Leveraging journey mapping differently and focusing on training to instill empathy allows your agents to collect and leverage sentiment in real time and create lasting relationships with your customers.
Before I share our approach to journey mapping read my last post on Building Human Connection and Why Sentiment is the Core.
Since 60% of organizations report having journey maps, you likely have seen or built journey maps already. The challenge with the vast majority of journey maps we encounter is that they are request based, not member focused. The assumed commonality in these journey maps immediately moves us away from the critical factors of empathy: Critical Listening, Conversation, and Investigation. We need to create journey maps that get down to the agent-customer connection level.
Efficient transactional processes will not help your customers view you as a trusted advisor.
In the contact center, it all begins with the probing questions your agent asks at the start of the call. Most probing techniques used today are all about us. For example, what’s your member id? Your date of birth? What question do you have? This series of questions is well intentioned to allow the agent to move to an answer quickly. However, this takes sentiment as a tool we can leverage away.
In our new approach, we open a call by asking, “How can I help you”? This shift allows your customer to share their issue quickly and have control over the content of the call. They will start talking about their problems immediately. They may say something like, “I thought this was all handled, my son is still sick, and now I have a huge bill.”
From here, when appropriately trained, an agent can extract a lot of information.
- The question: Why did my claim get denied?
- Insight to who the call is about: dependent male member
- Level of stress and mood
- Understanding the feeling of financial pressure
- Level of knowledge about the plan and process
- The real question they didn’t ask: Do I have to pay this bill?
With a new approach to probing we can respond with “gee I think I have your sons record right here, can you confirm the member ID?” We’re getting the information we need but in a very different way and once we’ve allowed them a moment to vent.
In the traditional approach, we would have been talking about why the claim was denied but have left the real question on the table.
Now your agents have a unique opportunity to guide the sentiment. We believe that empowering agents with the tools they need to hear the sentiment right away and move to a place where it can change leads to drastically higher levels of success in the contact center.
This change occurs within the call, not after it ends. Venting is something we’ve been scared of for years. When a customer starts venting, you feel you’ve lost control of the call. In our old approach to measurement, this meant a long call, getting a supervisor involved, threating to take business elsewhere, etc. We’ve been afraid that venting changes the amount of time it takes to complete a call. But if we can start to think about venting as a way for customers to express themselves and deliver clarity of sentiment to us, we have an opportunity to engage and measure differently.
Probing through journey mapping allows a lot of learning. The benefits of this learning are that we no longer have to guess if we’ve made an impact – we immediately know! However, this approach takes a different level of skill and therefore shifted approach to training.
A Different Agent
To become an advisor, you need a different type of agent in your contact center. In healthcare specifically, this agent is made up of the following:
You never want to practice on your customer. You have to look at your agents as superheroes. But you can’t just walk down the street and buy superheroes. You have to build them. Building superhero agents are where your in-house learning programs become mission critical. Having technical expertise and empathy at the same time is very complicated.
The Zelus PACE Program
PACE stands for:
This program changes the agent’s progression. Here is what the curriculum looks like and how it compares to standard curricula.
We deliver PACE in the same or less time than typical programs. If you want to see what the full 10-day journey looks like or some specific improvement metrics from this program, let us know.
Part of what allows PACE to accomplish incredible results is that we teach soft skills and industry-specific skills in unison. In complex industries, you don’t have the luxury of training these things in isolation.
Check out the recorded session that Jenny led here which covers sentiment recognition, a case study, and even more insights into journey mapping and our PACE program and how it can help organizations like yours.