In an increasingly Virtualised world – People Crave Personal Contact
I thought I’d do a short blog today on something that has it’s roots in the fundamental drivers of Service Change in the UK, and globally. Namely how critical it is now to build Brand Empathy with Customers through your Colleagues. In my view the only time you don’t need to do this (although even in these rare cases, your colleagues won’t thank you for it, as you’ll just be making life so much less enjoyable for them) is if you exist in a monopoly market.›
The reason for sharing this now is because we were asked to do a thought leadership bit at a Forum Events Call Centre Seminar in London this year to share our view on Smart Contact Solutions, and the model we presented (shown below) gives a good view of where, in my view, your thinking needs to be if you want to be competitive over the coming years.
Fig: 1 Scope Of Smart Contact Solutions
This model is an extract/summary of a short 30-45 minute presentation we did. I’m more than happy to share with anyone who wants to get in touch – Just mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. But the basis is you need to create a simple, easily understood, but compelling Business Purpose – which you can execute seamlessly across any channel a consumer wants, but making the use of all the intelligence and insight available to do so with a Cost To Serve model that keeps you making money.
Which you do by taking advantage of the latest web enabled technologies blended with ‘live’ insight into what your customers are thinking and doing – This last bit is all about data modelling, location, channel, value and emotional need base response capability. Don’t think channel. Think what is the Customer trying to do to give me their money, and what am I doing to help them spend it with me instead of a competitor!
Brand Empathy Is The Route To Value Add
And Adding Value is what separates the winners from the losers in competitive market places. Why? Well because value add in this context is the difference between what something costs to make, and the price you are selling it for. And the best way to add value is to move someone from rational (facts & figures) NEED based buying decision, to an emotional (makes me feel good) WANT mindset. This broadly translates into paying YOU more for something, which equates to better sales/margin/company longevity ergo salary, employment etc.
The thing about starting this virtual circle (often called customer loyalty) is that by far the best way of doing it is by people dealing with people like themselves. Which, given many companies are spending an awful lot of time trying to automate service/contact out of existence, is a bit of a conundrum.
More Of Less – Not Less Of More
So back to Fig 1. Which sets out the stall you need to consider if you are trying to deal with Customers in the way they want to, which is seamlessly, intelligently, intuitively across channels and over extended time periods. Do this and you will demonstrate that you can add value to their lives, and they will buy more from you for longer. But what do we mean by More of Less?
Put simply this means that you need to leverage the technology, channels and insight available today, so that across all the touch points a Customer can have, you are capable of (irrespective of what channel, or time, or location) enabling a Customer to ‘deal’ with a real person when they want/need to. A Colleague who is going to intuitively serve the bits of the brand to the Customer that adds the greatest value to that interaction, at that point in time, and as importantly in the wider context of all the dealings the customer has had with the brand.
The rest of the time, open your brand & channels up to a Customer so they can get what they want, how they want, when they want – You focus on the high value adding emotional contact. Which for most customers is something they only need at very specific and limited times when they are trying to give you their money.