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Many organizations, especially because of the pandemic, have focused their time and energy on delivering experiences that are reactive to customer needs, behaviors, and desires. Unfortunately, this isn’t enough. As we move from the age of the customer to the new Expectation Economy, you need to unlock the potential of blending together brand, customer, and employee experiences into a Total Experience. The key to unlocking that powerful combination in 2022 is a proactive customer experience strategy.

Recent statistics overwhelmingly support the fact that proactive customer experiences provide a definitive competitive advantage. For example:

  • 92% of consumers reported that the experience of being contacted proactively by the company changed their perception of the brand in a positive way. (HelpLama)
  • 70% of consumers have a more favorable view of brands that offer proactive customer service notifications. (Microsoft)
  • 72% of Americans report they greatly appreciate proactive resources and/or support from businesses. (Salesforce)

Now more than ever, consumers expect not only proactive customer service, but a proactive customer experience. A proactive customer experience is defined as anticipating potential customer behaviors and serving their desires before they request them. Gaining an understanding of these increased expectations is crucial to maintaining your position at the front of the pack. Just like any other business strategy, however, designing proactive customer experiences requires understanding the concept fully.

What is a proactive customer experience, and why does it matter?

These types of experiences require a much deeper customer understanding that identifies and acts on issues before they become problems. At the same time, proactive customer experiences deliver on customer expectations in advance, far beyond customer support. Instead of a find-and-fix mentality, touchpoints are “white glove” and personalized to each customer’s unique preferences and situation.

Here are some of the primary differences between a Proactive Customer Experience, and one that is merely reactive:

Proactive

  • The business initiates most touchpoints.
  • Recommendations are made before the need is expressed.
  • The brand provides a recognized, credible knowledge hub.
  • Potential problems are identified before they become an issue.
  • Customer service provides a major contribution to the Total Experience.

Reactive

  • The customer is usually the first to engage.
  • Product & service information is only provided upon request.
  • Customers must ask questions and needs are not anticipated.
  • Problems are addressed only after the customer reports them.
  • Customer service is a requirement, not a brand advantage.

Unfortunately, most customer experience models still focus on individual touchpoints, with the main goal of managing reactions as the customer interacts with the brand and moves through the buying journey. As we move toward a true omnichannel mindset, this is no longer enough to allow for new consumer behaviors⁠—and more importantly, meet their expectations for proactive customer experiences.

A Total Experience will outperform competitors across key satisfaction metrics over the next three years.
Gartner, 2021

A proactive mindset is crucial to designing a Total Experience that focuses on a much more important goal: creating stronger, more holistic experiences for anyone who engages with your brand. This includes designing proactive experiences for your agents as well as your customers that creates:

  • Unified touchpoints that reflect white glove service.
  • Brand alignment across every channel.
  • Complete trust throughout every possible customer journey.

Proactive customer experiences are designed to reflect a deeper understanding of your customers and employees. Moving away from reactionary strategies helps to reduce friction within specific interactions, and encourages an environment that allows employees to seek out new opportunities to delight your customers. When your experiences are proactive, personalization is much more easily achieved. As a result, you’ll experience more brand loyalty, gain new customers more readily, and achieve much higher customer satisfaction.

4 Tips to Design More Proactive Customer Experiences

1. Get Control of Your Data

Brands today have a lot of consumer information, but it’s not always managed in the most efficient way. Data pours in from multiple sources and channels, creating silos that can make it hard to access the right information at the right time. The right design strategy will help unify your data, remove silos, and inform every touchpoint in a way that promotes more proactive, personalized interactions.

2. Gain a Deeper Understanding of Your Customer

Personalization drives more proactive customer experiences, and that requires going beyond just the “why” behind their reason for engaging with your brand. It means understanding your customers’ functional, emotional, and social needs, as well as their motivations, to learn who they truly, wholly are. This can be done with tools like customer journey mapping, accelerating feedback loops with surveys and other measurements, and other tools to help record each digital fingerprint your customer leaves.

3. Leverage AI and Automation

AI and automation can help you gain useful insights into your customers’ behavior. From there, you can use those insights to deliver seamless, memorable, experiences. AI and automation, like AI-enabled bots, can amplify the human touch while empowering your employees to do their jobs more purposefully and efficiently.

4. Rethink Your CRM

Stop thinking of your CRM as software and consider it the core of your experience orchestration engine instead. As the repository of your customer information, your CRM is the engine behind proactive customer experiences, and the driver of every important message. Real-time data updates in a core CRM are only the baseline for creating personalized interactions. The right CRM will enable proactive workflows for your agents and employees, boosting more meaningful interactions at every turn.

Avtex Knows Proactive Customer Experiences

Hundreds of companies trust Avtex to help them transform their customer experiences into a Total Experience. Avtex is obsessed with customer outcomes, offers end-to-end CX transformation, and boasts nearly 50 years of experience in CX. Our comprehensive CX consulting services help you deliver the proactive experiences your customers not only expect, but deserve.