not easily readable, your visitors will quickly tune out. The visual setup and overall look of your website includes ensuring that all text is easily readable, no matter what device you are viewing on. Take into consideration font size, as well as style and color, to ensure that it’s legible and clear enough.

  1. Demonstrate Yourself As A Credible Source

 Getting a new customer to put their trust in you can be asking quite a lot, so you’ve got to show them that you are trustworthy and capable of what you are proposing. Online customers are increasingly skeptical about trusting new companies with their business, so you will have to earn their trust as a credible source in order to hold their engagement.

Having your customers remain engaged while navigating your website is essential in growing your online success. Start implementing these 9 hacks, and start seeing the effects of higher customer engagement and lower bounce rates.

As an expert in boosting and growing customer engagement, Emily Henry shares her knowledge as a blogger at State Of Writing. She also contributes her expertise in the subject as an assignment writer at Essay Writing Service, where she hopes to help business owners optimize the success of their businesses.

If You Have to Fire an Employee

How to Address Moral Issues That Come with Firing an Employee

There’s a good probability you’ll have to fire an employee as a manager at some time in your career.

Regardless of the reasons why you’re letting someone go or who they are, the result is usually an awkward and emotional time afterwards, especially for the employees who are staying at your business. You could possibly be left with a bunch of disappointed, sorrowful employees who are concerned about their own job security once the individual bids his farewell.

A firing or mass layoff can have a big influence on the tone of the company, and current employee morale can suffer dramatically; and as a manager is vital that you take the steps necessary to boost morale and keep it high, but how do you do something like this? In this guide, we’re going to find out.

Describe why the firing happened (as much as you legally possible)

Firstly, it’s important to remember when giving an explanation for why an employee was fired; it’s best to be cautious for legal reasons. It may not be something that can or should be discussed publicly within an organisation in some instances.

You basically want to make sure that everyone on my team was on board Explain that a line was crossed and such red line guidelines need to be understood and respected by everyone on the team.”

“You may not be able to reveal too many details about the scenario because you must respect the privacy of the dismissed employee, but you can still give employees the opportunity to express their concerns, according to Hall. Ask open-ended questions to assist employees to identify what’s bothering them in one-on-one meetings, and focus on each employee’s contribution to the team,” shares Tina Marie, a project manager at Research papers UK.

Congratulate the remaining employees on their excellent performance

“This is also an excellent moment to express gratitude to people who are contributing significantly to the organisation—as long as you do so truly,” shares Jason Harper,  a business blogger at Draft Beyond and Writinity.

Give The Fired Or Laid-off Employee The Best Possible Treatment

Offer to submit a wonderful letter of recommendation and/or be a reference for an employee who was let go as part of a layoff—and they left the company through no fault of their own.

Treat them well not only because they deserve it but also because how you treat them will reverberate among your current staff. Being treated properly can lead to empathy for both the individual and the company. Existing employees will be enraged if individuals who were let go are treated badly.

Explore and Talk About the Next Steps

During a change like this, especially in a small business, the CEO’s role is not only to explain why the choice was made but also to build a picture of what will happen next—getting employees focused on the company’s future and how it will continue to grow despite the inevitable workforce changes.

Your staff need to understand the plan, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there—sometimes without the assistance of a former teammate. The worst thing you can do is remain silent and presume your employees share your viewpoint. Keeping morale high after a staffing turnover requires open and honest communication.

Put a Smile on Your Face

Finally, try to find a way to lighten the atmosphere quickly after a layoff. One morning, bring in breakfast or coffee. Organise a lunch for the team. Lunch should be pizza. Make plans for a pleasant hour. Relax. Regroup. Refocus.

This also means you need to show compassion to the employees that have left and those who have stayed. Remember, people have families, and they work to pay their bills. You shouldn’t avoid the subject, nor should you just blank everything that’s happening or bad mouth the person who has been released. It’s about making the experience as positive as possible, even if someone has done something wrong.

Treat it as a lesson learned.

Jenny Williams is a Business analyst and writer at Paper writing service and Lucky Assignments Liverpool. She also writes for Gum Essays service blog and helps businesses to become the best versions of themselves.

