The connected dependence of consumers and their always-on, always connected mentality has dramatically altered customer experience expectations. A recent study done by International Data Corp. found that 25 percent of smartphone users couldn’t remember the last time their phone wasn’t within arm’s length. And nearly 80 percent of them admitted to having their phones with them for all but two hours of their working day.
For this reason, reactive customer service, no matter how good, is simply not enough to meet these changing customer expectations. Outbound proactive and omnichannel communications enables companies to anticipate needs and resolve issues before they become too big or even before they are even noticed. When companies make the effort to proactively reach out, consumers feel as if the company they are doing business with is more aware and more appreciative of them as a customer. So with the growth of this always-on attitude, it’s critical for companies to also be on 24/7 to anticipate and meet the needs of their hyper-connected customers.
Here are three ways enterprises can address this dynamic and implement outbound and omnichannel engagement strategies that can help them provide better and more consistent service to their customers.
Customers who feel that they’re being heard by the companies they do business with are more likely to remain loyal. Surveys are a great way to engage with customers, through the channel of their choice, on their own time, to discern sentiment, identify promoters and detractors, and influence future interactions with customers. However, a robust survey application should include personalized content, adapting to each customer’s individual needs and recent history; support open-ended feedback capture through audio recordings; offer customers the option of speaking to customer support in real-time; and allow opt-outs to ensure compliance.
Another way to step up proactive engagement with customers is through outbound messages regarding upcoming payments and past due accounts. Through an automated bi-directional communication channel, customers can submit payments immediately anytime, from anywhere, which increases collection rates and improves business efficiency. Collection tools should use a local telephone number to encourage connection; support compliant and secure collection of payment details over the phone; facilitate the use of best practices in collections for all types of financial products and industries; and provide a consistent message across all channels.
Reminders and Notifications
Lastly, custom proactive engagement applications allow companies to contact customers with outbound communications specifically tailored to their business needs. If you know something that the customer should know as well, notify them. If you know something that the customer already knows but might have forgotten, remind them. For example, outbound notifications on e-mail, SMS, or the voice channel can be used for order status messages, appointment and prescription reminders, as well as service outage notifications, depending on business needs. Ideally, proactive engagement solutions should speak on the channel of the customer’s choice; allow you to be up and running in hours instead of weeks; operate safely and securely through SaaS (News - Alert) deployment in the cloud,; provide easy-to-use reporting on results and KPIs; and include a campaign manager and scheduler to drive outbound campaigns.
Intelligently designed outbound communications provide customers with the information they need, when they need it, and even before they need it. This means not only remaining flexible enough to go beyond voice and allowing customers to respond in the channel of their choice, but also giving them the power to decide when they want to communicate with you as part of one seamless conversation. It also sends a message to your customers that just like them, you’re always-on and plugged into their needs.
Edited by Maurice Nagle