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Diversity in Customer Service



Employing and developing a hyper-focused workforce on both customer service and diversity is increasingly becoming a norm to be successful.

Diversity entails a difference in abilities, skills, experiences, and cultural backgrounds. Since customer service teams interact with a wide range of people every day, being aware of and sensitive to these diversities is necessary. Businesses must understand how diversity factors into delivering an exceptional customer experience.

Here are a few benefits of developing diversity in customer service teams.

1. Diversity creates a value-based framework


Diversity and inclusion are core values that organizations must define and make a permanent part of the internal employee experience and external customer experience.


Businesses need to address diversity and inclusion from the top down. Organizations need to build a framework in this fashion, which has a trickle-down effect on all departments, including customer service.


More businesses are defining diversity and inclusion as core values that permeate an organization.


Examples of core values that foster diversity include:

  • embracing cultural differences

  • seeking to understand first and respond second

  • insisting on respect and taking action against anyone not following core values

  • and encouraging freedom of speech and ideas.

Organizations can use this framework to create updated job descriptions, mentoring programs, and ongoing professional development. This framework becomes the standard businesses can use for customer experience, employee experience, and quality programs.


2. Diversity improves the customer experience


Creating a culture of inclusion at an employee level is essential to providing exceptional CX, as customers have a trickle-down effect. Satisfied employees who understand the importance of inclusivity can better serve the public. They value cultural differences, diverse perspectives, and the ability to continuously learn and engage with various cultures.


According to a recent study, approximately 48% of employees believe that respect is essential for a culture of inclusion. Respect, empathy, and valuing the customer perspective are skills that drive the customer experience and areas that customer service teams need to focus on.


Customer service teams can build respect by focusing on active listening -- teaching service reps how to listen patiently and without interruption or judgment. Allowing customers time and space to share their situation, thoughts, and opinions is crucial to respect.


Empathy is a universal skill that crosses all barriers and is something that businesses should show to everyone as a vital component of the customer experience.


Building customer personas and understanding the journey via journey mapping is a great tool to foster diversity and inclusion. When customer service teams understand who their customers are, the types of situations they face, and their journey to enter the customer service organization, they value the customer perspective because they understand, respect, and empathize with the customer.



3. Diversity achieves superior financial results


Achieving superior customer experience results can include customer and employee experience gains and financial gains.


According to Gartner, by 2022, 75% of organizations with frontline decision-making teams that have diverse talent and embrace inclusive strategies will exceed financial targets. And companies in the top quartile for gender, racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their national industry medians, according to a report by McKinsey.


Inclusive strategies include fostering customer loyalty and retention by customer journey mapping and showing respect and empathy. These strategies help the bottom line by focusing on reducing attrition, retaining top talent, and enhancing and improving the employee experience, ultimately affecting revenue and profitability.


4. Diversity drives innovation and employee experience


Creating customer service teams that value diversity of thought where employees challenge each other reaps benefits for the organization and the employee experience.


Cognitive diversity - defined as the diversity of thought, values, and personalities - drives faster problem-solving and better decision-making, leading to a more agile and high-performing business. Cognitive diversity can also enhance the employee experience, improving employee productivity, employee morale, and employee turnover.


Customer service teams can foster cognitive diversity by recruiting diverse talent and creating purposefully diverse teams in skills and areas of expertise. Organizations should create virtual and physical space, allow teams to work on innovation, and create a leadership team that supports these efforts across the board.


By focusing on these metrics, businesses focus on what benefits employees the most, including:

  • productivity and innovation

  • employee engagement and happiness; and

  • employee retention.

Customer service teams need to define what quality assurance means to them and communicate to agents what is expected of them. The quality definitions should also be noted on quality and performance scorecards to tell agents how they are doing vs. department expectations. This provides the ability to define, teach, observe, reflect and improve continually.


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