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Adam Toporek, author of Be Your Customers' Hero spoke to Engati on creating personalized experiences at scale.
Adam Toporek is an internationally-recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and frontline trainer who helps organizations get results by thinking differently about customer service.
A third-generation entrepreneur with extensive experience in retail, wholesale, franchising, and small business, Adam understands the impact that customer experience can have on the bottom line.
He has appeared in over 150 media and is regularly cited as a top customer experience thought leader.
In addition to his customer experience work, Adam is an angel investor with an interest in entrepreneurs who disrupt the status quo through innovation.
Interview with Adam Toporek
This section will contain a quick summary of our interview with Adam Toporek. But, if you'd rather hear him yourself, we have our Spotify podcast embedded below.
Adam says that in the past, Customer Experience was the factor that drove sales for small businesses. Communities wanted to purchase from local businesses. This was because they had received personalized experiences and had a close relationship with the business.
Larger businesses were not putting as much effort into this. They weren't trying because it was not possible for them to scale it up.
That's changed. Big businesses are emulating the warmth of smaller ones.
Technology has got a huge role to play here. It's helping organizations create personalized customer experience at scale.
Customer Experience has now become a true, legitimate profession now.
We now have tools and software, new technology like Voice of Customer and Journey Mapping.
Check out this article on What happened to Skype and how Zoom surpassed Skype based on its customer experience delivery.
The volume of calls for customer support has gone up phenomenally during these times. And it's hard to fill these gaps with human assets.
Not all businesses were set up in a way that enabled their human agents to work remotely. Even the ones that were are finding their agents overworked.
Businesses need to fill these gaps with AI.
It's going to help level out some of these peaks in demand. The agents won't be overworked because of AI. Chatbots can handle the simple, repetitive questions and send only the complex queries for live agents to deal with.
The question that companies are now asking is,
'How much of the conversations are computers going to handle? How much is AI going to handle? And how much is our live, human team going to handle?'
This is a continuation of a trend we already had, but now it's magnified and compressed.
What's unprecedented is the scale and speed at which things are happening.
We're trying to figure out how to get the engine to learn everything because things are different now.
Companies are trying to understand the intent so that they can map the journey. And the journey is different because we don't even have the part of the journey where people come in.
Hotels, for example, don't have people calling to go stay with them. The calls they're getting are from patrons trying to figure out how they can change their reservation.
Customer Emotion and Customer Irrationality are very important to consider.
Most businesses assume that customers make purchases logically and rationally.
But, customers are irrational creatures!
Customers make their buying decisions based on emotion. And then they use logic and rationality to justify this purchase.
And especially during this stressful situation, they're definitely going to be more emotionally charged.
If you're doing something that's logically good for your customers (like waiving a fee), tie it to an emotional reason.
If you just waive the fee, they'll be happy about it, but they'll forget about it in 5 minutes. But, if you tie it to an emotional reason, they'll remember it.
You need to understand the emotional state your customers are going to be in.
It doesn't help if you argue and push back and finally give in. That's just going to make the customers feel like they won in an argument with you.
If you're going to give it anyways, give it upfront and be gracious about it. Show empathy and your customers will be grateful to you.
PS. - Read our blog on making Chatbots feel emotions
A relationship is a cumulation of experiences.
When looking at an experience, don't just look at the individual, distinct experience. Look at the long-term relationship. The companies that are focused on relationship building are the ones that are going to win.
Delta Airlines operates in a customer-centric manner. They've extended the credit time if you've canceled a flight. Now they're carrying over all the reward points to the next year.
And the idea is to have a proactive strategy to understand the current situation. It's important to understand the customer's emotional state and then offering them a solution before the customer asks.
Look for the gaps, look for those moments which happen repetitively, and be proactive about solving them.
Businesses tend to get caught up in the whole idea of transforming digitally. But it's more of an integrated experience.
Human and digital are integrated together to complement each other.
Even with a chatbot, there's a human experience integrated within. If the query is complicated, it consequently sends you over to a live agent.
It's a very human experience, despite the digital aspect to it.
When we think about transformation, we need to avoid losing human touchpoints. We also need to understand that they can be very powerful touchpoints.
The idea is to integrate both of them together and not pick just one. Get the best of both worlds. That's what Digital Integration is all about. The digital part enhances the human experience.
Right now, the most important thing is to teach your teams to understand the customer's emotional situation. You don't know what your customer is dealing with.
Teach and encourage your teams to be understanding of where your customers are right now.