Nudging for Improved Customer Experience and Agent Performance

Photo of dog holding food bowl with word Nudging

Nudging for Improved Customer Experience and Agent Performance

The concept of nudging in business isn’t brand new. It’s the idea of guiding someone toward an action. Nudges don’t remove freedom of choice, they make a certain choice more attractive. The aim is to make those preferred choices beneficial to the chooser. We’re not focusing on negative nudges or those meant to manipulate for the benefit of another party. In the case of this article, it is to improve customer experience and agent performance.

Use the Feel Good Principle Nudging for CX

It’s basic human psychology. People like what feels good and avoid what doesn’t. The more enjoyable or positive result oriented a nudge is for your customers, the more successful it will be. 

For example, take the scenario of nudging a customer who has already bought your product to buy it again before running out. A nudge like this with creativity or gamification may do better than just another email or text message your customer has to sift through. 

Say it is a hair product. Instead of an email that says “Buy again before you run out,” inject some humor: “Don’t risk a bad hair day” with an image of an unhappy person (or multiple people) with disheveled hair next to a happy person with well styled hair. Base the images on your customer base (fewer women are looking for beard oil for themselves).

Creative CX shows customers that you value them enough to craft a positive experience for them.

Nudging Customers to Self-Service

Nudging customers toward self-serve options isn’t the same as forcing them to use self-serve because there is no other option, or worse burying service channels so deep the customer is on their own anyway. However, nudging does use psychology. 

Humans are more likely to do what feels good. Quick, easy, effective answers feel better than long, high effort, crappy ones. This is partly why humans also tend to stay with an offered default option. 

Zendesk understands this. They’ve found that 72% of customers seek self-service online and they track the common issues and make sure their self-service channels address them. They also train their agents on said issues, knowing that escalating from self-serve to an agent should always be an option.

That’s connected to making customer solutions as frictionless as possible (reduce or eliminate ‘sludge’). From Shep Hyken’s book, “The Convenience Revolution”:
“Reducing friction means anticipating and removing any barriers that stand between the customer and the product or service experience.”

Customers don’t have time to read the small print of every company they do business with. They’re trying to quickly get an answer and if the default option saves them numerous windows of multiple choice questions (school flashbacks anyone?) they will go with it.

Your customer service may link initially to a self-service channel, but if you make customers go there first ensure that the channel is updated and effective. Include options to escalate to an agent to improve retention and customer confidence.

The use of specific language is a nudging tool. Use empowering language as a nudge toward self-service: 

  • Find your answer here
  • Troubleshoot your issue
  • Print your own return label
  • Manage your notifications

Selections that include the word ‘recommended’ imply the best and easiest choice. Marketing language targeting a particular type of customer acts as a nudge. Like using ‘new’, ‘improved’ or ‘innovative’ for customers that value the most up-to-date products, for example.

Transparency for Ethical Nudging

Transparency is key to defaults being an ethical nudging tool though. According to Harvard research, being forthcoming doesn’t reduce the effectiveness of defaults.  Their study found this to be true even when the default served the default-setter or resulted in the default setter making more money. It was even true when providing the decider the information about the default slowed the process and caused them more effort to make the decision. Overwhelmingly they went with the default anyway.

The transparency even improved the decision maker’s view of the default setter, regardless of whether the default benefited society or was primarily serving the default setter. 

Using Nudges to Improve Agent Performance

For agents, employ the assistance of AI and automated tools. Real-time prompts to aid agents to ensure customer queries are answered, greetings are given and appropriate language used during interactions are types of nudges that improve performance.

Examples of CSAT.AI agent prompts
CSAT.AI

These solutions offer both guidance and recognition when combined with positive reinforcement letting agents know when they’ve done well.

Example of CSAT.AI agent positive reinforcement
CSAT.AI

Using phrase-based modeling, managers can nudge agents to be compliant by suggesting a couple of choice phrases. Alternatively, they can create nudges based on vague or specific language to guide interactions. Efficient nudging may reduce the number of touches needed for resolution.

Apply effective nudging by:

  • Reducing friction
  • Being transparent
  • Offering Both Effective Self Service Options & Agent Options
  • Using AI Nudges to Improve Agent Performance