How to deliver inclusive CX for all gender identities

22nd June 2022

The world has come a long way when it comes to pronouns. In society, people have started to get used to referring to others using the pronouns that they prefer, with over a third of British people in agreement that pronouns are an important part of a person’s identity (MermaidsUK, 2021). And the same should apply to your organisation’s customer experience (CX), since it is all about making people feel welcome regardless of how they identify themselves. But how can businesses make their CX more inclusive to greet and communicate with their customers in a way that identifies them individually?

Inclusivity starts from within

We all know that great CX begins from within! Creating an inclusive working culture is key to promoting a positive and inclusive work environment. Not only that, putting inclusion into practice will also help educate your people on best practices and build a greater understanding internally. This will help shape employees to speak with inclusivity in mind when talking with customers.

Tools such as Voice of Employee (VoE) surveys can provide organisations with a simple way of measuring individual perception of inclusion. We have seen a growing trend for organisations to seek views from their employees around inclusion and diversity and taking the associated actions based on their employees’ feedback and ideas. This data will help organisations decide on the steps they need to take internally to improve both employee and customer experiences and will also feed into ideas for new training, policies and practices.

It’s time to rewrite the script

Agents can no longer assume gender or question it. We have heard stories of organisations putting people, such as those that identify as transgender, through unacceptable identity checks to prove they are who they say they are. This knocks a customer’s confidence and puts a damaging dent in how they perceive a brand. The days of agents asking, “is that a Mrs, Miss or Ms?” are long gone. So, how can contact centre agents be sure to deliver memorable customer service that shrugs off the archaic list of titles that they have been using for so long?

First, agents should no longer assume gender based on tone of voice and organisations must train front-line agents on using gender-neutral language, for example referring to a customer by their name only. Organisations can also deploy text and speech analytics to monitor how agents are handling gender conversations. This will help organisations detect any issues and provide further training if required to ensure that inclusivity is consistent across the contact centre.

The gender lowdown on your dropdown

It’s not just your agents that need to be on top of pronouns; so does your website! We’ve all seen the gender dropdown options on data forms on landing pages with the out-of-date options of just male or female. These data forms need to be updated to be more inclusive – and fast. Not giving customers the option of selecting their true identity equates to poor CX, and furthermore, it means your business is not capturing accurate customer data. Understanding how your customer would like to be addressed will help you to communicate with them better in the future, and using incorrect pronouns in communications could have a direct impact on your customer retention.

How can you tackle this problem? Begin with reviewing all the data forms on your website and updating them where necessary. We suggest taking a leaf out of HSBC’s book who use ten gender neutral titles – Mx, Ind, M, Mre, Msr, Myr, Pr, Sai, Ser and Misc – that allows customers to select a gender title most applicable to them. This data should then be stored in your CRM system, ready for when you next interact with individual customers.

Personalised service continues to be an increasing priority

In a recent study, 56.1% of Banking and Investment organisations said that service personalisation is one of their top three priorities to improve their customer experience in 2022. Personalisation means doing something to meet someone’s individual need or requirements, so something as fundamental as their identity has to be taken into consideration when defining service strategy. In this evolving area, frontline teams need to be trained to keep in pace with society, and we are seeing more organisations using data and analytics to monitor and seek assurance that they are providing value insights to improve customer communication.

On point CX for all identities

CX technology such as analytics and improved data capturing will provide organisations with a helping hand to improve the inclusivity of their CX. But how an organisation trains and delivers best practices will help strengthen an inclusive culture, feeding best practices and fully inclusive service to the people that matter most: your customers.

To find out how we help organisations like yours to build inclusive CX strategies, please get in touch.

Lee Mostari
Director of Insight & Analytics

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