Customer Loyalty Can Take Your Business to the Next Level: Here’s How to Get It

Business ownership can feel like a constant hustle, especially when you’re first starting off. Many self-employed people spend a huge portion of their time scraping together projects for the future in order to make sure they continue to have business down the line. Some of this is inevitable, but your long-term goal should include building up long-term security.

One great way to do this is by focusing on building up customer loyalty. You don’t have to scrape for more clients if you know the clients you currently have will keep using your services. There are several techniques you can use to make this happen. Here are a few tips from CrmXchange on how to nail it:

Make Time for Clients

Don’t let the basics fall to the wayside. When it comes to earning customer loyalty, your best tool is always quality time and personalized work. You need to make sure you get solid facetime (whether in person or via video) with your client in order to fully understand their needs and make the best possible product for them. Virtuallinda points out that continuous check-ins throughout the process can save you from the process going awry and lets the client know you truly care about their needs.

However, it can be hard to commit this kind of time to your clients when you’re still juggling other business tasks. If you or your staff are too hurried to feel like you can give customers the time and energy they deserve, there’s something missing elsewhere in your processes. Turn a critical eye to your everyday tasks to see if you can streamline things. If you’re stumped, you might need to hire more workers, or work on expanding your business acumen. Taking some classes can provide insights into better business practices, especially if you return to school for your MBA, which will provide deeper understanding of management, leadership and decision making.

Create Expandable Services

One major issue that might be standing in the way of customer loyalty is focusing on one-off projects. Self-contained work can be great when you’re first getting started, but it has inherent drawbacks. If you want to try to get a long-term client, try to think of ways you can offer to extend services past a project’s finish line.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer who has made a solid logo for a new business, you could allow that relationship to end once the logo’s complete. However, it may make more sense to offer social media graphic design services as ongoing work. After all, as Social Media Today notes, businesses tend to perform better on social media when they’re producing their own visual content — you can build your style into their brand and keep their business for the long run.

Remain Consistent and Professional

Customer loyalty can be challenging to build and easy to lose. It’s extremely important to remain consistent and professional, no matter how long you’ve been working with a client. It’s easy to take business relationships for granted, but doing so can backfire quickly.

For example, you might put a consistent client’s work on the back burner while tending to new leads. If you lack project management skills, this can ultimately end in neglecting your long-standing clients’ work, missing deadlines, or turning in lackluster products. Everyone has a bad day once in a while, but if you make this kind of mistake repeatedly, even long-standing clients will walk.

Customer loyalty can help you create secure and consistent income. However, it takes serious legwork to get it. These tools can help you build relationships that take your business further. And if you’re looking for services to make your business better, check out the contect from CrmXchange.

[2021 Data] 99 Customer Experience Stats & Trends Defining This Decade

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy in a variety of ways. For one, it has significantly accelerated the process of digital transformation. The number of online customer interactions went through the roof.

This has forced lots of businesses to channel their resources towards delivering better online experiences. The customer-centric approach, backed with customer data and customer satisfaction metrics, is now the new paradigm.

However, only 17% of customers believe that brands listen to their feedback. Almost one in ten customers rate their recent customer experience as poor. And, not surprisingly, poor customer service is the primary reason behind customer churn.

Tidio surveyed 1,000+ consumers to explore customer experience trends that will define this decade.

Here’s some of what they found out:

  • Delivery time – 78% of online shoppers mention fast shipping as the most critical aspect of the online shopping experience.
  • Fast customer service – 44% of shoppers expect that the average response time from customer service should be below 5 minutes.
  • 55% of online shoppers aged 18-24 won’t buy from poorly performing websites (poor product photos and slow website loading times).
  • 46% of Gen Z buyers are willing to pay more for the same product if they can shop in their favorite online store.

A complete study with a list of 99 Customer Experience Statistics & Interesting CX Trends: 99 Customer Experience Statistics & Interesting CX Trends [2021].

Prioritizing Customer Experience in Every Aspect of Your Business

“Who’s your boss?”

You might immediately think of your manager or the CEO. Or, if you own the company, you might proudly say, “Me!” However, there is someone else who is above you in the chain of command — your customers!

You might not think of your customers as the boss, but they are the reason you make money and are successful. So while you don’t necessarily have to cater to every customer’s whim, you do need to build your business around the customer experience (CX).

