Companies continue to spend a lot of time and money on “next best” in customer care. What’s the next best action to take? The next best offer to present? The next best experience to deliver?

There’s no question these initiatives are important and can deliver value to your customers and your business. But there’s a larger opportunity in customer care.

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“What if you found a way to better orchestrate not just reactive care interactions but also proactive care that blurs the boundaries between service, marketing and sales?”

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As some of my colleagues have noted, customer care has always been largely reactive. It’s about serving customers after something has gone wrong: when they’re dealing with technical issues or reeling from unexpectedly high bills. While it’s important to get those moments right, the real opportunity is much greater.

What if you found a way to better orchestrate not just reactive care interactions but also proactive care that blurs the boundaries between service, marketing and sales?

In the telecommunications space, for example, customers often reach out when they believe their network speed has slowed. The typical response usually involves unplugging or rebooting the router, advice that’s likely to frustrate many customers and typically leads to a truck roll. But what if the problem is that the customer’s service plan doesn’t support their needs? In other words, what if this is a sales opportunity disguised as a negative customer service encounter? Imagine how the interaction might change if the telco leveraged its own customer data about the volume of activity on the network and could proactively recommend a different plan. Even better, what if a telco could lean into data about an entire neighborhood, identify the need for multiple upgrades and then send a truck out to implement them? The communications then could be highly proactive: We recognized your equipment needed to be upgraded, so we’re on your street this week to perform the work. Now let me tell you about upgrading your Internet.

This kind of proactive, preventive approach can work in virtually any business with recurring services. From streaming providers to electric utilities to app subscriptions, these organizations are routinely generating extensive information about customers’ usage and billing patterns.

That data can form the foundation of an entirely new approach to customer care.

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This new model can support more than “next best” actions in a reactive mode; it can be linked to backend workflows that fix problems even before a customer notices, much less calls. And when combined with your marketing technology stack, it can be used to connect with your customers in a personalized way to address various troubleshooting needs, bill shock and other drivers of dissatisfaction and churn.

Indeed, many of the tools and methods you count on for sales and marketing campaigns can and should be deployed in the name of proactive customer care. At the end of the day, I don’t think it will be desktop applications or service workflows or IVR innovations that will drive proactive care. I believe the marketing tech stack will prove to be the hero of proactive customer care.

Making that a reality will be an ongoing process for any organization. In upcoming posts, I’ll take a closer look at some of the steps and technologies that can make it happen.  

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See more Customer insights

Andrew Galanopoulos

Managing Director, Strategy & Consulting, Customer, Sales and Service Technology Lead

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