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Proactive people are often the ones who take initiative. Others may look to proactive individuals as leaders, as they're capable of facilitating success. | Source: iStock
Proactive people are often the ones who take initiative. Others may look to proactive individuals as leaders, as they're capable of facilitating success. | Source: iStock

Your business desperately needs you to get proactive!

Business is dominated by those who are forward-thinking. MICHAEL HINSHAW explores the concept of proactive customer engagement.

When it’s done correctly, proactive engagement makes it easy for prospects to engage with your business and improves customer experience.

You might be wondering exactly what I mean when I discuss ‘proactive customer engagement.’ The key to the concept is encouraging business owners to be proactive, rather than reactive.

When considering the concept of proactive customer engagement, it’s important to understand three key factors.

  • Value: This is measured by the impact on your business - whether it be increasedrevenue, an improved reputation or simply more units sold.
     
  • Advocacy: How often do your customersrecommend your products and services to others within the market? This is an important concept to measure.
     
  • Retention: It’s valuable to understand the duration of the ‘relationship’ your customers experience with your businessand products.

From an organisational perspective, it’s vital you communicate with customers with the appropriate information at the right time. It’s about more than just anticipating customer needs, increasing the relevance of your business, and boosting engagement.

"The challenge is to use this knowledge to better anticipate customer needs based on patterns, history, and preferences."

I’m sure you’ll agree that in the modern retail environment, customers want to gain access to whatever they want and need from your business on their terms: they want it when they want it and how they want it. If you examine the changes in strategy by major jewellery retailers in recent years, you’ll see that many businesses are adopting and developing strategies to enable proactive interactions with their customers.

For example, many businesses focused on making it easier for customers to get the answers to questions immediately.

In an online environment, this comes down to eliminating the need to go searching on other websites for answers – reducing the risk that the customer might end up choosing to shop with a competitor.

If your business is interested in boosting engagement with your customers, consider the following six strategies. This list has been created by examining the priorities of many leading retailers.

  • Leverage the data: Every business has rich data concerning their customers – yet so many fail to make the most of the opportunities it presents.

    The challenge is to use this knowledge to better anticipate customer needs based on patterns, history, and preferences.
     
  • Make it easy for customers to connect: Facilitate connections across channels and interactions, including offline, online, direct, and indirect.

    Your social media should all be connected, and it should be simple to navigate from one to the other. On the topic of social media, don’t overdo it!

    We see many businesses today attempt to join every ‘flavour of the month’ platform. It’s difficult to stay on top of more than a handful of platforms – use only the most relevant services to avoid any wasted effort.
     
  • Enable intuitive self-serve options: Ensure these options are simple to find and use, making it easy to get answers andresolve issues.

    This doesn’t mean self-service replaces other channels, instead, it should provide additional ways to get the customers what they need.
     
  •  Ensure swift resolution to any issues: A ‘fast’ resolution should be fast as defined by your customer, not by the limitations of your processes within the business.

    How much time does it really take to call a customer back? If a customer reaches out to you via email and you plan to respond, why wait and risk irritating the customer?

    You’re going to respond anyway, so why not try to do it in a timely manner? Treating your customers to a first-class experience doesn’t have to be a tremendous expense.
Show them that you care

In aggregate, completing the five tasks above will go a long way toward showing customers you care. But don’t stop there! The bottom line is that proactive customer engagement isn't a one-time event. It's an important part of a well-rounded customer experience. It’s about looking for better ways to engage and anticipate the needs of your customers.

In other words, proactive customer engagement is about the relationship between your business and the customer. It’s about delivering value at every interaction, whether it’s with the sales staff or when browsing your website.

The focus is on helping you build a highly loyal and more valuable customer base, creating unassailable relationships at every stage of the customer journey — and driving business expansion as a result.

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Michael Hinshaw

Contributor • McorpCX


Michael Hinshaw is president of McorpCX, which focuses on customer experience management. Learn more: mcorpcx.com

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