How do you prioritize customer experience in every aspect of your business? Let’s take a look.

Marketing

Marketing is the beginning of your relationship with any customer. The goal is to focus all of your marketing messages on the customer’s needs and how you can be the solution to those.

Donald Miller of StoryBrand takes it a step further. He says that every aspect of your marketing should be focused on telling the story of how your customer is the hero. Your business is the sidekick that will help them achieve their mission.

No matter how you go about it, it’s essential to ensure that your customers feel they are the center of your marketing message. Start with fully understanding your target market, and then speak directly to them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect with them and bring them into your circle of influence.

Your Website

Your website is part of your marketing, but we’re listing it separately because people often won’t come to your website unless you’ve already connected to them in another way.

Once your marketing brings someone to your website, what do they experience there? Having excellent UX design is an important part of not only keeping visitors engaged on your website but also ranking well in search results.

Google wants to deliver the most relevant, high-quality content available each time a user enters a query. When you have a great user experience on your website, your site will be in sync with what Google is trying to offer. As a result, you’ll rank more highly.

Review your website. Are the menus easy to read and understand? Can you navigate the website on a mobile device? Are your message and offer clear within the first few seconds? If so, you’re on the right track.

Product or Service Design

Every product or service should be designed to solve a specific problem that the customer has. The more precisely you target your product or service, the more successful you will be at selling it.

Unfortunately, some folks get tied up in what they want the design to be, rather than what the customer is looking for. They can add too many features, too little training, or create an unattractive behemoth.

Both services and products face another question. Should it be a subscription or a one-time delivery? Many businesses love subscription-based services for the consistent cash flow and retention rates. You can also offer a lower price point, which is attractive to many consumers.

However, some customers want to own what they pay for rather than feeling like they’re renting it. Only by doing the right market research will you know if your customers would prefer a subscription or ownership model.

Customer Service

You’d think that an excellent CX in customer service would be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, so many consumers have a poor customer service experience that excellent service is a selling point and can retain customers for years.

Is your customer service department an afterthought or a focus for your business? How do you treat, train, and pay customer service staff? Is the culture of your company that customers calling in are “complainers,” or do your staff focus on delighting everyone?

A lot of major corporations handsomely reward salespeople but almost ignore customer service departments. But, as it has been said, “Sales without service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes.”

Don’t make that mistake. After the sale, your relationship with the customer has only just begun. Excellent customer service can retain them, turn them into customer advocates, and boost repeat sales.

Prioritize Employees

We’ve been talking about customer experience up until now, so why mention prioritizing your employees?

Very simply, the employees you have will define the customer experience you’re able to offer. Happy, satisfied, and engaged employees will work hard to delight customers and create a world-class experience. Disengaged, unhappy, and disgruntled employees will drive customers away.

You have a great deal of control over how your company culture and how employees experience work every day. Do you add meaning to daily tasks by explaining how they fit with the mission and make a difference in others’ lives? Do you pay appropriately and have benefits that employees look for? Do you encourage career advancement and continuing education?

The better you take care of your employees, the better they will take care of your customers. That’s why the employee experience is at the center of the customer experience.

Focus on Customer Experience Today

Making customer experience a priority in every aspect of your business doesn’t happen automatically. It takes research of relevant data, focus, and a commitment to your real boss — your target market!

If you want a truly successful business, it’s essential to focus on CX. Targeted marketing will bring in the right audience, and a website focused on your customers’ needs will convert them into buyers.

Of course, to sell well you need product or service design on par with what customers expect and enjoy. Finally, excellent customer service will turn buyers into repeat customers and brand advocates.

Which of these areas needs the most attention in your company? Today’s the day to make a difference.

Getting Started With AI at Your Business

It seems like artificial intelligence is getting a lot of attention lately. You read articles about it, see presentations that cover AI and you hear about a range of products and services that now have “smart” features. 

For today’s businesses, there are a lot of options for ways AI can be used. If you are looking for the most beneficial applications, AI applied to business intelligence has a lot of potential. Using an AI-powered BI tool, businesses can streamline their analytics operations and get deeper insights.

