Engaging customers through automated messaging and communications


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With the rise in cross-channel purchasing options, consumers are increasingly agnostic as to whether they buy their goods in-store, over the phone or online. Even in the case of high ticket purchases such as refrigerators, washing machines and beds – the only ‘human’ experience a shopper might have of a company’s brand is in the final product delivery. Consumers have become ‘prosumers.’ They take an active and vocal role in the brands they choose. And, in today’s world of Yelp, Twitter and YouTube, a single act of poor delivery can have far reaching brand impact in terms of loyalty and word of mouth. Increasingly, the quality and timeliness of door-to-door delivery makes or breaks the brand experience.

As well as brand impact, there are the significant advantages to the bottom line that highly orchestrated and timely delivery systems offer. But here’s the rub, mobile and ubiquitous communications mean that customers are now constantly moving targets; what’s more they expect service and delivery to accommodate their schedules, and they are highly resistant to delivery windows of four to seven hours.

They want to understand precisely when you’re going to be there. They will not sit around and wait. Instead, they want a text or a voicemail when a delivery or service appointment representative is 30 minutes away so that they can leave the house if they want to. Product and service delivery has not typically been geared around this thinking. It needs to be.

Advances in technology and communications — from voicemail to mobile GPS to SMS to email — mean that people are reachable most anywhere. Companies, where service and product delivery is a critical part of the brand promise and bottom line performance, should be actively investigating how to integrate these communications into their delivery logistics.

And with today’s advances in communications, engaging customers through automated messaging and communications can be highly personalized, massively scalable – and surprisingly interactive. Hundreds and thousands of delivery schedule and reminder calls can be made in a matter of minutes; and they can be scheduled at times when people are most likely around to receive them such as in the evening – when most customer service centers are closed.

By proactively reminding customers of delivery times, and then being able to update them ‘on day of’ delivery through automated voicemail, email or SMS advising on driver locations and actual delivery windows within 30-45 minute schedules, the level of missed appointments can drop significantly.

What do you think of this? As a consumer, are you happy with the enhancements in automated notifications? As a businessperson, would you use notifications to assist with customer service?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Scott Zimmerman, President, www.televox.com


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