Building Human Connection and Why Sentiment is the Core

How do you build meaningful emotional bonds and a human connection with your customers? How do you understand the status of your relationship?

To accomplish this and become a real advisor to your customers you have to make customer intent and sentiment priorities of your organization.

The outcome of your entire organization is visible in the contact center. And contact centers expose everything that’s going well and not so well to your customers across every department of the organization.

When your agents are empowered to build human connections, you can deliver the brand experience you want to put into the marketplace and create a powerful feedback loop across all teams.

Why does customer sentiment lead to human connection?

The ultimate goal of all the metrics you invest time and energy into tracking is to understand whether or not you’re meeting the needs of your customers. There has been a long evolution of contact center metrics. From the simple measurement of handle time, accuracy, resolution to customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS), for instance.  None of these metrics can be ignored or avoided. However, they are all giving you generalized, rear view mirror feedback on how your customers feel about you.

Sentiment is entirely different, mainly if you can capture it in real-time. And customer sentiment is the only metric that is about them!

Beyond Measurement

To create a real human connection you have to go beyond measurement and metrics. And sentiment gives agents a different kind of power if they hear it as it unfolds.

To get there, you need a different approach to probing – this puts empathy on the table. It starts with listening. Are you determining the spoken and unspoken questions and concerns they’re expressing? What is happening in the course of the conversation? It’s not transactional. It’s a two-way dialogue. You’ll never become an advisor to your customer if you’re transacting.

Human Connections are based on Emp-A-ThyInvestigation is the final component. Now the agent has listened, conversed, and connected. Next, they must know enough about the subject matter to answer the spoken and unspoken questions of your customer. When an agent can deliver this experience, with empathy, your customer will have established a human connection. They will believe that you are capable of advising them and completing the story.

Read part two of this post where we dive into journey mapping and building your training programs around customer intent. You can also check out a recorded session that Jenny led here or learn more about our PACE™ program here.

Your Company’s Brand is heard in the Contact Center

Health insurance plans are more focused than ever on evaluating and maintaining their brand. Most plans are working to be more than simply a low-cost provider of healthcare or the plan with the biggest network.  For years now, we’ve seen that singularly focused strategies like that don’t work.  One of the biggest opportunities plans have is to emerge as the health plan of choice for members by choosing to deliver a personal connection in every member interaction.

This personal connection starts in your contact center.  What’s interesting though, is that the push for Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) to take over customer service entirely isn’t what members really want. Members want our Contact Centers to be MORE human! And for those humans to be enabled by technology. We’re seeing this desire for a human touch in every industry but especially in healthcare. It’s one of the main reasons we created a proprietary training program to assist health plan contact centers.  When Zelus trains contact center agents we always incorporate empathy, we use a simple, yet comprehensive, approach:

I’m looking forward to speaking more about this at the upcoming 9th Annual Medicare Market Innovations Forum in San Diego, CA. on a distinguished panel.  The panel will be focused building a year-round branding strategy that extends beyond Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period (“AEP”).  Zelus will also be in the Exhibit Hall at the Conference, so stop by and see us.  We’d love to talk about your challenges and what’s working in your organization to deliver that consistent brand experience! If you need a push in the right direction talk to us about our PACE™ program.  We built a comprehensive healthcare contact center program to marry proficiency, accuracy, confidence, and empathy seamlessly. There is nothing like it in the marketplace.

We’re working on an upcoming webinar with Contact Center Week about connecting with customers on a human level, learn more and register here.

To learn more about our suite of services and the additional benefits of partnering with Zelus for your call center training needs, please contact us at (617) 821-1061 or info@zelusllc.com.

Jenny Graham, co-founder of Zelus LLC, is an expert in operational performance and excellence with over 15 years of experience developing and implementing innovative operational strategies to improve overall business performance and utilization. 

Learning Design For Technology Implementation, A Case Study

A State Agency was given a mandate to incorporate a new operating system.  In addition, new federal mandates needed to be incorporated into the system and new processes simultaneously to the implementation of the new system.  This group is a customer interfacing agency and is implementing the new system in two phases over a 3-year time frame.

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