June 08, 2015
When it comes to customer service, which do you prefer:
- Company A, which waits until you question or complain (reactive)
- Company B, which steps up and lets you know about issues or problems before you have a chance to contact them (proactive)?
I would much rather work with a proactive company. When a company is proactive, it says to me that it is also professional. All the synonyms for proactive — enterprising, take-charge, energetic, driven, dynamic, motivated — are qualities that successful companies exhibit.
Make it personal
A good way to show your customers that you are a take-charge kind of company is to use your transactional communications, like your bills, to do more than say, ‘Hey, send us some money for the heat we provided this month.” Variable messaging makes it easy to send specific messages to specific customers in whichever format the particular customer prefers, be it print, email or even text message.
Here’s an example of how a water company could use variable messaging to provide valuable information to customers:
Let’s say a water line break has disrupted service to a 10-block area. Using the geographical information in its database, the water utility can send a message to only those residential and business customers in that 10-block area. The alert can be sent by email and by text. Subsequent alerts to customers could let them know when service was restored.
Keep the message going
Using the same technology, the water company could let customers know, in advance, about upcoming water line projects in a specific neighborhood. A message explaining why the work is needed and providing expected beginning and ending dates for the project will head off a lot of phone calls and it will make customers feel like the company cares. The information can be sent in printed bills, in emails and in text messages. If more detail is needed, the information can also be included as a separate letter or page in mailed bills.
There are many ways you can put your data to work to drive important, targeted messages to your customers. Doing so can build your reputation as a caring, competent company.
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