Is There Such Thing as Customer Nurturing in the Call Center?

Customer service is a big part of any business, and in many, the core and backbone of the business.  Nurturing the customer is something of a new term often used to nurture the leads who then become customers.  But what about the idea of nurturing the existing customer in order to keep them happy?

This idea came to me, and I had to explore it further.  Perhaps I haven’t invented the wheel, but maybe I can help to tweak it to something better.

I spoke to Keith Evans of myus.com, a shipping company based in the USA who deal with customers on  adaily basis to make sure they have received their package.  “We treat every customer as if he or she is our CEO’s best friend. This is the approach our CEO set out when he founded the company, and we make every effort to adhere to this philosophy.
If customers doesn’t know how to do something, we teach them: In one-off situations, we teach the customer through email or live chat.  If several customers have the same or similar questions, Customer Service managers work with the Communications department to develop FAQs, blog posts, newsletter items, instructional videos and any other resources that may help customers grasp complicated concepts.”

Certainly an interesting approach that I believe helps them to keep customers happy.  Customers are important and if that means we need to tell customers, then why not.

Customer service expert, Barry Maher, www.barrymaher.com had some great insight into this matter.  “Make people feel important. Every company in the world knows customers are important, yet, as customers, how important do we feel when dealing with these companies? Often isn’t it more like that infamous phone message, because we value your business, please continue to hold. With all the talk about customer service, with all the blather about customer centric companies, making people feel important is still the easiest and the cheapest way to differentiate your business from the competition.”

Barry firmly agrees that customers are important and by nurchuring them you keep them happy.

I had the opportunity to speak with Len Linton, CEO of 1NWContact, and she has some ideas of how to do it right, because she feels nurchuring is the way to success.  “Nurturing is everything in today’s enlightened Contact Center.  This was not the case a couple of years ago. Companies outsourced call center work to save money. They measured the call center on Average Handle Time which meant that the metric for success was keeping the call in a narrow time band. Those days are long gone and even the Contact Center management is pleased. There is a growing trend to bringing outsourced call center work back to the USA because US-based agents nurture calls better than a CSR with a language barrier. It is all about rapport and having the right information in front of a well-trained CSR who really wants to go a good job! “

Perhaps the language barrier was the reason why outsourcing didn’t work, not only because the heavy accents or the culture difference, but outsourcing doesn’t bring customer nurturing.  These agents are not connected with the customer, but maybe with results.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not putting down outsourced call centers, but perhaps bringing them back to the USA says something about the overall experience.

Paul Shockey, Sr. Director, Customer Care, NIIT Media Technologies explains his experiences with call center nurturing.  “Yes this is certain. We have developed our call flow process to ask discovery questions of our customers and find what matters most to them in regards with our product. This develops and strengthens the trust between the caller and the agent. Through these questions we are able to determine if they have the correct product and if not, based on what matters most to them, move them to the product that fits their needs (whether it a cheaper or more expensive product – the end result is for them to be happy), thereby satisfying the customer and in turn, providing them with an experience that they will share with others. “

We can see, and from speaking with these people in the industry, we see that nurturing is somewhat vital to customer success!  Long term retention of the customers is important to the business, and we need to adopt this culture in order to make the customer happy for a long time coming.

 

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Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe