Digital proactive messaging can be overwhelming. We’ve all been there—opening a website and swiftly swatting off the lightbox promotion for 10% off your first order. You scroll to find the information you need, and an autoplay video encroaches. When yet another pop-up appears, we huff and puff and close the website completely.
With examples like these, it’s no wonder that brands shirk away from any mention of “proactive messaging”. The problem though isn’t that these messages are proactive, it’s that they are impersonal and don’t come in at the right time. Think instead if that 10% off your first order notification came at the purchase stage; the likelihood of people engaging with it would skyrocket. While before customers were only browsing, now they’re ready, and now they’ll make that step!
Making the first move will set your CX apart from your competition. It's a great way to build relationships and brand loyalty—done correctly, proactive messaging can lead to a 170% engagement rate with your customers. The key is personalization, and using customer insights to anticipate customer needs.
In this article, we’ll dive into some of the challenges businesses face while creating personalized, anticipatory experiences, and how a robust conversational AI can solve them.
Challenge: Brands don’t have the necessary customer data
According to a Forrester report on anticipatory experiences, brands accept that anticipating customers’ needs creates value, but they lack the confidence in delivering effective proactive messaging. The biggest challenge is data.
For most businesses with siloed departments, customer data is fragmented, if at all available. Successful anticipatory experiences demands holistic, real-time data and insights, such as:
- Zero and first party data: This is data that the customer provides you themself, data they consent to being collected and used.
- Detailed customer profiles: This data includes a 360 view of the customer across their entire journey. It includes data they’ve provided, content they’ve interacted with, conversations they’ve had with support, past purchases, and current behaviour on your site. This data is impossible to obtain with siloed marketing, sales, product, and support departments.
- Shared, managed, or assembled data from connected devices: Your customers are likely interacting with your brand from multiple devices and multiple locations. Collecting this data helps you refine your personalization as well as identify key trigger moments that could be device or location specific.
How AI can help
A robust conversational AI platform allows you to centralize all this data in one tool. The data is updated in real-time based on customer interactions, conversations, and web events. You can then leverage AI to learn from this data and anticipate customers’ needs—which is the first step towards creating a successful proactive campaign. This is very important because data on its own doesn’t tell a story, the insight generated from it does.
Challenge: Brands have the data, but don’t know how to act on it
So now you’ve got the data and the insight, what do you do with it? Anticipating customer needs is just the first step—you then need to use those insights to take action. The problem is, many businesses lack the strategy and/or tools to act on those insights effectively.
How AI can help
Conversational AI enables you to act on insights and proactively reach out to customers with personalized support or suggestions—before they even know they need it. And the best part is that you can do that at scale without sacrificing personalization!
The AI will learn from your customer’s history, preferences, context, and intent to guide your proactive efforts. You can leverage it to trigger messages based on real-time data and web events and orchestrate automated outbound communication across different channels.
Tips on creating successful anticipatory messages
Upgrade your tech
Creating the proper tech infrastructure is instrumental in automating data collection, insight generation, and personalized, proactive outbound communication at scale. Allow me to phrase this in no uncertain terms: you need a conversational AI platform, but your AI is only as good as the business systems it connects with—the more integrated it is, the more personalized and effective your proactive messaging can be. Look for an AI platform with a wide variety of codeless or out-of-the-box integrations, which will empower your non-technical teams to take the CX reins, and reduce the load on your IT department.
In response to the in-person limitations of COVID-19, brands are rapidly rolling with the punches, but speed can scare customers away. A paced approach is the key to successfully anticipating customer needs. Focus on collecting and centralizing the essential data outlined above before making any plans for proactive messaging.
Improve from the inside out
One of the biggest challenges facing brands is a lack of internal staff to create, support, and execute CX strategies. Partnering with an Automated CX (ACX®) platform can help brands:
- Lead with intention
- Determine a clear vision for digital CX
- Test and learn quickly
A clear vision can transform operational challenges into deliberate solutions. As the old adage goes, time is money, and brands need the agility to test anticipatory CX and learn quickly. The answers lie in the actions and interactions of existing customers, and a strong partnership with an ACX platform enables brands to simplify, streamline, and execute on these insights.