Progressing from CX provider to brand ambassador
Michael Jordan and Nike. BTS and McDonald's. Coca Cola and polar bears. Companies around the world have a long, successful history of influencing customer behavior through brand ambassadors.
But don’t get distracted by the larger than life figures — not all ambassadors appear in expensive ad campaigns. Anyone employed to represent a brand in terms of appearance and message can be considered a brand ambassador. When they are effective in their roles, brand ambassadors increase awareness and ultimately, sales.
A whole team of brand ambassadors
For companies that work with external providers to support their customer experience (CX) delivery, there's an opportunity for an entire team of customer care agents to engender this critical brand ambassador role. Of course, it won't happen overnight or by accident, but those who can form strong, cohesive partnerships through shared values will reap the rewards over time.
It's not just about external interactions with the brand's customers either. As a collective, in addition to turning every individual customer engagement into an opportunity to delight and strengthen trust, these brand ambassadors have the enhanced opportunity to translate a company's values into improvements across operations, technology platforms and organizational structures in order to drive incremental ROI.
So, pause the Terry Crews Old Spice ads; it's time to explore how CX providers can become brand ambassadors for their clients by driving improvements to the customer experience as well as to the processes and infrastructures that support them.
1. Establish common client-focused goals
In a strong partnership, there should be no room for misinterpretation of the brand's guiding values. With these values and the customer top of mind, both parties should then agree on measurable goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to illustrate what success will look like.
Experienced brand ambassadors can offer valuable guidance in this regard, helping to identify the metrics that will support the brand's overarching values. Maybe you want to bump up your customer satisfaction score (CSAT) by a few points? Or possibly lower your average handle time (AHT)? Regardless, your goals should be mapped to meaningful KPIs and reported upon regularly. In the words of famous mathematician and physicist William Thomson, "If you can not measure it, you can not improve it."
Be aware, however, that you'll have a better chance of success if you regularly revisit these shared client-focused goals. Open communication — and as we discuss later, knowledge sharing — are important in ensuring that goals remain relevant. Change is inevitable over time, as are exogenous events and factors, so strive to maintain a sense of openness toward corrections.
Sustainable success won’t come from generic KPIs ill-fitted to your business. Since every company we partner with is unique, TELUS International has established a Service Excellence Promise, setting the expectation that we introduce customized, meaningful KPIs for every client — specific to their business model, industry and needs. Your goals, your success.
No matter the context, customer care representatives who are given clear objectives that map back to the guiding philosophy are uniquely positioned to make a difference for your customers and your business.
2. Encourage innovation and growth
Brand ambassadors should be encouraged to drive value through innovation. Nurtured in this way, agents will be motivated to seek ways to share and action first-hand client feedback.
The role of the agent can be highly productive — after all, they're spending the most time with your customers than anyone. That means they have the best seat in the house to hear customer feedback and address CX pain points. According to Microsoft, 53% of shoppers believe their feedback doesn't go to anyone who can actually act on it. Don't let these insights go to waste: Recognize agents who explore new capabilities, synergies and add value, by actioning their input and communicating their achievements.
Brands that take this principle to heart welcome all opportunities to disrupt and innovate in the name of providing the best experiences to their customers.
3. Develop product familiarity
To truly understand customers, brand ambassadors should 'be' your customers too. An effective way to make this happen is to incentivize the use of your products and services. All parties involved will benefit from their enriched expertise and will be better suited to provide empathetic and accurate support.
Incentives can come in many forms, like giveaways, free trials, employee discounts, and even points-based internal campaigns. There's also an opportunity to reward hard-working team members with your products and services. The benefit reaches far beyond the monetary value of turning them into customers — it can totally transform your CX.
By developing product familiarity, your customer support team will be able to foster an even better understanding of customer challenges and hold more authentic conversations that draw on their own personal experiences.
4. Share knowledge
If you're looking to create brand ambassadors, the flow of information and knowledge needs to be highly active, honest and inclusive. Infrequent, top-down messages from senior leadership that don't connect to a company's values won't cut it. Communication needs to be two-way, and across departments and seniority levels.
In fact, CX providers are often ideally positioned to view the big picture and make suggestions to increase the flow of information for the brands they partner with. Your organizational chart might be a good place to start. Diverse lines of business and geographies should come together to form a cohesive whole, and many organizations find value in creating new roles precisely to facilitate the sharing of knowledge.
It goes beyond your customer care team too. All employees should have access to information about your products, services and technologies so that they know the 'art of the possible.' Enabled in this way, your team of brand ambassadors will be able to make recommendations for product and service innovations, and growth too.
The final word
The expression "the more the merrier" applies to brand ambassadors. And when brands partner with CX providers, they have access to an entire team brimming with ambassadorial potential.
In being able to both view the big picture and listen to customer feedback first-hand, your customer care team can add tremendous value by recommending goals and efficiencies. Empower them and reap the rewards. When these four tactics are brought to life, brands will see exponential benefits for all stakeholders.
For us, that's what partnership is all about.