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Every organization recognizes the importance of good customer service, but it’s how they approach it that makes the difference between exceeding and merely meeting expectations.
There’s an old song with a chorus that ran as follows:
“It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it –
That’s what gets results”
Ella Fitzgerald sang that song a lifetime ago, and it’s as true today as when it was written. It’s particularly applicable to that most important of present business considerations – customer experience.
Every organization recognizes the importance of good customer service, but it’s how they approach it that makes the difference between exceeding and merely meeting expectations. If companies do what’s expected, they’ve ticked the box – but if they do more than this, if they demonstrate thoughtfulness and the ability to translate that insight into prompt useful action they’ll not only satisfy the need but foster loyalty and enhance the brand.
Technology can make a real difference: for instance, an intelligent customer service contact center solution that is fully integrated into a comprehensive CRM platform will mean that every encounter with customers can be informed by an understanding of their individual needs, purchase histories and preferences.
Odigo is a good example. It’s a smart customer interaction management platform that gives agents the information they need to handle callers’ queries and that’s integrated into CRM systems to provide an immediate and comprehensive view of each customer for a personalized experience.
But even this level of technology is only part of the answer. It’s what you do with it that counts.
Here’s an example. Darty is one of France’s largest electronic retailers and has always prided itself in providing great customer service and after-sales support. The blue-and-yellow branding of its service vehicles is a familiar sight on French streets.
Working with Odigo, the retailer has extended the scope of the service it provides not just by making full use of smart technology – in other words, by innovating – but by thinking from the customer’s perspective. In 2014 the company launched ‘Le Bouton Darty’ – the ‘Darty Button.’ Available first as a physical button and now a downloadable app, it puts the Darty logo on the consumers’ smartphones, tablets and laptops. If they touch it, a Darty representative calls back in less than a minute. “How may I help you?” Agents can assist with product set-up queries, technical problems and more. But here’s the clincher: Darty provides this service even for products that are out of warranty – and even for products that were bought elsewhere.
In other words, they’ve put themselves in the shoes of a person with, let’s say, a misbehaving food processor. They’ve imagined this person faced with the prospect of wondering whether it’s still in warranty, not knowing where the receipt may be and unsure even where it was bought. And they’ve given this person a button to press that solves the problem.
In fact, the button app can go further. It can create a video link to a Darty representative, so the customer can use the camera to show the problem to the agent who can then take over the screen, point with a cursor and say, “You see this here? Try turning this.” The agent can also take control of camera to snap a photo and draws an arrow, for example, to provide further instructions.
The facility is built into the company’s customer service metrics which records about seven million calls per year: every week Darty’s senior team review individual cases and review processes and outcomes to check everything is working as well in practice as it does in theory.
Taking technology and using it to extend your own definition of good customer service – that’s what makes a difference. This positive and customer-centred thinking has created long-term brand associations for Darty, so it’s perhaps no surprise that this week ‘Le Bouton Darty’ has been named a winner of the Aecus Innovation Awards 2016.
It’s not hard to see how other companies might take not just the same technology but the same insight and use it in their own engagement with customers. For example, insurance companies might provide a similar video-linked facility so a customer calling in with a burst pipe can show the agent that there is indeed water damage and that the situation is urgent. A clothes retailer might use it to see that yes, a product has been mislabelled and a jacket purchased online is in fact several sizes larger than the one ordered.
In short, technology can create personalized, on-demand access and enable organizations to make actionable decisions based on analytics. But that’s only the base layer. What takes it to the next level is when organizations like Darty take this technology and work with partners who share their ‘customer-first’ mindset; when they use it to reinforce their customer service values; and when it becomes a means of putting control into the hands of those customers, creating undreamed-of levels of positive brand association.
That’s what gets results.
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