Hiding in Plain Sight: A Modern Customer Communications Paradox

In this age of customer centricity and customer experience, many businesses face a growing conundrum: Customers are much more accessible through non-traditional channels, but at the same time, they are becoming less reachable through traditional channels. For businesses that still rely mainly on traditional outbound marketing approaches, it’s like customers are hiding – in plain sight!

Several factors are contributing to this trend:

  • Traditional land line usage is dropping precipitously each year.
  • “Do not call” and “do not disturb” legislation has given consumers a powerful way to filter calls, thus thwarting business telemarketing efforts.
  • Caller ID functionality now available on most phones is another filter for consumers and a barrier for businesses.
  • And, interestingly, consumers seem increasingly comfortable with simply not answering telephone calls from unknown – and even known – sources. This social/behavioral change is perhaps one of the biggest challenges for businesses engaged in any type of outbound calling.

Together, these factors will continue to be formidable obstacles for companies that continue with traditional outbound dialing as their primary way of reaching out and touching customers. “Right party contact” rates are likely to drop dramatically even with continual improvements to outbound dialing technology, such as increased dialing volume and better answering machine detection.

What is a possible solution to this paradox? You probably guessed it… instead of reaching out the “old fashioned way” with a phone call, how about texting or email? For example, a large mortgage broker we worked with was frustrated with the growing number of call attempts it took to reach fewer and fewer of their customers by phone. They changed strategy, and now send automated, personalized text messages to their customers.

Each message features a simple offer to help the customer lower his or her mortgage payments and asks the customer to text back if they would like more information. If “now” is not a good time, the customer can schedule a callback for later. This “opt in” approach not only helps the mortgage company schedule its resources more efficiently, but it also increases the number of successful attempts at contact.

Someone way smarter than me once said that doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity. In business it could spell disaster. What are you seeing? It is time for you to make the jump to texting and email, as well? Reach out and let me know.

Learn more about this creative and impactful new approach to outbound marketing. Register now for Avaya GetSmart 2014 webinar taking place on January 14, 2014 – “The 360?Customer Experience.”

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Tom Hanson.pngThis is a guest blog entry by Tom Hanson, Director of Product Management for Automation Applications. His portfolio responsibilities include Avaya’s self-service solutions including Avaya Aura?Experience Portal (AAEP), Orchestration Designer (OD), Proactive Outreach Management (POM), Intelligent Customer Routing (ICR), and Proactive Contact.

Tom has 25 years of automation and contact center experience within engineering (where he helped extend the Conversant IVR system), Professional Services, and Product Management.

Tom’s focus has been on delivering exceptional customer experiences through automation and launched the Avaya Voice Portal product line to fulfill this vision in 2003. He managed much of the traditional IVR product line throughout the 2000’s and along the way defined Orchestration Designer, ICR, Proactive Outreach Manager as well as the next-generation Contact Center.

Tom has a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and a MS in Computer Science from Colorado State University. He holds 9 domestic and international patents.

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