How do your customers perceive you? You may be focused on driving engagement, but do your customers consider your product or service indispensable? Asking yourself these questions can help you understand how you want customers to perceive your brand.
The quality of customer engagement is more important than ever with concerns of an imminent global economic downturn. Key indicators like negative U.S. GDP growth in the first half of 2022, combined with other disruptive global events, suggest that an interruption in consumer spending may be on the horizon.
According to Forbes, industries like telecommunications have already reported impacts to their cash flow that they largely attribute to rising inflation. Consumer confidence continues to decline against projections, indicating that customers are concerned about their purchasing power while inflation continues to rise.
Read more to learn how telecommunications companies can successfully pull through a recession by prioritizing customer engagement.
Communications providers were impacted when customers started looking for ways to reduce their monthly expenses. Looking to save wherever they can, consumers reduce the volume of their services, move to cheaper plans, or cancel their services entirely when facing financial duress. In fact, a recent study by Acorns/CNBC found that 35% of all income brackets have canceled a subscription in the past six months.
The good news? Investing in hyper-personalization with empathy today can help you offset the impacts of economic turbulence.
Step one: Meet your customers where they are
Engaging with each customer individually gives your business flexibility and resiliency in case a recession does happen. Communications companies have a unique opportunity to effectively transform their approach to customer engagement while creating long-term value for their business. This happens by talking to customers directly, empathetically, and where they want to engage. You can engage customers digitally, via a call center, or proactively through their preferred method while leveraging resources like call center support. Doing so not only improves customer engagement: it also lowers the cost of service. This approach allows you to transform from a reactive engagement strategy to an empathetic, proactive form of customer engagement.
Retention is an opportunity for personalization
In this model of customer engagement, retention now becomes an opportunity to impact the customer’s experience throughout the use of your product or service. Instead of blanket offers and actions available to most customers, you can leverage first party data to identify the right action for the customer. Data indicates that customer income influences what services they will spend money on, with lower income customers placing a higher value on internet and mobile services. Knowing that this group is more willing to pay for other services like streaming media, you can provide offers to specific individuals with some of these services included.
For instance, you may already know that your customer is facing financial hardship and thinking of cutting their service. If a customer does experience financial hardship, you will be prepared to engage them empathetically by right sizing a rate plan, delaying payments, making a one-time adjustment, and setting up a payment plan by following a personalized approach to customer engagement.
Step two: Make your customer data count
How can you collect the first-party information you need to make strategic decisions like the example above? The data is available from many different sources. Customers leave cookie crumbs by interacting and engaging with your service – usage information, search history on your website, app pages viewed on your applications. This is in addition to information collected from interactions with your front-line teams.
Using artificial intelligence allows you to meet a single customer where they are with the right next best offer, action, and experience to re-engage them. Pegasystems commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study to examine the potential return on investment (ROI) enterprises may realize by deploying a customer decision hub. The study found that “the ability to predict the next best customer experience enabled interviewed organizations to move away from the product-driven marketing approach and more toward one focused on customer centricity, driving improvement in Net Promoter Score (NPS) and incremental revenue.”
Delivering both perceived and real value is important
Building flexibility and resiliency requires you to make your business indispensable to your customer by providing perceived and real value. Referencing specific use cases in cross- and up-sell and retention allow you to achieve this. For example, being able to add broadband and fixed wireless broadband to an existing mobility customer delivers real value to their home or mobile experience. In 2008/2009 during the recession, many customers required phone service but cut out all additional services. Today, the equivalent is data access. Selling broadband to these customers today makes it harder to walk away or deprioritize how much they spend with you.
Use centralized intelligence and a decisioning hub to create a one-to-one plan for each customer
Central decision engines powered by artificial intelligence allow you to ingest data from many different sources and platforms to activate your information with proactive customer engagements. Especially critical are the capabilities to analyze factors like propensity to buy, context, and potential value to choose the right outcome for your customer. It’s important to remember that retention is not a one-time event but a series of customer engagements over their entire tenure using your service or product. The right tool, powered by the right formula, allows you to perform actions that drive customer retention.
Leveraging these capabilities will enable you to drive significant impacts to your business during this time of uncertainty in as little as three months, starting a value generation machine for years to come. It sets organizations up for explosive growth when economic conditions eventually rebound giving businesses who have invested in these changes a major competitive advantage.
Learn more about how Pegasystems can help you start your customer personalization journey by visiting https://www.pega.com/products/decision-hub.
As customers engage, Pega evaluates all your options in real time, then selects the next best action.
To better understand the benefits, costs, and risks associated with this investment, Forrester interviewed four customers with up to 5 years of experience using Pega Customer Decision Hub.