Article

Matthew Weil
Matthew Weil 27 April 2017

Why ‘Proactive’ Is The Marketing Future We Need To Build Towards

For Forrester Research, proactive engagement is the direction the Customer Experience (CX) movement is headed in – something it defines as you anticipate the what, when, where, and how for customers, as well as prioritising information and functionality to speed customer time-to-completion.

For Forrester Research, proactive engagement is the direction the Customer Experience (CX) movement is headed in[1] – something it defines as you anticipate the what, when, where, and how for customers, as well as prioritising information and functionality to speed customer time-to-completion.

But what does proactive mean in the context of CX?

It’s all about brands communicating with their customers and driving engagement. The brands that will win are increasingly those able to anticipate their customer needs through active insights and smart manipulation of big data.

In day to day terms, that means being able to track customer journeys and harvesting useful insights from them in order to trigger a response, an invitation to chat or co-browse, an offer, a coupon, a multimedia tutorial – all at the right time, so the customer sees value in this outreach.

The action for most brands, then, is to explore connecting the best resources to the customer at the right moment, feeding back the learnings from these engagements to predict future customer behaviour, such as their future purchasing patterns or likelihood of attrition, and marketing to them accordingly.

That translates as you needing to use and act on information now in order to speed up customer time-to-completion. This is what we are starting to see from CX and digital marketing leaders; although the market really needs to play catch-up here, in our view.

Proactive marketing is about triggering the right response

The way you build your customer engagement has to be using a proactive/pre-emptive approach, remodelling the customer experience via technology as a way to increase satisfaction and dramatically reduce costs. To this end, good technology (and the data that fuels it) is the marketer’s best friend.

A good place to start is to monitor your customer journeys and see where to proactively trigger contact. With our customers for example, use of SMS, interactive voice messaging and visual touch solutions are all playing key roles in supporting proactive outbound communications that notify customers of key relevant events, e.g. in-store or online promotions.

Leading UK home and general merchandise retailer Retail Home Group, whose brands include Argos, Homebase and Habitat, for example, is using proactive SME-delivered alerts to alert customers about unforeseen delivery delays due to extreme weather conditions.

By contacting customers, at a stroke it reduces expensive and resource heavy in-bound call volume. According to Mark Fox, Real-Time Manager for Retail Home Group’s contact centre, “The huge benefit is that we can proactively contact customers en masse without impacting the front line.”

That’s just one example of proactive among many. A major High Street retailer we’re working with is using a proactive feature that allows you to drop calendar items direct into a user’s mobile from a text. This means customers get reminders about shop opening hours and specific promotions direct to their phones, plus a link to where the nearest store or outlet is, making it highly convenient for them to plan their shopping experience during peak sales opportunity windows. 

The switched-on digital marketer = the proactive CX leader

The best interactions build from real conversations between you and the consumer. Threading inbound SMS responses with outbound replies from an agent, seeing how conversations are flowing and determining how best to prompt customers to next steps, whether via text, phone, email or Web, is a great way for you to start getting proactive.

Proactive engagement is nothing but a slogan if it’s not about useful interaction. That’s where truly valuable personalised CX lies. And a way to help keep customer attention in a world where the competition is just one click away is surely worth exploring.

[1] The Future Of Customer Service 

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