It’s difficult to know how to interact with customers and provide them with exactly what they need, exactly when they need it. Whether it’s providing additional information, personalized assistance, or even just showing appreciation for their time, there are both right and wrong times to engage a customer based on the context of a situation.
But that’s a big advantage of proactive engagement. Rather than always responding to customers out of necessity, a proactive engagement strategy gives businesses the freedom to make their own decisions about how their customers can be engaged. This means anticipating the context of common support issues and staying a step ahead to guide customers towards a better customer experience. Here are three benefits of proactive engagement:
1) Save face with unhappy customers
Unhappy customers can quickly become churned customers, especially if they feel like they’re being forgotten or unheard. It’s smart to have some protocol in place when their unsatisfied customer hints at their frustration, like if they send multiple support tickets, give a low (customer satisfaction) CSAT rating, or are stuck in a drawn-out support interaction.
A support agent can still potentially salvage the relationship through proactive engagement—any of those mentioned hints can trigger an automated message that raises a new, high-priority support ticket. The follow-up ticket can be used to seek ways in improving the customer experience and offer something a little extra, like continued assistance or a discount coupon for their troubles.
2) Prevent unnecessary support tickets
If a recurring issue is causing multiple support tickets to fill your agents’ inboxes, a well-placed proactive message could help customers self-serve and prevent future tickets. Not only does it save time for the customer (who learns about the issue before they encounter it), but it also helps out agents who can effectively use their time on other matters.
In the video below, we highlight an online retail use case in which a support organization anticipates their customers running into an issue over the irregular sizing of a product:
A push notification that proactively informs the customer of an issue can be applied at a critical point in their journey, like when they’re about to make a key decision involving a purchase or commitment.
3) Drive growth and product improvements
As shown in the “What’s Good” video above, choosing how to proactively engage customers is about location as much as it is about timing. Customers in particular situations may reveal crucial insights that can drive growth and/or product improvements.
A great example is a customer about to cancel their subscription; a strategic engagement can guide them back towards re-activation. That’s what Freshly set out to accomplish by segmenting their churning customers into areas where proactive messaging could point them towards what they were looking for. After they asked their customers to choose why they were cancelling their subscription, the customers received an automated email that would help them reconsider—for example, if the customer was churning because the meal options didn’t fit their diet, the email would direct them towards the diet options they were looking for.
This resulted in a greatly improved rate of re-activations for those who had specific dietary restrictions or were looking for more variety, and also informed Freshly on how to shape their product offerings to better suit their wide range of customers. As an experiment to improve reactivations and generate more customer conversations to influence their products, it was a resounding success.