Every time you receive a message on your smartphone that your prescription is ready for collection, your delivery is on its way or that business flight has been delayed, what’s really happening? You, the customer, are getting real benefit from proactive communication strategies. But what’s the secret of doing all that right? It comes down to using the right channel, smart use of data, the importance of being flexible and open to innovation – but the biggest reason of all is starting to shape up to being omni-channel, which really means being able to keep the conversation you have with the customer flowing, seamlessly moving from one channel to another.
Let’s look at the best ways of getting there.
It really is of the essence! The timing of customer communications is really critical, which sounds obvious, but it’s actually quite a subtle point – and not one that everyone gets right. It’s very important you get hold of customers, but if they owe some money and an arrangement to pay needs to be agreed, you want to have a conversation, not a monologue. One of the big mistakes we see companies make is running a hugely expensive contact centre on this basis, e.g. that doesn’t make phone calls early enough in the day, doesn’t offer a text capability for younger customers, etc.
Using the Right Channel
Which brings us neatly to the next factor: the channel you use with customers is key. Different customers will respond better at different times of the day, as we’ve said, but how you engage them – the method used – matters, too. Time and time again, we see companies trying to make contact struggling through the traditional ‘sending a letter’ or ‘making a voice call’ without applying enough thought to what will work for different demographics. This matters!
The bottom line here is that companies needs to have the correct data strategy, so there has to be a coherent way for managers to understand, analyse, report, slice and dice, deep dive into data to give all the insights that are needed.
The Seamless Channel Shift
We mentioned earlier about even different times of the day and/or different forms of contact (SMS, phone) may be more effective in reaching customers. But the channels are beginning to get more and more complex as social habits shift and more tech gets involved. Your contact strategy should be about refusing to believe one size fits all; creating an effective customer contact strategy is a question of balance.
And that’s how you’re going to remain not just relevant but credible and effective to both your customers and the marketplace you inhabit. Good luck!