Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Proactive Customer Engagement Goes Beyond Customer Satisfaction

May 08, 2017

While the terms “customer satisfaction” and “customer engagement” are often used interchangeably, it’s important to note that they are not the same thing. Satisfied customers have had their baseline expectations met: they got an answer without difficulty, or solved a problem. Usually, satisfied customers return to a position of neutrality about your organization. Most contact center solutions today are created to placate customers, but not delight them.

“Customer engagement” is a more proactive process. It means delighted customers who become brand evangelists for your company. They share your social media posts, make recommendations to friends and forgive you if you make errors in the future. Customer engagement generally requires proactive efforts on the part of organizations: going above and beyond simply being there for customers when they reach out, or even before they reach out, according to a recent blog post by Aspect’s Bernhard Santjer. The trick is using the right channel, the right content and the right frequency of communications.

“Customers don’t feel valued when they have to take the time to contact the companies they do business with about issues that the company should already know about like service outages,” he wrote. “At the same time, sending out mass text messages with no way to respond doesn’t give your customers warm fuzzy feelings either. When proactive outreach is done right it can help organizations maximize productivity, customer satisfaction and contributions to the bottom line.”

Outbound outreach might involve emails, text messages, notifications in mobile apps, automated phone calls, social media posts or even old-fashioned postal mail. Most companies don’t have the resources to have live agents personally call customers on a regular basis (and even if they did, customers might not welcome it). Successful proactive customer engagement campaigns are built on omnichannel self-service so organizations can maximize productivity, boost customer satisfaction and raise contributions to the bottom line.

Aspect’s cloud-based CXP Proactive Engagement solution, for example, enables customers to completely manage outbound campaigns within the company’s Proactive Engagement Site (PES) and trigger and manage proactive customer interactions from an easy-to-use Web interface. Companies can customize the message, the frequency and the channel to match customer needs and wants. Not only does a good proactive engagement campaign boost customer engagement and add to the bottom line, it can also reduce contact center costs by lowering customers’ needs for live agents.

“Proactive customer engagement can dramatically reduce the amount of requests for live service because customers get current and consistent information on time,” wrote Santjer. “With the interactive capabilities, proactive campaigns can also collect customer responses and automate standard processes like confirmation of a delivery date, payment etc.”

The ultimate goal here is to make a core change in the organization to move from traditional reactionary transactional interactions with customers to building personalized company-customer relationships. Meeting baseline customer needs only when they reach out is no longer enough.