With AI data analytics having so much to offer businesses of all sizes, more companies are looking to introduce this technology to their teams. However, many people still do now fully understand what AI can do for their data and what they might need to do to start using AI.

What can AI do for analytics?

You probably already know what AI is: it is the science of making smart machines. With powerful AI systems, machines can be taught or programmed to perform complex tasks that used to require the intelligence of a human. Data analysis happens to be one of the tasks that AI performs well at.

With enough data, an AI algorithm can find meaningful patterns and relationships in the data. In many cases, AI systems can even learn as it is exposed to more data. This means that it can get smarter and better at its job the more it works.

As it concerns business applications, you could feed all of your business data to the AI-powered analytics tool. With automated analysis, it can find insights that might benefit a business in a number of ways. It might find waste in your operation, a missed revenue opportunity, a trend in the market, a group of customers that could be valuable or any number of things.

Even beyond insights about the past and present, AI can work well for forecasting. Using predictive analytics, the AI builds models based on historical data. It then runs data about the current condition to predict what may happen in the future. Many of these systems can even run various solutions or actions a business could take to respond to the prediction through the model to help leaders find the right path forward.

In the past, all of these functions required the skills of a data scientist. Not only that, it would often take an analytics team weeks to perform these functions. With AI applied to analytics, it can make data science teams more efficient and it can also offer some of these insights to people who do not have the skills of a data scientist.

The Implementation of AI 

Introducing AI to your business is not as simple as buying an AI analytics platform and feeding it some data. You need to take some time to assess the needs of your business and determine the goals you are trying to achieve.

Depending on the type of business you run and the goals you have, different analytics tools might work better for helping you reach your goals. You will need to find the right analytics tools and determine the types of resources your business will need to support those tools. 

Once you have the tools, it is not as simple as turning them loose on your company and its data. You are going to need to train employees on using the tools and make sure they understand how you expect them to use the tools. Make sure employees have the training they need and brief them on the types of goals you want them to achieve when they use them.

You might also need to spend a little time promoting the use of the tools. Some employees might not take to the tools as quickly as others. Teach employees about the benefits of using analytics tools and the ways AI can help them perform better at their jobs. Employees will be more likely to embrace the use of AI when they understand the benefits and have the training they need.

AI can be a valuable tool when businesses implement it in the right way. Making data-driven decisions can be a way to put your business ahead of the competition, and with features like predictive analytics, your business can be prepared for the future. For many businesses, their ability to adopt AI and integrate it with their operations will be the difference between success and failure.

Why the Customer Service Industry Needs to Embrace Virtual Reality

When it comes to customer service, the industry is in a major shift to more digital tools and features. While you can still hop on the phone and call someone for help, the customer service industry is embracing technology and new channels of enhanced experience unlike ever before.

One of the most promising areas of expansion for customer service companies is virtual reality. While the exciting technology might not sound like it’s a natural fit for the world of customer service, utilizing a VR app to provide an expanded customer service experience is proving to be a major boost for companies coming out of the pandemic and planning for the future. Here’s why the industry needs to embrace virtual reality as a new norm. 

The Future of Customer Service is Contactless

When we think of exceptional customer service, our minds tend to go to a begotten time of face-to-face specialized and personalized experiences. While the personal touch is certainly an influential aspect of customer service in 2021, the in-person experience is no longer a necessary element to a great interaction. Much of customer service is going contactless. Thanks to things like chat features and in-browser phone service, most of our experiences take place virtually nowadays. 

Still, the chat boxes and phone calls lack the certain personalized experience we still crave. This is where virtual reality fits in quite nicely for the needs of the customer service industry. A large number of industries that rely on customer service elements can benefit from embracing VR. By using virtual rooms to interact with customers, companies are able to build a more meaningful connection in these interactions and arrive at conclusions or solutions more quickly. 

WIth virtual spaces, we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything as a consumer. You’re still able to get a face-to-face experience that is embedded in a digital environment that offers easy access to tools and resources that might be related to the inquiry or question at hand. Likewise, VR provides companies an option for proactive customer service that can enhance shopping and searching interactions in a big way.

Offering More Options to Users for Proactive Customer Service

Customer service in the digital world is more than just fielding complaints and questions. VR offers companies the option to enhance the customer experience as a means of providing better service. Everything from virtual reality spaces for digital showrooms to using VR to interact with products from home can help make customers feel more knowledgeable and prepared to make a purchase. 

