Making emotional connections versus simply transactions is key to success in contact centers

Hand-Rich-174By Rich Hand, RCDA Consultant

Millions of transactions take place in contact centers every day. However, every customer call is an opportunity to not only conduct a transaction but also to make an emotional connection with the customer. Unfortunately, in too many centers you find an emotionless transaction. This can have the outcome a customer wanted, but it doesn’t make a personal, lasting connection.

Over the past few years, I have been involved in call centers where we have been training and promoting Robert C. Davis and Associates’ Quality Conversation approach and methodology. One of the key components we share in our programs is the value of making an emotional connection with customers, and it starts with taking a genuine interest in their wants, interests and needs (WINs).

Sales lifts and commitment to the techniques

In our experience, the power of the emotional connection drives sales lifts from three to 15 percent. It  never fails to out-produce a transactional sale. When site leadership and agents commit to use the techniques we train, the results are outstanding! Some agents have told me, “I can’t believe how easy it is to connect with customers when I follow these steps.”

Greeting and attitude

It all starts with a genuine greeting. When a potential customer calls, the greeting is critical in setting the tone of the call. If agents don’t nail the greeting, every time and on every call, it will impact sales numbers negatively.

Regardless of the customer’s attitude, the agent’s attitude sets the tone of the call. I have observed this phenomenon hundreds of times where the agent gets a call from a difficult or defensive customer and immediately loses control of the call by matching the customer’s attitude. This is almost always fatal to the call, and if it isn’t, it takes twice the work to recover from this mistake.

Full discovery

The second technique we train is to ask questions, to conduct full discovery.

When we train agents, we emphasize that the customer’s first response to the greeting reveals valuable information, and the art of listening to that response to develop the fuall discovery process is critical to the successful outcome of the call. If an agent chooses to simply follow a script, the customer immediately assesses that the agent is not listening and therefore does not care. It becomes a transaction. The key is to listen attentively, take genuine interest and then ask relevant questions to conduct full discovery.

Opening the door

Let me share an example of what I mean. The customer calls, and right after the greeting says: “I am calling in for my elderly mom to set her up on your service.” If your agents are following a script and don’t acknowledge this statement they are simply conducting a transaction. The response that creates the connection is something like, “Thank you for calling in! It is so nice of you to help your elderly mom. She has a great daughter in you!” It may seem simple, but too many agents don’t take the time to make the connection. Once this connection is made, it opens the door to asking follow-up questions to discover additional facts about the customer that empower agents to match solutions to the customer’s WINs. At RCDA we train agents how to make these connections not only at the beginning of the call but all throughout the Quality Conversation, using product or service features and tying them with you-centered bridges to benefits that tie to the customer WINs.

This process is very effective in any call center environment, B2C and B2B, regardless of the call types being handled – sales, retention, customer service or tech support.

The difference between the just the transaction and the Quality Conversation is not only financially successful, it is personally satisfying for the agents. The often say, “I feel like I am really making a difference for my customers when I make a personal connection.”

Based on our experience in the field, you will increase job satisfaction for your agents, improve your customer experience and drive revenue higher by making emotional connections versus simply having transactions with your customers – by engaging in The Quality Conversation.

Learn more about The Quality Conversation. Request your free copy of The Quality Conversation book by RCDA founder, president and CEO Bob Davis. Simply email your request to bob@robertcdavis.net.