3 Best Practices for Proactive Communication

3 best practices for proactive communication

April 1, 2021

At any given moment, my phone has at least five notifications from apps, mail, texts, and missed calls. Consumers face information overload on a daily basis. But we are also reliant on it. One of those notifications is usually from my pharmacy telling me to reorder my prescription, another is from my favorite brand informing me that my order has been shipped, and another is letting me know that my credit card has been charged. 

But where’s the line between informing and annoying? How can brands ensure that their communication is increasing loyalty, and not scaring customers away? First, let’s look at the basics of proactive communication.

What is proactive communication?

Proactive communication in the contact center is essentially an interaction starting with the brand. There are several types of proactive communication with different purposes for different industries. They can come in forms of banner announcements, notifications, emails, texts, calls, or more. Here are some examples: 

  • If an airline is experiencing severe delays due to a storm, they may use a proactive banner message to alert travelers
  • If you have an upcoming appointment, a healthcare provider may call you to confirm
  • If a telco company has a relevant special offer for your place, they may send a notification to your phone

These three examples have very different purposes, and may impact the consumer differently. They may require an immediate action, remind the consumer of something important, or bring awareness to a new opportunity.

Just like with any relationship, communication is a two-way street. Successful brands have realized that the conversation doesn’t always need to be started by the customer. But in order to build trust and likeability, there are a few best practices that should be kept in mind.

What’s in it for the customer?

The customer should save time or money or gain valuable knowledge as a result of the communication. Otherwise, the communication will only become a pain point in the customer journey, leading to lower customer satisfaction. 

For example, specific proactive communication may not be relevant for all customers. Consider a utility company that wants to give its customers an update about an outage. Sending the message to all customers, including those who are not in the area, would not be relevant. Ensure that your contact center technology has proper integration into CRM systems to prevent this issue. 

Another way to prevent irrelevant information is to ask customer’s upfront which communications they want to receive, and on which channel. 

Understand the use case and channel
Not all communication belongs on every channel. In this age of opti-channel, it’s important to use customer data to determine where the most effective channels to be used for certain tasks. Creating a path of least resistance for the customer by adhering to these types of preferences will make every interaction smooth, effortless and productive.

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Keep information top-level and clear

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from my insurance company that I needed to update my shipping address. I had missed the call, so when I phoned back they told me to go on the website and update my account information. Now, as a busy consumer, this was rather frustrating. The situation could have been avoided if the company had simply told me that I could go to the website to do the task, instead of having me call them back. Small frustrations like this can create a big impact on consumer’s minds. 

This scenario not only used the wrong channel to communicate the information, but also did not provide relevant information. While too much information in a proactive communication can cause confusion, there should be enough information to give a clear (and accurate) call to action for the consumer. Proactive communication should direct consumers to the easiest place to get more information or complete the task. 

 

These best practices will help establish a solid foundation of trust between the customer and your brand. Especially during emergencies, like cancellations or outages, giving customers improved communication flows can develop easier facilitation of information. To learn more about optimal communication, check out our whitepaper on digital transformation.

 

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