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The other day at work, I went from feeling really stressed and overly-busy to happy and relaxed in the course of an hour. This may sound like the start of a blog post about workplace stress reducers. Please stay with me. The stress reducing activity was unexpected. Surprisingly, the activity that prompted my feeling so good was a seemingly tedious task to call 17 business unit clients about the shipping status of their orders (unplanned on a very busy day and on top of our regular system for updating clients). It was a high exposure project with a deadline and we needed to go the extra mile. What happened in that hour was surprising. I shifted from stressed and uptight to feeling inexplicably great, happy and relaxed. I reflected on the 17 calls. How had they made me “feel”?
I had been the recipient of a well-crafted, thoughtful customer experience and it made me feel good, relaxed and happy after 17 consistent phone calls. People (humans) answered the phone and they were warm, friendly and polite in a way that made me feel they wanted to be talking to me. What literally stopped me in my tracks was that as I was introducing myself quickly (so as not to waste anyone’s time), the person answering said, “Hi, how are you, Leslie?” I was stunned and slowed down to say, “I’m well thank you. How are you?” Then I asked to speak to our client contact and when she said she’d connect me, I thanked her to which she said, “your are welcome”. All of this in about 45 seconds. When I spoke to the client contact, it happened again –the warm welcome, and appreciation for the information I was sharing. Another thank you followed at the end of that call. I continued this for close to an hour. I noticed that the Headquarters office answered for the Business unit office when they were not able to catch their phone and another warm, upbeat welcoming human was equally as hospitable. At this point you may wonder why I’m writing about this as if it’s magic. It’s not magic of course, but it’s incredibly rare. This brand understands that people who call them are guests in there experience.
When I did reach a few voice mails, the automated system announced that I could “at any time” say the name of the person I wanted to reach. What? No pressing the phone pad to spell out a name? I could interrupt the long message – awesome.
I began to understand what was happening. This brand had figured out that when consumers DO decide to reach out by phone, that means they really need/want to talk to a human, and preferably someone who is genuinely happy to hear from them. Auto-attendants for the most part make us “feel” that the company would really rather we engage online and use self-serve options. This brand made me feel that they wanted to hear from me, and I think that consumers who find it most convenient to call them will reward them handsomely for being thoughtful about their need to communicate with a human via phone.
Here are the small but very significant details about the happy and warm humans, that made me go from stressed and uptight about my unscheduled hour of shipping update calls to genuinely relaxed and happy for the rest of the day.
- Humans answer the phone and sound like they like their job and they like you and are happy to hear from you. Someone has hired naturally hospitable people or trained people to act hospitably. Likely it’s both.
- This brand understands that people in the age of technology who make a phone call really want a human and they have gone to the trouble to deploy Headquarters team members to answer the phone when a Business unit office can’t cover their own.
- The simple step of investing in voice-activated “speak the name” rather than spell out the name on your key pad, is a recognition of the fact that people who make a call really want to speak to someone. If you use voice mail, you need let them know you are happy for the contact by reducing the pain and torture of automated attendants.
How are you hard-wiring customer experience design in your company? What are the small but significant details that underpin your unique brand experiences? How does your brand make people feel?
In our company, we have created a written inventory of brand touch points to which we then apply 3 experience filters. We want to embed company behaviors and processes that make people feel that, in every single brand touch, they are Welcomed, that we Value them and that they Matter to us. There is always room for improvement, and the commitment to thinking about how people feel, means that if we fall short, we know about it fast and we can quickly address it to improve the experience going forward.
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Cheers! Leslie Bridges, Chief Blogger
Our blog is sponsored by Builder Promotions, Inc., is a complete solution of builder-centric branded products and print collateral that support the entire new home buyer journey. Our products help deliver customer experiences.
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