Take your pick of any athlete competing in an Olympic sport that have been, and the most likely common reaction is “Wow.”
Sometimes that “wow” may refer to a devastating loss, but more often than not it’s probably the awe-struck expression you make after seeing one or more of the athletes winning a gold medal. Whether they are in teams or competing as an individual, what many of the men and women who wind up victorious share is an incredible ability to do perform feats of strength, speed and dexterity that most of us can barely imagine.
While few of us ever become full-fledged Olympians, however, there may be some inspiration from the toughest winter sports that could be applied to those working in customer service roles. After all, in many respects these are the team members who metaphorically jump through hoops, put out fires and sprint their way to overcoming major problems that come into call centres, via email, social media and more.
There’s no shortcut to real-life Olympic success, of course, as any of the most successful athlete will tell you. Similarly, customer service requires using the right tools in a strategic way to produce consistent levels customer satisfaction and even delight over periods of time. The data within Service Cloud, for instance, may be the best ways to “train” for the various challenges that will come your way, just as Olympic athletes have learned to simulate the steps in their sport long before the competition begins.
If it’s occasionally difficult to think though the journey to customer service excellence, keep some of these images in mind:
Let’s put aside the colourful outfits and the music for a minute: what is arguably the most theatrical of all winter sports is also one of the most seamless.
In fact, whether you’re watching the short-form figure skating competition or the longer version, you’ll hear the announcers on TV discussing all the elements required to make the athletes’ work look effortless. Every twirl, every shift in direction, every leap into the air has been gone over countless times.
Customer service teams can get this good too, if they use data not only to react to troubleshooting and difficult questions but to identify trends and patterns that allow them to stay one step ahead of those issues. When that happens, customers tend to be shocked at how well-oiled their vendor’s customer service machine is running.
Canadians have a reason to be proud of their many victories in this event, but there’s also an important lesson that has been true of both the mens’ and womens’ teams: no one does it alone.
In fact, some of the most successful ice hockey players have demonstrated an uncanny ability to know where their teammates are at just the right moment, and to pass the puck in a succession that leads to a perfect shot at the net.
Customer service teams may not have historically been known for that kind of teamwork, but things are changing. With the right data and technology, cases are easily routed to the most knowledgeable agent or team member who can help get problems solved quickly. Manage that, and it’ll be your customers erupting into a rousing cheer at the end.
Keep your eyes on the target. Throw the rock. Watch it glide down the ice.
That’s how most curling matches begin, but more often than not an important step follows. Depending on how well the rock is positioned to reach its destination, the skip will begin yelling “Sweep!” to the other players, who begin swishing their brooms back and forth furiously. That is sometimes the only way that a certain defeat is avoided.
Curling is fascinating to watch because these moments happen slowly enough that we can see and understand what’s happening. It’s like when those who use Service Cloud can get instantly notified about questions or complaints coming through non-traditional channels like social media, but still act in a way that’s as timely as if someone phoned a contact centre or walked in through the front door.
Fans have come to appreciate the creativity some freestyle skiers put into their medal-winning efforts. You could almost argue that, as the name might suggest, no two freestyle skiing moments are exactly alike.
When you empower customers to solve their own problems though self-service portals and chatbots, something similar happens. Instead of falling back on the same old answers to FAQs and workarounds, customers may wind up discovering entirely new ways to get over obstacles -- and they’ll feel more empowered as they do so.
When snowboarders begin hurtling down the jump, we all know what’s coming: a moment of sheer agility as they flip in a circle in mid-air before coming down (hopefully) to a stable landing and finish at the bottom of the slope.
This kind of athleticism is a great symbol for how customers will look at an organization that bends over backwards to ensure they have a great experience. This not only includes after-sale support, but the entire process -- from discovering a product to the sale and beyond. Not every company does it, but when they do, customers are quick to applaud.
Sadly, the most exciting sport competitions tend to be relatively brief. When companies use Service Cloud, however, they can deliver an outstanding customer experience that not only lasts all year long, but 24/7. That may not win them a medal, but it will likely win them a lot more repeat business, which for any Canadian company is just as golden.