When it comes to staying in contact with customers, you have two options — inbound and outbound forms of communications. And while some companies rely solely on one form or another, it is imperative to understand that both types have their advantages. Forrester Research believes that combining these two types of communication enhances reporting capabilities, optimizes call center infrastructure and integration, improves the user experience and much more.
Fortunately, through advancements in technology, proactive messaging between businesses and customers is significantly simplified, further enhancing the user experience by offering personalized messages that meet individual needs.
A primary factor contributing to proactive messaging is the increased use of smartphones and location-specific devices. These gadgets make it possible to better target customers with ads and messages that they are most likely to find valuable.
Imagine, for instance, that a person’s phone has a GPS reading of being at an airport. Proactive outbound applications can use this data and rich media to promote airport-specific services and products, such as flight updates and cancelations.
When a company designs a proactive outbound notification strategy, there are four primary areas for which these communications will be of the utmost benefit:
- Emergency notification services
- Collection services
- Sales and marketing services
- Customer support services
And while outbound messaging via home phone calls can be beneficial in certain aspects, an assortment of limitations are also attached to this form of communication:
- One-way communication
- Lack of personalization
- Confusion and miscommunication
- Single-channel use
- Message received by the wrong party
On the other side of the fence, we have interactive multi-channel communications, such as SMS messages, social media postings, emailing and more. These categories of communication enable customers to receive proactive messages in only a few seconds, and they offer a slew of cost-saving benefits. Outbound multi-channel communications ensure that:
- Messages are received quickly
- Customers can be alerted instantly of important events
- Customer needs can be more readily anticipated
- A proactive form of contact is established
Sharpening Your Call Center Aptitudes
When your customer service representatives are doing their job appropriately, they can predict the reasons customers are making inbound calls. By accurately predicting such calls, the representatives can meet the needs of the customers before the calls take place.
For example, if a customer has a question about the time of their appointment, the CSR can use appointment reminders. The customer can then rest assured he will receive a notice either through text message, phone call or email.
Other benefits to be gained by representatives who sharpen their aptitudes and use proactive outbound notifications include the ability to inform customers of:
- Service updates
- Change notifications
- Sales and marketing promotions
- Status and information, including upcoming payment due dates and overdue payments
Staying in compliance
When outbound communications take place, companies must keep in mind that the FTC has compliance standards in place to ensure outbound messages aren’t sent to those who choose not to receive them. This can be tricky, though, because many companies have an automatic opt-in policy when customers conduct business with them, meaning customers must choose to opt-out to not receive automated outbound messages. Your company doesn’t want to fall into this category. Instead, it’s best to give customers their own choice about receiving outbound communications. Falling into a default opt-in communication process will only annoy them.
Increase your sales revenue
- Proactive communications and notifications deliver cost-saving advantages:
- Reduced long-distance charges
- Fewer space requirements
- Decreased number of calls
- Support for green initiatives
- Lower recruitment costs
- Fewer agents
- Fewer incoming lines
- Lower overhead training costs
If your company is looking for a new way to stay in contact with customers, remember the many benefits to be gained through proactive outbound communications.