The virtual customer and its unique effect on sustainable customer contact

In a world of shaky stores and fragile financial institutions, there is a strong call for sustainable customer contact. By prioritizing the interests of customers in excellent service, every moment of contact may ensure the sustainability of the relationship. This is however not equally easy for every employee. The ‘virtual customer’ offers a solution: improving communication in the digital age.

virtuele_klant_s.jpgIn order to keep the customers satisfied, the employee must be a jack-of-all-trades. Whether he is in contact directly, or on the phone or chat, the customer wants good service through all channels. This expectation can be topped by making a real connection and going that extra mile, but the employee must be skillful in this respect. This skill will not develop constantly by putting a trainer in front of inadequately motivated people a few times a year. This requires a virtual customer.

Company critical skills

An important first step towards sustainable customer contact is identifying the skills that are most critical within the company. What will the measuring of customer contact be based on? What should the staff be able to do in order to reach this customer satisfaction, NPS or conversion? Translating a job or competence profile into concrete behavior can help. When you test these skills, you will probably notice that each employee has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Exercises through a notification

Enter the virtual customer: an app that notifies the employee of a new exercise. When there is a suitable moment, the employee gets their smartphone, tablet or laptop ready and reacts to a video or audio message from an unsatisfied customer who has been wrongly informed. It may be the employee’s weakness, but with feedback from his coach and input from his colleague, he’s doing better.

Ownership and securement

In this way, the individual strengths are spread across the organization, while they are being secured constantly. The employee has ownership of their own progress, but works together with his or her colleagues and coach. Colleagues are sometimes practicing the same skill to learn from each other, but at other times they receive another exercise because they have not yet completely mastered that particular skill.

If the virtual customer is served better, the real customer will be too. And then it becomes clear that sustainable customer contact can really be embedded in the organization, without the staff having to go away for hours, and with an up-to-date overview of everyone’s skills.

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