(Friday 13th) Bad luck or bad CX strategy?

Whether you believe Friday the 13th is unlucky, refuse to sleep in hotel room number 13 or on the 13th floor, our fascination with this prime number might affect the world more than you think.

Not to get too scientific but the fear is very real ...

In fact, it is so real that merely one scientific name wasn't enough. The fear of Friday the 13th is also called friggatriskaidekaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia.

Many high-rise buildings, hospitals and hotels skip the 13th floor and did you know you won’t find a row 13 on any Ryanair plane? It’s hard to determine how many people suffer from the irrational fear of the number 13, but the phenomenon has clear economic implications in more than just the property, travel, hospitality and retail industries.

Researchers have estimated that a total loss of £585m is made due to the impacts to sales and productivity on Friday 13th, as many customers refrain from activities such as flying and anxious employees stay home from work.

But triskaidekaphobia (the fear of the number 13) is more rational than we think. According to Saybrook University Psychology Professor Stanley Krippner “People are hard-wired to find meaning in various patterns, connections and perceptions. They need someone or something to blame when stuff goes wrong, and numbers are an easy target.”

Very superstitious, but does it mean the writing is on the wall?

Similarly, bad CSAT numbers or NPS scores might have managers blaming a spell of bad luck- however, most likely these such numbers are the results of not having a clear CX strategy.

The delivery of enhanced customer experience needs both people and technology. While people are the drivers of a good strategy, technology is the enabler. Without people, technology is practically useless, and without technology, scalability is impossible.

Happy agents = happy customers?

Contact centres are amongst the world’s toughest work environments, with agents having to offer support to frustrated customers, thrifty management, and high customer expectations. Customers not only expect almost immediate service through a channel of their choice, but quick and informed responses.

The University of Warwick found that happiness led to a 12% spike in employee productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. With agent attrition a real issue for Contact Centre Managers, happy agents are the key to a productive customer service team, which is essential for providing a great customer experience and imperative to the bottom line.

The right, powerful AI-driven technology will support agents, enabling them to handle customer contact through any channel with confidence. User friendly and fast to use - guiding the operator to offer further information or have a set of helpful tools to aid them during the conversation - our Agent knowledge-base tool has been proven to reduce agent-training times and increase conversions, whilst improving the overall customer experience. With a central knowledge-base as the source of information, contact centre agents can see exactly what a customer sees, but with the advantage of having extra information only available to them.

Ask yourself these questions:

Uncross your fingers

When agents feel they are equipped to do their job well, they can more easily resolve issues and better maximise customer satisfaction.

And for those businesses worried about their agents being amongst the many people scared to leave their house and commute to work on Friday the 13th or any other day, leaving them struggling to operate efficiently, utilising customer service tools such as Virtual Agents, web chat or web self-service, especially during unexpected circumstances, can allow businesses to maintain high levels of service during peak and off-peak times. Web self-service options and Virtual Agents don't have phobias. And kudos to those using web chat via agents working from home - an often-overlooked advantage of chat over voice.

And you will be glad to know there is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day. Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters. We’re going to put on an essential slasher classic and skip the salt throwing, wood knocking and rabbit foot rubbing this Friday the 13th, but if this is not your thing, at least we can assist you in delivering exceptional customer support, irrespective of the date or unexpected spikes in enquiries.

These e-books offer thrilling insight into why it's best to not keep customers waiting when they could find the answers themselves: Multichannel Online Customer Service For Dummies >> Virtual Agents for Dummies >>

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