“Do you really see me when I visit your business? Why aren’t you listening?”
You record and analyze your customer interactions on calls and online – including video, page visits, chats, bots and social media. But when your customer puts on their shoes and journeys from their home to your business…you don’t listen!
What I mean is: you don’t record and analyze the conversation or the transaction, leaving no insights from what is probably the most important meeting between a customer and a proprietor: Face-to-Face (F2F).
After all, this is the opportunity a business has to glean feedback, to influence sales, to ask what the customer wants, to personify their business, to impact customer loyalty and so on.
Essentially, F2F-meetings with customers provide revenue-generation intelligence as much or moreso than online interactions, which are less interactive, and calls, which are often scripted and lack the intimacy and information conveyed by eye-contact, body language and the ever-contagious smile.
In the Intelligence community, there is a category called HUMINT or Human Intelligence, which is gathered through interpersonal interaction, rather than through technology, imagery or other non-personal engagement. HUMINT is gleaned by engaging a subject in conversation, observing their behavior and listening to their responses. If you ask the right questions, you may learn something valuable.
So, as a consumer, I ask, “Do you really see me when I visit your business? You record my calls for ‘quality control purposes’. I’ve made the effort to vote with my feet and support your establishment; why aren’t you listening now?”
The Case for Face-to-Face
A sign in front of Apple Store says “Please be advised: Your voice and appearance may be recorded while you are visiting the Apple Store today. By entering, you are granting Apple Inc. and its partners the right to use your recorded likeness in the media, in perpetuity. Thank you.”
On one hand, one could complain that this is an invasion of privacy, although I have yet to meet anyone who has avoided entering an Apple Store because they would be recorded. Nor have I met anyone who hung up on a banking assistant because they did not want their voice recorded; after all, the call-recording laws were created as a consumer protection measure to increase transparency.
And regarding the “in the media” qualification: Yeah; permission to use one’s photo in promotional material is a thing. But, believe me, Apple did not go to all the trouble to record customers in every store for the occasional print or online ad! They did it for the revenue-generation intelligence – the key to sales!
Recordings of face-to-face (F2F) interactions actually present multiple benefits.
The customer can finally be heard. Using voice recording and analytics, businesses can now understand what their patrons like and dislike, evaluate their overall sentiment and monitor interactions between sales representatives and customers. Customers want relevant promotional material, if you are going to contact them periodically with ‘incentives’.
Sales reps and agents can improve their performance. By recording on-prem, sales representatives and agents can study their scripts to learn what they said to increase sales and which approaches failed miserably. This is an outstanding training tool for new and veteran staff, alike.
Managers have their fingers on the pulse. By monitoring the engagement of customers by agents and sales representatives, managers can have a much better understanding of their financial performance and contribution to the bottom line. In fact, companies invest fortunes in recording call center and chat agents – likely being paid minimum wage; but what about the team responsible for achieving sales targets? It makes good sense to also help higher paid staff and managers improve their game. After all, they are ultimately responsible to ensure their teams are 1) complying with company policies, procedures and scripts, 2) promoting sales opportunities effectively at every opportunity and 3) avoiding antagonism of any sort, such as gender or racial bias, snobbery or lack of manners.
Corporations need ongoing intelligence to assure compliance and growth. From an enterprise point-of-view, the same mutual protections afforded to businesses and their customers by recording online and on-call interactions and transactions should be taken to protect both parties during F2F-interactions. This is particularly obvious in the financial industry, where face-to-face meetings are a great cover for illicit activity, which may, knowingly or unknowingly, involve bank representatives.
For those businesses which already make the effort to capture customer journey for more personal customer interaction…well, they’ve got a blind spot in their CX records. Without documenting F2F-meetings, your customer view is lacking – missing the most important, influential interaction with your organization: in-store, in-branch, in-person.