I was working on a blog about ‘the digital transformation of business’ this morning. I usually mull the topic around a lot before I sit down to put words on a page. This morning, before I started writing, an article popped up via LinkedIn that caught my eye. I had no idea it would relate to my topic of ‘Digital Transformation in Business’ but I was still in the mulling over phase so I was easily distracted. Good thing. The article, “Three Steps to Convert Loyal Customers into Enthusiastic Customer Advocates” by Don Peppers was very interesting and timely. I was first drawn to it because the article’s “Step Two: DemonstrateTrust’” is, actually, the first step in our 5-step process we’ve been using since Unified started 8 years ago. We will talk more about that in another blog because that’s not the part that relates to Digital Transformation in Business. It was Pepper’s “Step Three: Be Human” that ties into my topic today. Okay, so digital transformation sounds about as far from human as possible, right? Bear with me here.
An In-depth Look At Don Peppers’ Article With Technology and The Customer Experience
In his article, Peppers says this…
Sometimes, when customers do choose to go to the trouble of personally engaging or interacting with a company, what they want most is simply empathy or understanding, or maybe some hand-holding or commiseration. And these aims can only really be achieved by making some sort of human connection. To deliver that connection, to create true customer advocacy, you need to maximize the effectiveness of the human-to-human element, while also minimizing its cost (by using technology to eliminate friction).
BINGO. He says it right there. Use technology to eliminate friction. The author goes on to say…
This means that in addition to designing all your interactions from the customer’s own perspective, you have to seek out, hire, and develop talented people who can make these interactions and experiences emotionally engaging and memorable for the customer. And once you have them, augment their capabilities with the right automation, tools, and support to be able to deliver your humanity at scale.
Bam. There it is. Augment their capabilities with the right automation, tools, and support… And he’s not done yet. He continues with…
So if you’re really serious about creating customer advocates, then start by focusing on the success of your employees, especially your frontline workers. Demonstrate the same care and empathy for them that you want them to show for your customers. Take pains to make sure they aren’t unnecessarily distracted by their own problems. Because to a customer, the frontline employee they talk to or chat with – that frontline employee is your company.
As great as your frontline employees are, they can get distracted and tied up with issues that could be handled automatically.
Help the Frontline, Help the Customer Experience
You have to give your frontline time to work with the customers that need them. Give them time to empathize, understand and assist the customers calling in. To do that, you need to give them more time to handle those delicate calls. If you take away the callers who just want an answer to the same question 10 other customers want; if you automate your database so that customer with the problem is answered not just by your staff but by your staff that is armed with the customer’s information before they answer the call, you’re giving your front line a better chance of making a memorable impact and in turn creating an enthusiastic customer. And you’re doing that with digital transformation. Digital transformation lets humans interact with humans, machines interact with humans, and machines interact with machines.
This whole idea was brought to us by Mitel’s Eric Bowling at a seminar we recently hosted on Digital Transformation. He gave example after example of companies that completely changed the way they did business by automating processes in one way or another. The whole time Eric was talking about how other companies were using digital automation to improve the way they conducted their business, I kept trying to figure out how this digital automation could make a difference in our company. If you care at all about your company and your customers, you can’t help but think about how you could make the customer (and employee) experience better. Most of our staff has been working with companies and their communications equipment for decades. We’ve seen it all and we know what’s out there in the way of new technology. It costs nothing to meet with us. Let us learn your business, explore what you’re using today and see if there isn’t a way to digitally transform your business processes to improve your customers’ experience, your employees’ experience, or even your bottom line.
Stay tuned for much more on the subject.
To read the entire article on Enthusiastic Customer Advocates, click here. To learn more about this subject, come to our upcoming seminar – click here to register.