Believe it or not, the brick and mortar experience we value for being a superior standard for customer interactions can be recreated to great effect in the virtual reality space. Customers love VR peripherals for shopping. New options like Walmart’s VR shopping experience can mimic the best parts of in-person interactions between customers and a business but provide the additional benefits of digital technology.

The best of both worlds is possible for customers thanks to VR customer enhancements. The same goes for employees who also play a vital role in the customer service process. 

Building a Better Customer Experience By Enhancing Employee Satisfaction with VR

Lastly, it’s worth noting that great customer service is only possible when employees are satisfied and fulfilled with their working experience. VR’s impact on employee satisfaction within customer service can be just as impactful as focusing on what the customer needs. 

When it comes to using VR to focus on employees, things like putting these advanced tools in their hands can increase their effectiveness. These resources help to give employees more solutions at their disposal to ensure they’re set up for success. By doing this, you’re not only taking advantage of the points listed above that focus on the customer experience. Employees that have access to VR for their roles in the customer engagement process are better suited to uphold a company’s values and vision for great service. 

Utilizing VR in customer service is a vital step in the evolution of what the industry is capable of accomplishing. Making steps now to embrace the technology means putting a new standard on the treatment and service of industries that spread across all of the working and professional world. 

Top Takeaways from the 2nd Annual GigCX Report

By Megan Neale, COO & Co-founder, Limitless

For all the bad that it’s done, the pandemic has actually created a wave of digital transformation, and companies have been forced to explore innovative new ways they may not have done otherwise. This was certainly apparent in the findings from our second annual GigCX report, which was based on research from gig customer service (or ‘GigCX’) freelance experts in 34 countries, covering six continents and six languages. The report also features interviews from 15 global customer experience leaders from the likes of Microsoft, Genesys, Infosys, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and Sage.

The research revealed that COVID-19 is leading to increased volume in gig customer service demand, and that CX leaders feel embedding more flexible customer service models in today’s frameworks is absolutely essential. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and both the GigCX experts and CX leaders identified many other trends in customer service and experience, many of which have occurred as a result of the dramatically changed business landscape we’re seeing as we navigate the pandemic.

  1. Empathy is everything

During the pandemic in particular, we’ve seen just how much empathy matters in a customer experience situation, when speaking to people who have experienced times of extreme difficulty, or life changing circumstances. Connectedness is more important than ever, and throughout the research and interviews, the emphasis on empathy and the human connection was mentioned time and time again.

What was fascinating were the descriptors the leaders used in describing the evolving human connection we’re seeing today in the customer experience. ‘Enjoyability’, ‘Enthusiasm’, and ‘Grace’ were words they used frequently as they described the importance of humans relating to humans to build a better and more empathic customer experience.

  1. Digital dignity and the ‘GoodGig’ are on the agenda

Regardless of whether companies have in-house customer service call centers, outsourced call centers, or use GigCX or any other number of customer service channels, CX leaders were passionate about the fact that their companies value the humans providing customer service and a good customer experience for their brands. The phrase ‘digital dignity’ was used by one senior CX leader, and the idea of the ‘GoodGig’ was discussed in several conversations.

It’s a timely thought that should be at the forefront of mind as we see the dramatic rise of the gig over the last few years. CX leaders are monitoring the treatment of gig agents under the microscope both from the customers being served by them, and the governments responsible for protecting them.

Interestingly, the report research revealed that 85% of agents feel that GigCX has helped improve their mental wellbeing during the pandemic, and 76% felt that GigCX has introduced them to new skills that will help them in their career such as communication, problem solving, and time management.

  1. Peer to peer engagement is what matters the most

Again and again, CX leaders identified peer engagement and peer customer service as a top trend. Having like-minded peers putting their heads together to deliver honest answers surrounding products and services is a powerful combination.

Simply put, people, more often than not, want advice and answers from people who have hands-on experience. People who have been loyal customers, and who have used products and services for years.

