Forrester has highlighted proactive customer contact on their list of top 2015 customer service trends. However, this isn’t the first year that the analyst firm has focused attention on this important issue.
In 2014, Forrester also emphasized that more customers expect to receive proactive outbound notifications. Yet, the firm’s research revealed that just 29 percent of brands expected to invest in outbound technologies last year.
Another Forrester report from 2009 explained that brands can save money by implementing proactive outbound contact. The research notes that using multiple channels—including email and text—lets customers receive important messages on their preferred device.
Forrester highlighted three benefits of this approach:
Brands who do use proactive outbound contact demonstrate that care about customers’ needs. This leads to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Proactive outbound contact offers many opportunities to brands. Here are three benefits companies can gain by implementing preemptive service notifications:
#1: Eliminate Costly Order Errors
Order issues can be high-visibility trouble spots for any brand. Why? Today’s customers have ready access to competitive purchase and pricing options. When customers do make a buying decision, customers have often done their homework. They expect to receive what they ordered when they want it. Any slowdowns can cause customers intense frustration and motivate them to cancel transactions and buy from a competitor.
They good news is companies can use proactive outbound contact to mitigate these issues. Quality order systems can detect when something is amiss with any order—which may be due to a customer input error or internal issues. These systems can alert skilled follow-up representatives and arm them with information to reach out to the customer to resolve the problem—right away.
Advanced outbound contact solutions give brands the power to fix order fallout when it happens. This can promote customer satisfaction. Another benefit: proactive contact can prevent wrong order data from leaking into other operational systems—which can cause costly downstream billing or inventory problems.
#2: Alert Customers to Service-Affecting Issues
Gone are the days of after-the-fact management of service issues. In the past, many brands responded to outages, down times or other service disruptions by staffing up their contact centers to field an influx of inbound calls.
Today, companies can rely on proactive, multichannel notifications to alert customers to known issues before they occur. Moreover, brands can respond promptly when unplanned issues arise by targeting informative alerts to the affected portion of their customer base.
#3: Cut Inbound Support Costs
Proactive notifications can reach people wherever they are, before they even know about a service-affecting issue. That means customers don’t need to make contact with a call center with questions or frustrations. As Forrester explains, “Outbound notifications deflect inbound calls, which reduce costs and boost consumer satisfaction and revenue.”
Forrester also predicts the continued proliferation of connected devices—with an estimated 50 billion in use by 2020. This will give companies even more opportunities to reach customers with information.
The Service and Revenue Opportunity
Cutting costs is always valuable. But Forrester, like many other thought leaders, advocate improving customer satisfaction for a healthy bottom line. In fact, Forrester claims that mere 10 percent uplift in a company’s customer experience CX score can add $1 billion in revenues for a company, in some scenarios.
Today’s brands know they must engage more deeply with and offer personalized interactions to their customers. Anticipating customer needs via proactive outbound contact is a logical next step. This empowers brands to move beyond traditional one-way outbound communications to an approach which lets customers feel the company has their best interests at heart.
Clearly, proactive outbound contact is key to delivering exceptional quality service in the era of the empowered customer.
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