5 small changes: Ways to get more, from the things you already have

With pressure increasing on organisations to cut costs and improve service contact, it sometimes feels like the only answer is to invest in sexy, new digital or AI-enabled tech. But you might be missing a trick, if you rule out making more from what you already have – your people, as well as your tech.  

Here are 5 ways we’ve helped clients push CSat up, increase sales or reduce contact… by helping these organisations have better conversations with their customers, without making big investments in new tech.

1. Build more rapport and empathy into phone conversations, to push CSat up 

We helped National Trust push CSat scores up, by helping their outsourced, front-line teams build emotional connections with new customers.  

How we did it:
Developed some simple, light-touch, actionable exercises… helping agents bring the Trust’s tone of voice to life, in calls. Exercises are geared to help everyone get clear on what rapport really is and in turn, find easy ways to develop it (and have more of it!), in joiner conversations. 

2. Cut calls and retain more customers by saying less (and less often) in emails, letters and white mail  

We’re helping this energy company streamline joiner and leaver comms, to cut frustrating contact and improve retention.  

How we’re doing it: 
For this utility, nearly 25% of total calls were being generated by their leaver comms alone. Retention opportunities were being stifled, with customers looking for clarity on refunds and exit fees. These are the key elements of our approach, geared to getting better outcomes for this client and their customers: 

  • Review comms as ‘end-to-end journeys’ rather than individual emails, letters or print. Explore the dates and times customers receive comms to consolidate and cut anything that ultimately doesn’t help the customer 
  • Make comms specific and personalised e.g. ‘As you pay by direct debit…’ reflects a knowledge of the customer. ‘If you pay by direct debit…’ doesn’t 
  • Create Guiding Principles, that apply to everything. This maintains a rigour and consistency around ‘how we talk’ to customers (regardless of who sends the communication, or what form it takes)  
  • Use simple, everyday language and positive sentiment, to demystify financial terms and processes (and make them less scary). The harder it is for customers to understand, the much more likely they are to contact you for clarity or reassurance  
  • Consider the ‘best channel’ for the customer’s call-to-action. In this case, we signposted customers to webchat; it’s good for sharing links, help videos and giving customers detail they can refer back to at a later date  

3. Reduce calls to agents by using the IVR to set and manage customer expectations (with simple, friendly words and tone) 

We streamlined this High Street Retailer’s IVR experience, and reduced calls going to agents by a whopping 27%. 

How we did it: 
It’s tempting to use an IVR to ‘inform and promote’ – which is a fancy way of saying ‘get the machine to tell customers lots of stuff’. But you can get much better performance out of an IVR, by keeping things very simple. Treating the IVR as a bridge to get customers to ‘service’, and messages as signs on that bridge to help get them there, with minimal effort.  

For this retailer, we used messages at the top of the IVR to sign-post the best, quickest and easiest ways to get service (resulting in 18% of callers getting what they needed and opting to hang up). And messages lower down through the IVR to promote the benefits of digital service (resulting in a further 9% choosing to ‘flip over’ to a new digital, SMS (async messaging) channel.  

4. Use webchat time to get to know customers a little better (to find ways to help them and grease the wheels for easier sales conversations) 

We’re helping Dyson build sales-through-service confidence, in everyday webchat conversations.  

The definition of chat is ‘to talk in a friendly and informal way’, so it makes sense to help advisors find ways to use webchat time, to get to know customers a little better and apply a little bit of Dyson ‘everyday problem solving’.  

How we’re doing it:
Like most frontline teams, Dyson’s chat advisors already have great product and communication skills to build on. Our role is to find small, simple, fast ways to help advisors uncover customer needs from the offset and have natural, easy sales conversations. 

5. Spend time with frontline teams – listen to calls, observe chat and email contact, talk to advisors and get a real picture of what’s happening across and within channels 

Spending time on (and with) the frontline is one of the best investments you can make.  

In the 4 examples detailed above, our first step was do exactly that. It’s the most effective way of getting a picture of who customers are, what they want and what’s getting in the way for them (and your customer-facing people).  

If you’re looking for simple, actionable ideas to wisely cut contact and improve sales and CSat in the process, drop us a line at  

Abbie Mandry