Tailoring communication to improve customer support

Customer support calls are opportunities to create great user experiences.

They often don’t end up that way. Long wait times, complicated menu systems, and rep juggling can be frustrating. Yet more and more we’re hearing about companies like Zappos that distinguish themselves through their excellent customer support. Nailing the customer experience when when a user is most upset can transform them from the biggest critic to the strongest promoter.

eLoyalty offers systems to help companies to improve their customer support experiences. When a user calls the customer support line, the system uses the Process Communication Model to determine the caller’s communication style. It alerts the agent, who can then adjust their own communication style in order to best help the user. For example, if a fact-focused “Workaholic” calls, an agent can get straight to the point and give them the information they need. If an emotional “Reactor” calls, the agent knows to connect with them on a personal level before trying to solve their problem.

The numbers are pretty impressive:

A banking client saw the attrition rate among customers struggling with the most serious issues drop from 7% to 1%. Another client using the system saw their J.D. Power rating rise from the high single digits to the low single digits (in the J.D. Power system, one is best). And according to Wesbecher, call center operation costs drop as much as 15% in the first year to 18 months that clients use the eLoyalty system.

This speaks to the value of tailoring support experiences to users’ preferences and emotional needs.

How else can we detect and design for individual preferences?