Sandie Simms of West Unified Communications shares her advice for proactive customer service from the contact centre.
You have an opportunity to improve the loyalty of your customers by setting up alerts and notifications for important events surrounding the customer’s relationship with you.
Why Do Notifications Result in Loyalty?
You can save your customers time, hassle, and, in some cases, money by notifying them of a payment due to help avoid late fees and interest charges.
Telling customers when to expect a delivery driver helps them accurately plan their day. And alerting them to new rules, such as return policies, helps them avoid the hassle involved with sending products back.
Whatever you can do to make a customer’s life easier through notifications will likely result in a customer who appreciates and has an affinity for your brand.
Not every customer is alike, though. One customer might want to receive alerts via SMS and another from email or a live representative. A recent West study finds email is still the preferred method, with 82 percent of respondents ranking it first. About half of respondents say they prefer SMS, although that will likely grow, and a quarter of respondents want a call from a human agent (vs. automated voice).
A basic question to ask your customers from the get-go is how they’d like to receive proactive alerts and notifications and on what platform. You can get granular and ask them what types of alerts and notifications they’d like to receive as well. For instance, they might want a heads-up on in-store and online promotions but not the opening of new locations. Remember, too many alerts and notifications can turn your customers off.
Alerts and notifications should be:
- Sent at a frequency acceptable to customers
- Relevant to the specific customer
- Unique in content/not redundant
- To the point (don’t include too much information)
Personalisation will help keep customers engaged. You should customise as many notifications and alerts as possible. Sending a person an SMS notification that a bill is almost due is not as effective as sending a notification with the exact date (or better yet how many days until it is due) and amount as well as a payment link or instructions to pay via text. The same thing is true for delivery times. Telling a customer the window of time the driver will arrive does not create as great a customer experience as giving a time and then sending updates as the driver gets closer, and ultimately arrives.
If a delivery is postponed for some unforeseen reason or a technician gets delayed, you should be able to not only notify the customer but also enable them to go directly to a scheduling app and reschedule to another day or time.
Every notification and alert you send should give the customer the option to interact with you and to get a live agent on the line for questions or concerns. These should also take into account a person’s age and likely comfort level with technology.
Make sure the alerts, notifications, and prompts for action are simple, direct and easy to hear and follow. Don’t give complex instructions that require multiple steps. If you are contacting a customer who has marked a preferred language other than English, be ready to send notifications in that language. Do not offer granular personalisation if you can’t follow through with it. For instance, if a customer expects to get installation instructions in Spanish, don’t send them in English.
Be creative in how you use notifications and alerts – you don’t have to stick to bill payment and delivery times. If you own a gym, you can use proactive reach-outs to prompt a customer to sign up for a class they would like based on their preferences. If you run a car oil change business, use the alerts to let customers who are due for service know there is availability that day and prompt them to book an appointment online. Done correctly and creatively, notifications and alerts can help you fill the gaps in slow times in your business.
Your contact centre technology will ideally support you in your efforts to establish an optimal customer experience through notifications and alerts. Make sure that the platform you choose is capable of granular customisation and a wide range of interactions.