Welcome to the inaugural blog of our series “Managing the moments that matter”.

Let’s dive in with a simple question: What was your most recent memorable contact centre experience, and why? If you can recall one, chances are it was personalised and engaging, with the agent taking a genuine interest in you beyond just addressing your enquiry or problem.

Personalising contact centre interactions makes customers feel valued and appreciated. Not only do personalised moments create memorable experiences, they also drive positive business outcomes like increased satisfaction, loyalty and retention. According to McKinsey & Co*, companies excelling in personalisation see a 40% increase in revenue than average.

However, personalisation doesn’t come cheaply, or easily, especially given the significant technological investments required in today’s omni-channel environment. What’s more, over-reliance on using AI technology to drive personalisation can be risky.

But there are simple, yet highly effective methods any contact centre agent can use to add a personal touch to customer interactions. Let’s explore these, starting with perhaps the easiest way to personalise an interactions – using a customer’s name.

This simple behaviour conveys courtesy, respect and instant rapport. Surprisingly, our evaluations found that this basic gesture is rarely practiced, with only 1 in 5 agents asking for a customer’s name with less than half of these using it during interactions.

If not already part of a formal identification process, asking for a customer’s name should happen as early as possible in an interaction, though not before the customer has a chance to speak. The process should feel natural and welcoming, rather than an ID check. If the customer provides their first name, the agent should use that. If they provide a title, then the agent should respect their preference.

Failing to personalise interactions extends beyond using customer names. Our evaluations also reveal that over 8 in 10 agents fail to connect with customers on a deeper level. While some customers prefer short and impersonal interactions, taking a moment to build rapport can significantly enhance their experience. Simple actions like making natural conversation, referencing previous interactions, or sharing personal experiences, can build stronger engagement.

Given not every customer wants prolonged agent interactions, active listening is crucial to gauge willingness to engage. Nonetheless, making an effort is better than not trying at all.

Creating memorable experiences through personalised contact centre interactions demands skill, training, and practice.

In the next blog we’ll look at key behaviours contact centre agents can embrace to make it easier for customers to do business.

If your contact centre team could benefit from expert training in this area, please get in touch.

 

*McKinsey & Company “Next in Personalization 2021” Report