Wed, Sep 29, 2021
Customers are not a checklist

Do you listen to what your customers say and ask or are you ticking boxes on your sales checklist? This question occurred to me recently when I was allowed to discuss “customer experience in dynamic organizations” during SmartCom Summit 2021. The central question was how technology helps to improve customer contact and to offer more added value to customers—a relevant discussion in this time of an abundance of means of communication.

By Nico Dammers, General Manager at oneCentral

In the past year, many companies have seen that (call center) employees find it quite challenging to switch between all the communication tools they have at their disposal. That is why now is an excellent time to consider how you will streamline the contact between your employees and customers. As an industry, we need to discuss solutions with customers that enable employees to learn to switch “in context” between all those channels. After all, the technology is there. But how do organizations do that in a way where the tools are relevant and valuable for average users?

What do your customers want?

The answer to that question is in the hands of your customers, and actually, some questions precede it. Do customers realize that they “must” invest in their customer relationships? Do they have a vision of customer relationships? You first want to find out how your customers want to communicate with their customers. All the beautiful tools that streamline and monitor customer relationships are pointless if organizations don’t do anything. For this, you have to enter and remain in dialogue with your customers. This may sound obvious, but it is the new way of selling technology. Your sales cycle may take a bit longer than when you talk about your product list, but those conversations are the basis of new collaborations. This way, you keep customers longer, and the ultimate added value you deliver is more and better.

Invest in dialogue

So invest in the dialogue with your customers, and don’t be afraid to say that something might not work quite right yet. During the summit, one of the speakers talked about pilots with new voice-controlled IVR systems. The tests with (eloquent) subjects worked flawlessly, but not everyone has had speech therapy in the real world. Then the results were suddenly disappointing. There is nothing wrong with this in itself. In a collaboration, you share knowledge and vulnerabilities. You do not always have the correct answer immediately. Therefore, implement new technology as an escalator. If it doesn’t work at first, you can still walk upstairs. Also, make sure you have partners on hand who can take care of it. We all learn something from that. That technology promises a lot is fine, but it only makes sense if you use its value for your customers’ organisation. Only then will you sell what customers need.

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