With CX, Sometimes the Little Things Have Big Impact, Smart Customer Service Speakers Assert

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to customer service, often the little things matter most, speakers on the closing day of the Smart Customer Service conference said Wednesday.

Stan Phelps, author/speaker at Purple Goldfish, advocated for companies to do "little things that truly make the biggest difference."

Companies, he said "don't want to exist in the brain," but rather, in the heart.

"Your brand is no longer what you tell people it is; it's what your customer experiences, it's how they feel, and, most importantly, it's what they tell other people," he said, arguing that companies that go out of their way to do "a little something extra to honor the relationship" with their customers are the ones that exist in customers' hearts.

Phelps cited Hilton DoubleTree as an example of a company that does this well. The hotel company provides guests with fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to engender positive emotion.

And even something as simple as basic writing skills can have a real impact on agents and the level of service they provide to customers, according to Leslie O'Flahavan, owner of E-WRITE.

When staffing contact centers, she urged session attendees to "hire people who like to write and are good at it."

And she warned against assuming that customer service agents who are great on the phone can easily be shifted to written channels. "Don't consider the channel-based skill extra; don't say [for example] 'I can teach you insurance but I'm sure you'll learn to write along the way.' If you want them to write well, screen for that when you hire them."

O'Flahavan also emphasized knowledge management organization. "If your knowledge base is untidy, if your template library is untidy, if you have a ghastly, long, 1,200-page word document with all your templates in it, if people need historical knowledge of your company to find the templates, that's bad. It should be search engine-findable," she said.

But that still doesn't mean that big-ticket items, like analytics, are any less important. In fact, Geoff Ables, managing partner at C5 Insight, offered a vision of analytics permeating entire organizations.

Calling this "the age of analytics," he said that the technology is amazing, scary, and something that needs to be controlled, but at the same time allowing human beings to be "unleashed to live up to our potential like never before."

Analytics, Ables said, will eventually be democratized for everyone to use. "Analytics is not something that you do with a few people; you don't hire a couple of data scientists and start getting your data together," he stated. "That's your first baby step. Analytics is a language…and it has to transform your culture, not just a few people inside of your organization. Every person ultimately will own a piece of this."