We’ve entered a period where consumers are attached to their phones at every turn, even going so far as to sleep with their devices. Cell phones are always around and almost always on, which means users are constantly receiving notifications. Billions of smartphones, millions of watches—even thermostats and refrigerators—are lighting up to tell us something every minute of every day. They remind us about meetings. Inform us of the latest news. To check out a new photo shared by a friend. Not only are people relying on technology for information, they are taking actions based on what technology tells them.
So it is no wonder then that consumers overwhelmingly believe the companies they do business with should also send them notifications. Eighty-four percent of Americans expect the companies they do business with to proactively send them reminders. If apps can anticipate and remind you when you are most likely to go for a run, companies are expected to remind you of an issue with your account or an upcoming appointment. And consumers are becoming increasingly reliant on these reminders in place of their own memories!
In a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research, we found 63 percent of U.S. consumers felt critical customer service issues could have been avoided if companies had contacted them earlier. And this expectation is only rising; in March 2015, 53 percent of consumers felt proactive outreach would have helped them. And this isn’t specific to one industry. Customers expect companies in all industries to send them notifications – from interrupted cable or utility service to missed bill payments from a retailer or credit card issuer.
Businesses that proactively notify or inform customers on the right channel, with the right message, at the right time, and with the right response options can drive increased customer satisfaction and higher engagement rates with their customers. In fact, for customer service, the cost of a live agent making an outbound phone call or taking an inbound customer service call is high, and most customers don’t even want to speak with a live person. Proactive notifications can help deflect inbound calls, and automate the outbound contact to help significantly lower operational costs in a call center, all while increasing the likelihood that customers will take the desired action.
Forgetful consumers have a way of slowing business down: not taking desired actions to drive business results, whether they forget to reorder or simply to pay, and creating inefficiencies that cost companies money, having valuable human and technical assets sit idle when customers forget an appointment. Companies need to join the notification era to avoid negative business ramifications of forgetful customers and leverage consumer preferences for preferred channels of communication, to cost effectively nudge consumers to take the desired actions and driving better business results.