To my dismay, when my running shoes outran their natural lifespan, I discovered Brooks no longer made the model I had purchased for years. I didn’t want to spend an hour or two trying out new shoes in a retail store. Instead, I searched several web sites, including Amazon, and came up… well, barefooted. Imagine my delight a few days later when Amazon emailed me that the running shoes I had searched for were now available! My fingers hit the “order” button faster than my feet ever crossed the start line.
Welcome to the new world of proactive communications, where companies proactively provide a vital service to their customers. It’s a world where we as consumers expect to be kept informed. Proactive notifications on email, ivr, mobile app, or text save us time. They remind us to set up appointments, and then keep us from missing them. They alert us to availability of products and services we need. We’re informed of potential fraudulent use of our credit cards, service outages, and impending bad weather.
Even better, some companies take the next step beyond notifications and give us relevant options – whether it’s dynamic, context-sensitive self-service that links seamlessly to assisted service, or a click-to-call number when the alert is sent to a mobile device. For example, if the fraud alert notification from your credit card company seems accurate, you need the option to immediately connect to a live agent.
See how easy and convenient it is to reach your customers with mobile proactive messaging:
Is your company still operating in yesteryear?
Not long ago, while traveling on business, my return flight was cancelled. The airline notified me via an automated call of the cancellation. What they didn’t do was give me an option to connect to an agent to reschedule – or even a phone number to call. What they did was exacerbate an already frustrating experience.
Today, the same airline provides a plethora of options. Their customers can choose to be notified of flight status, delays, cancellations, and gate information via email, automated call, or text message. Customers can select “quiet time” hours when they don’t want to receive notifications. If a flight is cancelled, the notification provides options to call an agent, or click a link to reschedule online. Had this airline not made these necessary changes, it’s highly likely they would no longer be in business.
Companies deepen loyalty when they give us options for when and how we want to be notified. Some of us may prefer a phone call; others see the phone as merely a device that enables texts and emails, but should never actually ring.
Customer experience executives understand that proactive communications are a critical component of a differentiated customer experience. It’s a win-win scenario: customers get crucial information, and companies boost satisfaction ratings, customer retention – and revenues and profitability.
Where’s the proof of proactive communications success?
OnProcess Technology provides services and operations support to some of the world’s leading technology companies. One of their clients, a top U.S. cable and internet company, now sends text messages to remind customers of appointments. Appointment cancellations have nosedived, saving the company over $100,000 per month. In the process, customer satisfaction and customer retention jumped, and OnProcess has seen a $1.7 million increase in revenue as a result.
UPMC Health Plan provides health insurance services, and notifications are an important component of their patient care. They proactively contact members to schedule appointments and remind them of benefits, boosting customer satisfaction ratings while reducing the volume of inbound calls. UPMC says, “It’s a human relationship story that happens to use technology.”
The bottom line is that the vast majority of customers welcome outbound communications when notifications are timely, relevant to their needs, and when they have control over how they receive the information. Is your company taking advantage of these capabilities to both increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs?
Learn more about how your company can use proactive notifications to create a personalized customer experience that differentiates your business from the competition in our whitepaper, Drive More Valuable Customer Experience With Proactive Engagement Across the Life Cycle.