COVID-19: An opportunity to improve your customer relations

The Covid-19 pandemic tends to cause economies to contract and negatively affect not only consumers, but also companies, which tend to limit or even postpone their investment plans in customer relations. This is a mistake.

It is common knowledge that keeping an existing customer costs 6 to 7 times less than acquiring a new one. In addition, on average nearly 20% of a company’s customers say they are willing to pay up to 5% more for a great customer experience. How much is that for your business?

Most companies are then tempted to invest their financial resources in brand new contact centres that can handle omni-channel inbound interactions, but very few will also develop a proactive outbound approach that improves customer relations which will distinguish themselves from competitors.

And yet, proactivity pays off

Fred Reichheld, the inventor of the NPS (“Net Promoter Score”) found out that increasing the retention rate of 5% of your customers results in an increase in profitability of the company from 25% to 95%. It is therefore essential to first invest the company’s resources in ways to increase the loyalty of your existing customers. The example of Apple Corporation speaks for itself; although they only account for 20% market share in the smartphone and personal computer arena, Apple Corporation alone accounts for nearly 80% of the profits of the industry as a whole, far ahead of all others.

Therefore, it is no surprise that companies are investing huge sums of money in customer experience in order to be ahead in the battle for customer loyalty. And yet, the majority of companies take a passive inbound approach that consists of reacting to customer requests (reactive mode) rather than a proactive approach that seeks to solve their customers’ problems before they even realise them (proactive mode).

More than two-thirds of consumers believe that proactive customer service, communicating relevant messages at the right time, would greatly increase their perception of the brand as well as their loyalty to it. However, handling effective outbound campaigns requires a professional proactive outbound engagement platform to effectively support your organisation whilst fully complying with applicable regulations.

How to stand out from the crowd?

No one knows the pros and cons of your customer experience better than you do. It is therefore of prime importance that you carefully study the individual journey of each of your customers in order to define at which critical moments, which type of information would be necessary for them and also via which channel. The approach of the company through proactive outbound campaigns is pertinent, because it must be based on the preferences of the customer and personalised information that speaks to his or her needs.

It is important to not limit yourself by delivering one-way information, but also to offer a real conversational exchange that will allow your customers to anticipate their needs even before they are required (pay an insurance premium, reschedule an appointment, a plane ticket, etc.). Emphasis must be placed on anticipation. Addressing potential customer issues proactively – that is, before they arise – with personalised messages and offering a true two-way and empathetic exchange is the best way to improve your customer loyalty.

Activate your outbound engagement strategies

If you are now convinced that proactivity in customer experience will have a fundamental impact on customer loyalty, the next step is to define the differentiating factors of your outbound strategies.

Be careful, however, because the obstacles are various and numerous.  Starting with the increasingly complex consumer protection laws (GDPR, CNIL, TCPA, etc.), budgetary limitations and often, outgoing technologies still used today and dating from the prehistoric times of telephony. The first step is to use outgoing calling solutions that allows you to perform advanced management of your call lists. This is to adapt the customer experience whenever necessary. You will have to re-segment your lists throughout the campaign in order to refine the message for each type of customer.

Integrating this management of outgoing calls with your other business software is also crucial. This is to ensure a continuous and synchronous flow of information between systems so that the enterprise as a whole has only one view of the customer at all times.

Respect the law

The use of the power of outbound campaigns for telemarketing has been so important over the past 20 years that it has given rise to increasingly stringent regulations aimed at protecting customer privacy. Unfortunately, these complex regulations will also limit you even if your intentions are laudable and proactive. You will therefore need a platform that allows your initiatives to improve the customer experience through proactivity, not only to be profitable and productive for your agents, but also automatically avoids the harassment of your customers in full compliance with the law.

A central management of consents will allow you to define each customer’s records including the reasons why they authorised you to contact them, while respecting the regulations completely. Each exception to the “don’t call me anymore” rule (i.e. “Ofcom” in U.K.) must be duly documented, specifying for example, in which time slot each customer prefers to be contacted. This will only improve the customer experience and will allow you to maintain the consent you have obtained. Efficient and segmented management of multiple “don’t call me anymore” lists is therefore also essential so that the customer experience is unique and that each interaction is truly desired.

Finally, a powerful management of call-back rules as well as the dynamic assignment of those call-backs will also ensure you total respect of your customer relationship, as well as a truly adapted and personalised customer experience. What could be worse than claiming to offer a tailor-made customer experience if you make a customer call-back when it has just warned you during an incoming call that this call-back is no longer necessary? It takes years to build a reputation for your brand, but it only takes seconds to destroy it.

Define and execute efficient outbound campaigns

Deploying efficient proactive outbound campaigns does not just consist of deploying the first “dialler” that comes along, but in calling on a leading campaign management software that allows your agents maximum work flexibility in order to achieve your objectives of reachability in the most cost-effective way possible. Each outbound engagement strategy must be able to use a wide range of dialling options including progressive, preview, power and predictive modes, but also automatic and “agentless” (call bot) if necessary.

Your business should also be able to adjust the process quickly and go live by adding new campaigns or new activities to existing campaigns. All this by working on multiple contact lists where the segmentation of your customers is required in order to give them a personalised customer experience. Analysing historical data should allow you to quickly get the channels, time slots, phone numbers and topics for which your customers are most responsive and above all, most satisfied.

Your contact centre can really greatly improve its efficiency by scheduling proactive outbound campaigns on a daily basis that will allow you to better plan your staffing assignments and thus avoid endless and costly inbound calls to your customers. Answering machine detection, automatic customer identity verification and management of call schedules are also technical means that will allow you to increase the efficiency and profitability of your outgoing campaigns.

Finally, the intelligent segmentation of your call files will allow you to select the agents with the best skill levels to carry out these calls. Remember that in some cases, the urgency of making the call (suspected fraud or prospects to be called back urgently) will require prioritizing the customer files to call in order to deal with the most urgent ones first.

A world-class outbound platform

Nixxis Contact Suite gives you a professional, omni-channel outbound platform with powerful campaign management, call lists, automation and regulatory compliance tools used by the world’s largest companies. Our technology allows you to get the right information to the right people at the right time to support your outbound engagement strategies aimed at increasing your sales, collection rates, agent productivity and customer loyalty in the right and most efficient way possible.