The most recent TP Talks webinar took place recently and I’d like to summarize some of the insights and questions discussed during the session. I was speaking with Shannon Burch, Director of Customer Solutions at Scotiabank and we focused on how Scotiabank creates memorable conversations with its customers.
Shannon first explained why Scotiabank felt it needed to address customer conversations: “Customers can easily get information and perform actions like opening a bank account online, but we saw a shift in the type of questions and problems they wanted to solve through human interaction. More complex problems meant that our employees could engage in more complex interactions.”
“You need to think about a time you called a contact center. The employee on the other end did their job and was pleasant, but that person certainly didn’t connect with you or really ensure that you were satisfied. Although it was an adequate call and you got the solution, it wasn’t memorable. This is how most of our interactions used to sound like. We focused on moving these conversations from transactions to interactions,” Shannon added.
Shannon explained how they designed a formal model that could redesign how customer conversations are structured. She explained: “We used analytic tools to find what customers really wanted in a conversation. We also found what they didn’t like, so we could avoid those topics. We asked the best team of customer advisors on where they found common pain points and how they behaved when on calls – so we could embed the best behaviors into all calls.”
All this led to the creation of a Scotiabank customer conversation model: “We call our conversation model the customer experience model – or CEM. It works because this is now an integral part of our culture. I must say CEM at least 20 times a day – it’s part of everything we do from strategy to learning,” Shannon said.
Shannon the explained how Scotiabank refined the model so it could remain practical and not just a theory. She said, “After we designed the model, we worked with the advisors again so we could ensure that the model captures the practical behaviors that can create the most impact. We wanted to use the best words that trigger positive emotions and work out what to avoid. For instance, we avoid “no problem” or “no worries” from all agent conversations because they create a negative emotion, but by using phrases such as “did you know you could do this…” the agent can focus on being advisory and positive.”
The conversation model features a flow: from building trust to reviewing the call. Shannon explained the various steps: “Conversation models are not unique, and you can find many examples online, but ours is really focused on building trust with customers. By using a model, you will see that employee confidence goes up, and they are able to engage in more complex conversations. We focus on building trust, using questions to understand the problem then gathering nuggets of information and linking them to a solution. Based on this, we can deliver advice, and then we always review the conversation after it is complete.”
But getting customers to immediately trust the agent is not easy. Shannon has a few tactics: “Building trust in a really short time is not easy. We asked our agents to go out and monitor their own conversations with family and friends to see if they could find common elements – especially when opening a conversation and building trust. They told us it was weather. Everyone in Canada talks about the weather, and it’s a great way to quickly engage and relate to the customer. This can also be modified to relate to sports, such as when big hockey games are taking place.”
Photo by Sergei licensed under Creative Commons.