Proactive Engagement: A Customer Service Trend to Watch For

Posted by Rodney Kuhn

11/20/15 10:03 AM

Proactive-1.jpgAccording to Forrester Application Development and Delivery Expert Kate Leggett, businesses will be exploring proactive engagement—that is, the ability to anticipate a customer’s needs in order to better answer questions and improve the customer experience—in 2015.

For example, Leggett cited in a recent blog that 44 percent of U.S. online consumers in 2014 preferred having a Web chat invitation appear on their screen when they wanted to ask questions. This is an increase from 27 percent in 2009 and 33 percent in 2012, representing an increase in customer demand for proactive service channels.

So, why is proactive engagement a customer service approach that contact center managers should be monitoring? Let’s explore proactive engagement further...

What is Proactive Engagement?

As mentioned, proactive engagement involves a company’s ability to anticipate its customers’ needs in order to improve quality of customer care. To anticipate these needs, companies can leverage customer data collected from a number of sources (i.e. customer survey data, transactional data) to predict consumer behaviors, wants and needs. Over time, this data can help organizations paint a picture of what their customers expect from their service interactions so that the overall experience is more seamless, targeted and outcome-driven. 

For example, imagine a contact center manager discovering, based on data collected from customer service interactions, that the majority of customers wait in the call queue for 20 minutes. However, data pulled from a most recent batch of customer surveys shows that customers expect to wait no longer than 15 minutes before being helped by an agent. As a result, the manager can leverage these findings to better anticipate customers’ needs by introducing a new service channel to help lower queue waiting time, such as a callback feature.

What are the Benefits?

It’s clear that companies benefit from proactive engagement in the form of increased customer loyalty and reduced churn. For instance, according to a recent report from Leggett titled, “The Six Key Elements of Proactive Chat,” more than half of U.S. online customers are likely to abandon their online purchase if they cannot quickly find an answer to their questions.

But the benefits of proactive engagement far exceed customer satisfaction. For example:

Uncover key insights to make company-wide improvements: Proactive engagement not only helps improve the quality of a company’s customer service; it can lead to company-wide improvements such as more streamlined back office operations , targeted marketing campaigns and accelerated product lifecycle management.

Lower costs: Because proactive engagement enables companies to identify which service channels are optimally or poorly performing, they can omit those channels that are not being optimized in order to reduce operational costs. Furthermore, better anticipating customers’ needs will likely lead to less customer and agent disputes, which will keep agents longer satisfied and willing to stay with a company—thus reducing employee churn costs.

Want to learn more about how to give your customers the great service they expect? Read this blog.

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