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The art of proactive customer experience

6th Jul 2015
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For any successful business, it’s vital to not only contact your customers, but to truly engage with them. In today’s multi-channel world, it’s essential that companies master timing and are savvy in their choice of channel, in order to successfully engage customers. Going one step further, companies should learn from the reams of data at their disposal to understand individual customers’ preferences and to anticipate their needs before the customer feels the need to contact you themselves.

This is the art of proactive customer service. Instead of merely communicating with customers on a reactive basis when issues arrive, as well as allowing customers to self-serve as far as they would like, proactive communication from the company leads to constructive engagement and positive customer relationships.

Using technology to anticipate customer needs
Through the modern technology at companies’ disposal, it’s possible to increase the understanding of their customers by tracking and managing customer profiles and omni-channel touchpoints. Using technology, companies should look to break down the traditional silos within the organisation, such as marketing, sales and customer service departments, to turn every employee into a proactive CX agent.

A couple of examples of CX in action include:
• Google’s Gmail alerts, which let users know when they are missing attachments if the body of their email contains the word “attachment” or “attached”.
• Amazon uses big data to advise customers shopping on the site by suggesting similar products purchased by other customers.

These are both examples of proactive engagement with customers, rather than waiting for the customer to get in touch with a query.

However, it’s a fine line to tread. With email fatigue a growing problem for many consumers, companies must be careful not to overload customers with too much proactive communication. Communications should not be purely sales and marketing, but targeted and relevant to the specific customer.

What’s next?

The future of anticipatory CX hinges on the rise of new mobile and wearable technologies. Using GPS technology, wearable devices are able to detect a customer’s location, so that when customers are nearby, retailers and hospitality services can interact with them, offering location-specific, relevant advice and information.

Apple’s iBeacon – and now the new Apple Watch – are examples of technology that can be used to help companies anticipate customers’ wishes in targeted locations. For instance, if a customer enters a hotel lobby that uses iBeacon technology to provide a great customer experience for pre-registered guests, the hotel can detect iBeacon in their phone, evaluate their customer profile, and recognise certain preferences that might determine the room they select for them. This type of customer experience can have a huge positive impact on the customer’s brand perception, encouraging repeat custom and the chance of positive PR by word of mouth.

The world of CX is ever-evolving, thanks to modern technology. This has led to a certain artistry, with organisations able to pre-empt customer wishes and greatly increase satisfaction levels. If companies are able to master the art of anticipatory CX, they can streamline their customer journeys so that customers will never have to get in touch with problems.


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