Are you capturing prospective customers effectively, or simply letting fate take its course, hoping to close new business using traditional approaches and metrics? How about retaining existing customers? Are your traditional methods keeping up with customer needs and changing demographics? Proactive engagement is proven to not only improve new sales closure rates but to also increase existing customer sales, satisfaction and retention. I’ll share some personal examples to demonstrate what proactive customer engagement feels like, as well as the difference when it’s not in play.
Good Customer Service Wins Again
Recently, I was shopping online for a truck rental and visited a few of the popular, well-advertised brand websites to understand options and pricing. To provide a quote, each company required contact information, pickup and drop-off locations, rental dates and size of truck needed. While the pricing was similar for all (albeit expensive!), the follow-up and customer experience were not.
After a week or so of mulling it over and finally concluding I didn’t have any better options, I decided to move forward with the rental. Choosing among the companies proved to be less taxing. One, in particular, sent me a couple of text messages with rentals offers. Since they proactively stayed in front of me via the most focused channel, they naturally had a big advantage over the competition. They followed up, had my attention, made it easy to reconnect with them. Plus, they were giving me a nice discount. Their proactive engagement allowed me to simply click to redial and speak to an agent about my rental. Offering the most frictionless experience, the first agent I spoke with knew who I was and what I was calling about—how refreshing! Closing the deal, the agent extended an additional discount beyond the initial 10% they offered. Done deal—and one of the best customer experiences I’ve had in some time!
Don’t Take Loyalty for Granted
In the same week, I had to communicate with my rental car company of 10-plus years multiple times for a couple of issues. Note that I’ve not heard from them once proactively over the last decade after dozens of rentals. On each call, the first agent wasn’t able to assist me and had to transfer the call to another department, which in turn asked me for the same information over again. And while one issue finally got resolved, the other had to be escalated to the loyalty team. More than two weeks later, I still had no follow-up from anyone until I copied the president of the company on my email indicating that I was switching rental companies. Their response was not only forced but very insufficient. My customer experience couldn’t have been much worse, especially when compared to the previous example.
Proactive Customer Engagement Done Well
My experience with proactive engagement was spot-on with what we advocate to our prospects and customers at Genesys. It comes down to the following principles:
- Know your customer. Understand who they are, their history with your company and their preferences.
- Make it easy for them to connect. You must offer customer service across multiple channels including phone, web chat, email and text. Be prepared to meet them where they are on any channel, at any time.
- Resolve their needs fast. Multiple transfers, lack of follow-up and delayed resolutions will always lead businesses to the same outcome: customer retention declines and lost sales.
- Add some perks. As a customer, this just feels good. It’s whipped cream on an already delicious cake. Anywhere you can add value, do it. Your sales will benefit.
While proactive customer engagement boils down to a pretty simple formula, it takes the right infrastructure to do it best. Staying in front of your potential and current customers by utilizing an omnichannel customer engagement solution is key to not only winning new business, but also in keeping current customers satisfied. The right solution will allow you to operate seamlessly across channels, efficiently respond to customer needs and provide the context you need to deliver a great experience every time. It’s the difference between a customer experience gone well versus one that’s gone awry.