A contact center’s priorities should include staying in touch with customers and personalizing messages to meet individual needs.
Originally, outbound communications were used mainly for collections and emergency announcements. A new goal is to provide valuable messages to customers about things they’re interested in or would want to know. Outbound communications include:
• Change notifications
• Cross-sell and up-sell offers
• Customer support
• Marketing campaigns and promotions
• Service alerts and updates
• Status information, like mobile phone usage
Outbound communication can be in the form of a voicemail, SMS or e-mail. The customer can connect to an agent after receiving a message, even using the same device if that is preferred. On mobile devices, rich media and embedded links can be used to improve the customer experience. Location-specific devices can receive targeted ads and messages that the customer will find most valuable. For example, if your phone’s GPS says you’re at an airport, an outbound message can promote services at that airport, like flight updates, cancellations, restaurant offers or coupons for airport shops.
Traditional vs. New Outbound Communications
Traditional outbound communications had several problems. One-way communication made it hard for customers to respond, ask a question or make changes to their service. Personalization wasn’t a factor; resulting in messages being labeled as spam. Voice messages left on home phones were often received by the wrong person if there was another party in the household. Today, outbound communications are much more effective.
Customers receive messaging quickly, in their preferred channel. Their needs are anticipated, which makes them feel like the brand values them. There are also cost-saving advantages to the contact center, including decreased number of calls and the need for fewer agents. When customer needs are anticipated, the contact center saves money in handling customers.
Compliance and Outbound Communications
The Federal Trade Commission has compliance standards that have to be met. Ideally, only people who want to receive outbound messages will be signed up for them. However, some companies have automatic opt-in processes and policies when customers first conduct business. The customer then has to opt-out when they didn’t realize they initially signed up for messages. The better option, and the best way to stay compliant with the FTC, is to give customers a choice from the beginning.