Fate. Chance. Destiny. Do you believe in these? Do you believe they play a part in your life experiences? Do they play a part in the quality of the experiences that you and your company deliver to your customers?

Today, billions of customers will deal with millions of businesses across the globe and, in every case, people will compare and contrast their experiences against their own previous encounters, their expectations of what should happen and other peoples’ experiences.

To understand fate a bit better, let’s look at the movie Sliding Doors from the late 1990s. In this film, Gwyneth Paltrow plays Helen, a London ad executive who gets fired from her job. As she rushes out the door to catch a subway train, two scenarios take place:

  1. She gets on the train and comes home to find her boyfriend Gerry in bed with another woman. While she experiences short-term pain, she ends up breaking it off with him, finds a new boyfriend and gradually improves her life.
  2. She misses the train and arrives home after the other woman has left, so she does not know of Gerry’s infidelity. But, over time, she becomes suspicious of him and eventually grows miserable.

In this (perhaps cheesy) film, Helen’s fate is portrayed and explored through two parallel stories—based simply on whether she got onto a London train before the doors closed. What she experiences is beyond her control—a twist of fate, pure good luck or bad luck.

On the contrary, you and your company have the power to control your customers’ fate. If you leave their customer experiences to chance or to luck, who knows where they’ll end up?

Be proactive, not reactive with interactions

Proactively managing your customers’ experiences is vital. Bridging the gap between average and great customer experiences needs to be designed; excellence doesn’t happen by chance. Being proactive about how you engage with your customers gives you the opportunity to manage their memory of what it was like to deal with your business.

“Proactive people take their own weather with them,” according to The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. Proactive businesses do the same.

What’s the value of proactive customer experience?

Value is generated for both your customer and your business. Your customers will find it easier to do business and they will feel valued. You’ll build a lasting relationship with your customer and they’ll and want to share their success story with others.

This brings you increase revenue; happier customers tend to cost less. Finally, actively managing your customer-contact strategy will lead to greater regulatory compliance—where there are rules around contacting customers, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) or the Office of Communications Act (OffCom) in the U.K., as well as customer service standards for government and utilities companies.

A proactive outbound solution is part of a wider ecosystem that enables a seamless transition of customers between self-service and assisted-service. It is underpinned with context used for proactive outbound engagement and to manage inbound interactions.

Using a common platform enables you to use this context to route the interaction to the best available agent. Where appropriate, agents can also switch between inbound and outbound interactions. This enables you to manage a customer’s journey consistently and intelligently across time, customer lifecycles and organizational boundaries.

For example, one U.S. communications service provider proactively offers a customer satisfaction survey via two-way SMS and achieves a high response rate. If a customer responds with a low NPS, the communications service provider calls within 24 hours to address the problem and leave the customer highly satisfied with the outcome.

What’s next for proactive customer engagement?

Bots underpinned with machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing are rapidly changing proactive engagement. Soon, your customers’ conversations will be more automated; however, ultimately accessing human assistance should always be an option. You may even proactively initiate some of these automated conversations.

Customers now can use more than one channel to seamlessly blend between self-service and assisted-service. Here’s an example of this multi-channel engagement:

  • You send a customer an automated reminder by text
  • They click through to speak to an agent for help
  • They are sent a link to a micro-app via Facebook Messenger to complete payment
  • Customers receive and complete a post-interaction survey through voice self-service

Using the right channel for the right type of activity is a vital part of designing great customer journeys.

Finally, asynchronous messaging services like Twitter or Facebook Messenger are new channels to explore for proactive communication that customers likely will use for sales and service. The ability to manage asynchronous persistent conversations provides new opportunities to proactively interact with customers in their channels of choice. It also reduces the volume of inbound voice and chat interactions to increase operational efficiency.

Mind the gap between average and great customer experiences

Do you rely on fate, karma or just plain luck—good or bad? The truth is that you can proactively design customer experiences and create good memories.

Learn more about how Genesys can help you to deliver proactive engagement with your customers in this Forrester report: The Untapped Benefits Of Proactive Customer Communication An Omnichannel Engagement Focus Is Critical To Success.

Brendan Dykes

Brendan Dykes

Brendan has over 25 years of experience in the customer service industry, in both business and technical roles. This broad experience has allowed him to see first-hand the importance for both customers and organizations of delivering consistent omnichannel customer experiences....