Customer Service

From reactive to proactive strategies for anticipating customer needs

Creating a delightful customer experience involves anticipating and fulfilling issues and requirements before they arise. The highlight of proactive care is that the customer does not have to initiate the interaction for care. Reactive care only provides service for the customers who have made contact; proactive care ensures care for those who stay silent. Catering to the silent, usually the majority, is essential as these customers don't complain. They leave. Proactive care prevents silent churn and creates a personalised customer experience that leaves a lasting impact. With technological advances, customers expect service to be easier, contextualised, and 24/7.

What is then the path to customer service nirvana? Organisations need to map the journey to know the path. A customer journey map is depicted as a timeline that plots every customer buying stage from awareness to repeat business. The map's major elements are the customer persona, buying stages, and touchpoints. Customer touchpoints depend on an organisation's marketing, sales, and service strategies. The touchpoints include billboards, commercials, websites, apps, interaction with staff, and post-purchase follow-up or support. Mapping the journey helps understand the customer experience at every touchpoint and helps define the customer's needs, problems, and engagement with the brand. A customer journey map identifies the customer-appreciated touchpoints and the pain points. The map provides better customer understanding, helping avoid potential issues and leading to better business decisions and improved customer retention. The map can be used to create standard operating procedures, train employees, and improve products and services.

Hyper-personalisation is the next frontier in customer care. It involves a care-of-each-one approach that is enabled by technology. Hyper-personalisation requires comprehensive knowledge of customers through data aggregation across channels. The other essentials are predictive and pre-emptive identification of opportunities and resolution of issues, seamless integration and coordination across channels and business functions, and provision of real-time and intelligent CRM tools for customer service executives. Businesses should work to provide personalised experiences at every touchpoint, including purchase assistance, status updates, deliveries, and follow-up.

Digitalisation technologies like AI, big data, automation, and IoT are the enablers for proactive and hyper-personalised customer service. Organisations can leverage their vast volumes of data using AI-powered intelligent analytics. AI analytic solutions can create comprehensive customer profiles, detect behavioural and product usage patterns, and generate actionable insights regarding customer requirements. For instance, telecom companies can recommend customised and optimised plans for individual users based on mobile data usage patterns. AI tools for real-time support to contact centre executives can automatically identify the customer and list relevant information, helping the agent provide a higher-quality response. Voice recognition and generative AI solutions can increase first-call resolution by generating real-time responses and resolutions based on the organisation's knowledge content.

IoT sensors in products make pre-emptive product maintenance a reality. For example, automobile manufacturers could proactively inform customers about the need for a part replacement before the actual breakdown based on the data received from IoT sensors in their vehicles. AI-based chatbots and self-service channels provide a no-wait, hassle-free, and 24/7 option for customers to get their queries answered and conduct their transactions conveniently. Real-time integration and coordination across channels are imperative, as customers shouldn't have to type in or explain diagnostic information more than once. It's a common scenario where customers call the contact centre when their issue isn't resolved through a self-service digital channel. The contact centre agent should have the details entered in the digital channel available when the customer calls.

All customer interaction data should be input to analytics to gather insights for improved operations and help understand customer priorities. Implementing this feedback loop is essential for personalisation. For instance, customer service executives can use the insights to decide when to reach out to a particular customer via a message or whether a live interaction is needed to retain a customer. Customer feedback and behaviour data can prove critical across functions in an organisation. The interaction data can improve product design, advertising, and the in-store experience.

Proactive and hyper-personalised customer service can vastly benefit an organisation. Businesses can gain loyal customers through responsive, comprehensive, and precise service. Pre-emptive issue resolution and outreach reduce the number of calls and enhance the customer experience. AI-enabled digital channels are conveniences customers now take for granted, and the interaction data can prove invaluable in understanding a customer. Technology has made the provision of white glove service for all customers feasible. Organisations should invest in infrastructure and technology to make white glove service for all customers a reality. Acquiring hyper-personalisation and proactive capabilities converts customer service into customer engagement. This AI-led organisational competence transforms the customer experience and helps businesses maximise value for each customer.

*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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