Customer Experience 2014: How to Influence and Win Customers


Bookmark and Share

NEW YORK—Sincerity, simplification, and valuing people are a few of the key ingredients for building trust and loyalty, according to keynote speaker Garrison Wynn, who kicked off the first day of the colocated CRM Evolution, Customer Service Experience, and SpeechTEK conferences Monday at the Marriott Marquis hotel.

Wynn, author of The Real Truth About Success: What the Top 1% Do Differently, Why They Won't Tell You and How You Can Do It Anyway and founder of management skills consulting firm Wynn Solutions, discussed the skills needed to be an influential business leader, skills also critical to engaging customers and running a successful contact center.

While common wisdom dictates that a company's goal is to satisfy people, thus building loyalty, "customer satisfaction does not and never has created customer loyalty," according to Wynn. "You can give people exactly what they want and they can jump to someone else."

Speaking about his experiences working in the trenches of the contact center world, Wynn acknowledged that in his climb up the corporate ladder, he was dominating and controlling to the point that he earned a nasty nickname from his employees. "I learned an important lesson," he said. "You need to listen, and acknowledge how your behavior affects other people."

Although influencers may judge a person or situation, it's important to follow up with an open mind. "We judge people all the time, and we judge our customers," Wynn said. "A big lesson is that everyone in life knows something you don't. Even if you think that they're wrong...do you want to be right or effective?" According to Wynn, 1 percent of influencers don't even use the word wrong but say instead, "I may disagree with you, but I'm listening." Listening is a request for information. It begins to build rapport and that is the beginning of trust, he added.

"Your customers need to know that their existing knowledge...is valued," he said. "You have to make sure the customer gets what he wanted and is given the choices he feels he deserves. Even an automated call agent and verification system has to make the customer feel valuable. For example, how quickly can you get [callers] through the system?"

People who feel heard within the first 30 to 90 seconds [of speaking with you] will automatically trust you if you listen to them, giving you that much more influence, Wynn said. "In the call center, what you say makes a difference."

The notion of feeling heard even shows up in IVRs, Wynn explained. If callers feel that they are listened to as they're prompted through the system, they will be more engaged with the product. As far out as that sounds, Wynn stated that some customers will even stay with the same product or service regardless of measurable, tangible results, simply due to the fact that they feel heard. "As simple as it sounds, it shows up in all research," he continued. "People don't choose what's best, they choose what they're comfortable with."

If listening builds trust, then the principles of being sincere, believable, and making someone feeling valued are not far behind. People cannot be influential, Wynn explained, if they believe that everyone has a different agenda. According to his research, all humans have the exact same agenda, and that includes sincerity. "They want to know: Are you real or not?" he said.

Additionally, Wynn believes that you cannot be a good influencer if you aren't keeping things simple. As an example, he said that most people don't read the New York Times because it's at a twelfth-grade reading level, and "it's simply hard to read." The most-read newspaper is USA Today, Wynn said, because it's easier to understand. "If your goal is to get everybody on the same page, make that page a lot easier to read."

It's about being able to say something, express something that people can grasp, Wynn continued. If you can't simplify what you say or are, people will believe that you don't understand the product or service you are offering yourself. "If you can't simplify your information, you must not grasp it yourself, and you've got zero influence.

"People buy into what they understand quickly," Wynn says. "The leading addiction isn't drugs or alcohol or cigarettes, it's convenience. People will abandon a complex process that works very well for a mediocre process that's easy every time. Simplification is the new smart."