In our previous post, we talked about the importance of having a game plan when it comes to selecting your CX solution and pitching it to the powers that be.
Once you’ve identified a solutions provider and a suite of tools capable of making your customer experience practices truly exceptional, it’s time to think about how you can use them to prime your business for growth.
Cost centre or profit centre: the real question is...why is it still a debate?
The ‘cost centre’ label has hung heavily over the careers of contact centre professionals for years, and unfortunately, still hangs over many of them to this day.
But the problem that contact centres have is rarely that they are physically incapable of driving profit. This outdated perception of them as a cost sinkhole tends to be the very thing holding them back.
Shifting perspectives: the 4 principles of profitable CX
James Dodkins (influencer and founder of Rockstar CX) wisely states that there are four questions you need to bear in mind with every CX-related decision you make...
1) Are we going to retain our existing customers by doing this?
2) Will we acquire new customers by doing this?
3) Will our customers spend more money with us for doing this?
4) Will this help us save on cost?
Essentially, the four principles at play here are loyalty, acquisition, wallet share, and cost savings.
Establish customer experiences with these elements front and centre, and you are guaranteed to see business growth from both your inbound practices and your outbound campaigns.
But of course if you only apply your CX practices when a phone call comes in or when it’s time for someone to renew their membership with you, you’re missing out on countless sales enablement opportunities.
In order to really maximise the profitability and growth potential of your exceptional customer
experience, you need to employ proactive CX.
Proactive CX 101
As the practices and objectives of inbound and outbound contact centres become increasingly more hybrid, both camps are seeing overlap in their ability to yield returns through the use of blended customer experience engagement technologies.
Proactive CX refers to how inbound and outbound teams can use their system capabilities to
abridge the typical customer journey in order to drive profit and growth.
Proactive CX for inbound teams
For inbound teams, proactive CX means serving your customers how they want to be served.
Today, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative.
Customers are done with pacing the kitchen floorboards while on hold. They want to have their query solved without even having to pause Tiger King.
With the right automation and AI capabilities, you can empower your customers to resolve more of their own issues.
This brings the added bonus of freeing up the capacity of your agents for those more complex queries, while also reducing unnecessary calls, wait times, abandonment rates, and overall customer frustration – all of which represent a cost to your business.
New opportunities for cross-selling
Self-service customer journeys can also open up new cross-selling and up-selling opportunities.
As timing goes, there is no better moment to upsell than right after the moment you have empowered a user to quickly and effectively solve their own problem.
A loyal customer is more likely to make additional purchases from you. According to Oracle, closing the case on the first interaction with minimum effort from the customer can increase their loyalty by 36%.
So after your customer has resolved their support issue, why not steer them towards a personalised offer that matches their individual situation?
This is how you turn technology-powered customer service into an additional revenue stream, as well as a cost saving.
Proactive CX for outbound teams
Outbound teams can drive growth through a combination of proactive contact, and shrewd leveraging of customer data insights.
Again, AI comes into play. As does predictive analytics.
These capabilities can empower your agents and advisors to identify sales-qualified customers or prospects, and secure their business by reaching out to them before they come to you (or worse, look for what you provide
Similarly to proactive CX for inbound, it’s about securing loyalty and additional revenue by being at the right place at the right time.
Following up a website visit with a phone call or email (or whatever is appropriate to your particular audience segment) can increase the chance of conversion by as much as 250%.
But you can harness proactive CX to do more than just improve the speed and likelihood of
conversion. You can use it to actively drive growth.
The key is to pinpoint where your customer is going to be next – ideally before they even know it
Ditch the ‘customer persona’
Segmenting customers based on their individual behaviours is far more effective than doing so on the basis of a ‘persona’ that you’ve created.
Personas are effective to an extent – they help you and your team visualise the real-life situational context of your customer.
But they tend to function on very broad assumptions. And those assumptions can represent the difference between cost and profit.
Look for correlations in customer behaviour – their historic interactions across certain devices and digital touchpoints – and categorise your customers that way instead.
Case in point…
Let’s say it’s been a year since Andy signed up for your service, which he agreed on the basis of a renewable annual fee.
You look at customers that share similar behavioural data to Andy, and can see that people like Andy tend to be hesitant when renewing their subscription.
Rather than waiting for Andy, you can reach out to him, on the device and communication channel he likes best, and offer him a personalised quote with a 24-hour acceptance window.
With a bit of arithmetic you can figure out a cost-effective way to shave a bit off your going rate in exchange for locking in another year of income from that customer
But shouldn’t growth mean focusing on new customers, not existing ones?
You’ve probably read in countless blogs like this one that retaining an existing customer relationship yields greater ROI than establishing a new one.
Customer loyalty is still one of the most effective ways of driving returns while also controlling costs, so reward it where you can.
Aim to deliver an experience so good that your customers feel compelled to vocally praise your services to the people around them.
You make advocates out of enough customers, and you’ve got the formula for an extremely potent catalyst for growth, minimal overheads required.