Customers expect more from us today than ever before. In some ways they expect magic. Fueled in part by experiences we all enjoy as consumers, the expectations of companies in the business-to-business world continue to grow with respect to the experience we all offer to our customers. One such expectation is proactivity. Customers increasingly expect companies to act before they are prompted by the customers. Take care of issues before customers tell us they exist? Seems like a tall order? It is. But companies filling that tall order will stand out from the long list of those that cannot.
The ability to deliver this proactive approach to customer service is rooted in understanding vast amounts of information centrally managed in data lakes, a capability that until the digital age was not available. Collecting, maintaining and correctly analyzing important streams of data about customers allows companies to help them deal with challenges before they ask. And, in contrast to historical approaches, it allows companies to respond to all customers needing assistance rather than only those completing surveys.
Customer experience professionals clearly recognize this need for predictive measures. In our report, Customers 2020, The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience, we found a dramatic increase in the desire for metrics describing what customers intend to do in the future, from 15% of the professionals using this predictive intelligence today, to 83% expecting to use it by the year 2020.
A great example of a successful program is EMC’s Predictive Analytics Initiative. Together with Walker, EMC’s TCE team leveraged contact center and operating data available for all customers contacting customer service, advanced analytics, and Walker’s Follow-up tool, EMC is proactively checking in with customers in an attempt to provide an unmatched Total Customer Experience. While this requires significant effort to develop the most effective algorithms to predict when customers need additional attention, the payoff for EMC and for its customers is undeniable.
In our study, CX Advantage, we found that of companies that are effective at creating and leveraging their customers’ experience an overwhelming 91% have a competitive advantage in their marketplace. What’s more, companies that embrace the customer experience strategy were ten times as likely to grow by double digits in 2014 as those that did not adopt such a strategy.
Proactive follow-up is critical to creating that effective customer strategy. It creates an improved experience for the customer… “I can’t believe you called, you must be psychic. As a matter of fact, I am having an issue that you might be able to help me with…” To many customers, it seems like magic. It also creates business outcomes that we are all after. Successful follow-up leads to an improved experience and improved service satisfaction. This leads to improved loyalty and higher loyalty leads to desired customer behaviors including more purchases. The customer wins and the company wins.
Increasingly, this improved Total Customer Experience is driving customer decisions. In fact, during the B-to-B purchasing process, buyers are more likely see the experience as a differentiator (61%) than they are price (39%), according to our research for CX Advantage. This is a clear call to action for companies to engage all employees in creating a proactive total customer experience.
Want to know more? Want to learn how you can create a competitive advantage through the customer experience? Come join us and check out Walker’s booth during the EMC TCE Global Celebration on October 6.