  1. Asynchronous messaging is becoming more mainstream

One digital shift that many CX leaders mention was over the past year which is also driving asynchronous messaging. Forty per cent of the CX leaders interviewed said they saw an increase in customer service demand coming for async messaging tools. As one CX expert explained, asynchronous messaging may also see a boost from GigCX:

 “Asynchronous messaging will see a boost with GigCX as you could have an agent anywhere that works 15 minutes here, an hour there, two minutes an hour later, and still do their day job at the same time as serving the customer. Asynchronous works much better for someone who works eight hours in a row. And for the customer, it means they can do their entire journey with one person to maintain rapport and consistency.”

  1. There are new KPIs in town

While all CX experts agreed that traditional customer service KPIs surrounding quality and cost are still critical, there are new KPIs that are equally important.

Customer Success now means redesigning the CX journey so that customers see value at every step. It’s about proactively engaging with the customer before they need help, and making that engagement opportunity continual, so that it doesn’t just happen when it’s time to submit a customer service query.

Customer Lifetime Value is another.  It focuses on the personal connection and relationship with a customer, looking at how a long future relationship may transpire.

These are just a few of the takeaways in this year’s report. For further information, download the 2021 Annual Gig Customer Service Report is available for download here: https://www.limitlesstech.com/gig-customer-service-2021/

Call Center Training – What Do Agents Need?

Guest Blogger: Mark Pereira

When I started training over a decade ago, we had these colossal training binders filled with tons of technical material, most of which we didn’t even need to know, and several pages discussed features that our project didn’t even have. Trainees would come in, and after a few days, a class of eight or ten would turn into a class of two. And after a week or two, those trainees disappeared into thin air.

I took it on as a goal to not lose a single trainee during class – either through dropouts or failing the final exam.

I knew to stop overwhelming trainees before class could start, we had to put these training binders on an aggressive dose of Hydroxycut to get them lean.

My manager was very understanding. She gave me time off the phones to remove the 86-page user manual on our customer relationship management (CRM) system and convert it into a 40-slide instructional PowerPoint presentation. The presentation listed out the steps which trainees could use to make or change plan enrollments and, lastly, document calls.

The next thing was condensing the 30 to 40-page sections on the company’s history and health insurance. To this day, I’ve never had a caller ask an agent about the history of health insurance, so the module on the history of health insurance was reduced to two slides and the history of the company to three slides.

Further, instead of having lengthy manuals that discussed each program, we had four. I converted these into PowerPoint slides – providing the class precisely what they needed to be successful on the calls. Removing information that spoke about the history of the program, demographics, and so on, emphasizing details such as eligibility criteria, time durations for enrollments, health plan choices, etc.

Next question, was it worth it? Yes, I achieved my goal of successfully reducing the size of the training binder and engaging the class to the point that they were able to transition successfully onto the calls. I created several job aids and quick reference guides (QRGs), such as guidelines to ensure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) practices were followed on every call before protected health information (PHI) or personal identifiable information (PII) could be released. By simplifying instructions, agents clearly understand the call center’s expectations, and we were, in turn, able to reduce HIPAA violations by 80%.

The time spent covering these lengthy manuals into PowerPoint slides, QRGs, and jobs was invested into practice sessions, role-playing, and mentoring, the elements that help to value a training class.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before practicing a lean mindset while reviewing training:

  • What do we do in our call center? And do we need this?
  • Is this something that the trainee needs to know to understand what we do?
  • Is this understandable and as simple as it can get for the trainee to transfer to their job?
  • Can I make it even simpler for my class by adding examples or stories?

Suppose you have a hard time answering the above questions. Take a moment to get onto the call center floor, ask your agents and trainees questions such as the common types of calls you receive, etc. Identify how agents assist callers, what resources they find helpful, and what struggles they will face, and so on.

Call center training can sometimes be filled with information that we would like the class to know, but I’ve noticed that it should be retained or retained in small quantities only if it adds value to the educational objectives and ensures a smooth transition to what they need to know in order to be successful taking calls. 

The main goal to call center training is easy transferability from what is taught in the classroom to the agent being able to use the information on the phones. Further, introduce and educate agents on tools they can use to assist caller’s inquiries such as job aids, presentation slides, QRGs, intranet, chat, and so on. All of these steps and resources will help to reduce average handle time (AHT), hold time, agent frustration, and in turn, turnover.