The global pandemic has changed the way we live, work and do business. Ross Daniels at Calabrio believes now is the time for organisations to plan their pandemic escape route. Here, he kickstarts the road to recovery with three tips on how to turn your agents into brand ambassadors
When the Enterprise Research Centre surveyed 1,000 companies across the UK in 2020, the results were enlightening and somewhat heartening. While many firms saw their turnover fall by 42% and employment levels drop by 30%, others managed to grow despite COVID-19. Surprisingly a fifth (21%) of respondents saw positive impacts of the pandemic with 17% citing the ‘greater embrace of digital technology has significantly changed their business model’. Meanwhile, organisational priorities have changed with ‘new processes’ (72%) and ‘digital technologies’ (65%) topping the list followed closely by ‘entering new markets’ and introducing ‘new products and services’ for 55% and 53% of companies respectively. (i)
Meanwhile, in a recent study of UK organisations, McKinsey talks about the importance of ‘agile resilience’. Taking lessons from COVID-19, these resilient organisations share 5 common characteristics including ‘developing a culture that empowers people’ and ‘provides people with technology they need.’ (ii)
So, what steps can all organisations take to succeed in the New or Next Normal? What can contact centres do to capitalise on massive shifts in consumer beliefs and behaviours? How do technologies such as the cloud, long considered an emerging part of the modern customer service experience, become increasingly vital for ‘agile resilience’? These are fundamental questions that we set out to explore in our latest Recovery Accelerator Kit EBook, outlining a set of modern tools and templates for winning customer loyalty and growing market share post-COVID.
Turn contact centre representatives into brand ambassadors
A successful path to recovery starts from within. Follow this three-point plan to prepare frontline agents and other customer-facing staff:
1. Make your brand story part of the thought process
By helping agents to internalise your organisation’s brand story so it becomes second-nature when interacting with customers, whatever the channel. Start with good training for new recruits as well as experienced members of the team. Make the brand story an intrinsic part of the New Joiner process then reinforce the message by weaving it into regular group communications and virtual team-meets. Applying a strong brand story in conversations, at every opportunity, will deepen staff and customer engagement. It encourages agents to share best-practice learning while demonstrating to customers that your organisation cares and delivers true value.
2. Articulate the perfect brand story
As a team, discuss, discover and then articulate what your brand story really means. Working with those on the frontline, managers can quickly formulate a brand story that agents can be proud of while providing a unique competitive differentiator that makes your organisation stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself: “What drives us?”, “How do we make the world better?”, “How do we improve our customers’ lives?”, “What is our vision for the future?” and “What are our core values?” When answering these questions, always consider the customer’s perspective.
There are many ways to turn agents into brand ambassadors using your very own brand story. One of the most engaging and effective methods is gamification and this works well when agents are spread across multiple locations or increasingly, working from home. Like anything, there are right ways and wrong ways to implement and maintain a successful gamification strategy. The best gamification initiatives connect to corporate goals and are both competitive and collaborative. Make prizes meaningful – there is little use handing out gift cards for restaurants agents are unable to visit so why not consider a membership for Amazon Prime or a subscription to Netflix? Finally, gamification must be motivational, offering badges for the winners to share their brand story successes – and learning – with others while boosting morale.
With the Government’s plans for easing the lockdown on the horizon, now is the time to plan your own pandemic escape route. From re-understanding your best customers, to creating consistent multi-channel experiences and mastering the art of the Cloud, Calabrio’s latest eBook offers a variety of tools and techniques to prepare for the critical post-COVID phase.