A proactive customer engagement strategy provides an opportunity to increase the efficiency of the contact center, improve customer retention and loyalty, and contribute to revenue growth. When measuring the effectiveness of a company’s overall customer service, you need to ask to what degree do you “contact your customer before they contact you”. If implemented correctly, proactive engagement will serve as a key component of overall customer service and provide your company with a competitive advantage. Your customers want you to engage them! Do not make them contact you to resolve an issue or problem.
As a frequent business traveler, I want my airline to notify me of a delayed or rescheduled flight. An effective outreach strategy needs to blend both notifications that deflect against a negative event with interactions that provide your customers with a positive experience. For example, I would welcome a phone call stating that multiple seats are open in first class and I could have one at a reduced cost. In today’s fast-paced environment, I also want to receive reminders of a scheduled dentist appointment or prescription refill available for pickup at the local pharmacy. I want to work with a flexible bank that can notify me when a checking account balance hits a defined low balance or when a suspect transaction affects my account.
The proactive engagement strategy needs to address the changing consumer, especially the adoption of new communication channels. Some customers will opt to receive a traditional phone call, while others will demand a text message, tweet, or Facebook notification. Based on the timeliness of the event, I need to potentially use more than a single channel for the same message. I might tweet and call the same customer with a similar message to ensure that our customer is aware of an important event. In addition to supporting the different communication channels, our strategy needs to have the ability to contact additional people associated with the account of a customer. The solution supporting the strategy needs to insure that notifications are relevant and timely to your customers. Finally, you need to allow your customers to take action, make the notification event interactive.
An effective customer engagement strategy addresses the core operational alignment between customer satisfaction, cost containment, and revenue generation. Proactive notification is a key customer service component to gain that competitive advantage and differentiation, as you eliminate the need for the customer to contact you. The cost of an automated notification is significantly less than an inbound customer call handled by either an agent or your IVR self-service application. Moving away from the transaction cost of inbound versus outbound, the strategy can address the ongoing issue of contact center peaks, requiring both less infrastructure and agents. As companies look to the contact center for revenue generation, it remains a challenge to upsell customers that contact you with potential problems with a product or complaint about a service. A properly designed proactive notification system provides that channel to upsell and contribute to contact center revenue goals.
Top 5 Strategic Components
Adopt an “Engage Me” Strategy for Customer Service
Support all customer channels – phone, email, text, social, mobile
Ability to engage across more than one channel during a single event
Allow customers to take action, engage from the notification event – do not make them contact you
Implement a new SLA metric – measure the number of events resolved without a customer contacting you to start the transaction