The Importance of Inaction in Proactive CX

if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, a concept useful in life and the customer journey.Perhaps your mother once told you that if you can’t say anything nice, you shouldn’t say anything at all. While this concept doesn’t work perfectly in every circumstance, it’s worth considering during the customer journey process. Kitewheel has identified three cases where the best message to push to your customer is no new message at all. These are marketing suppression, keeping true to DNC requests, and using environmental data to suppress irrelevant messaging. In each case, the goal is to be proactively inactive for the benefit of the customer. This adds to the value customers experience with your business, improving your core metrics, driving business growth, and ultimately resulting in bigger return on marketing and customer journey investments.

Proactive Marketing Suppression

Dealing with serious customer concernsWhen something goes wrong somewhere on the journey, customers often benefit from a pause in marketing communications. Consider a financial institution that has a variety of credit, insurance, and banking options. When the customer has been charged a late fee or had their account compromised, most customers are not going to be happy to receive a message advertising another financial product. This is true of other industries too, from retailers to vacation and travel businesses. Customers may best receive a message that comes only from service, but not from marketing. 

For many companies, siloed business units complicate clean communication-suppression. What happens in the leads management team might be completely separate from the loyalty team, for example. What’s worse – all of these parts of the business can miss data that’s only in the call center or other customer service channels.  Bridging this gap is where customer journey orchestration comes in. By connecting those disparate channels to enable communications across them, customer journey orchestration can also suppress communications to ensure that issue resolution is first and foremost when something goes wrong. Just as importantly, when things are fixed and the customer has had a positive experience with the service, then your business should be ready to resume its marketing and other loyalty efforts. 

Keeping True to Do Not Contact

sometimes customer journeys need inaction to proactively cultivate calmFor businesses, especially those concerned with GDPR regulations in Europe, it is crucial to listen when customers want to be forgotten, not contacted, or not receive marketing. Most businesses already try to do this, but struggle to make it happen. The reason? Often suppression that stops with a single flag or tag can leave people behind or in lists where they should not be. A “do not contact” or “do not email” request can be taken to mean a wide ranging request for your whole business, but certainly until you’ve confirmed, the best message may be to share no message at all. 

While we often lack insight into why a customer has asked us to stop marketing to or emailing them, sometimes there is data within the customer journey that can help. If they’ve had a previous negative service resolution, perhaps use a white glove approach to win them back as a customer. On the other hand, perhaps they have simply opted out because they have seen too many of your ads in the past. Sometimes, you can leverage survey data to get this deeper view. If they’ve opted out because they find your ads creepy or intrusive, that’s actually a useful datapoint. Merely fulfilling their request to not contact may miss opportunities to truly add more value in the future.  It’s actually crucial that – barring their request to be forgotten- you keep their data fresh as possible. Doing so lets you proactively avoid communicating with unwilling customers. Even better, if they ever do raise their hand again it lets your business send only the most relevant messaging. 

Use Environmental and Real Time Data for Targeted Pausing 

Environmental factors can impact supression for customer journeysSometimes the right time is simply not “right now”. This can be for a variety of reasons, but comes down to making the right decisions on marketing, service, sales, and every other facet of your business based on what is going on around your customer. This use-case for customer journey orchestration is quite complex, but the value it adds is incredible. When Kitewheel orchestrated real-time weather updates to sync with emails for a travel brand from the UK, we were able to deliver more personalized results in real time based on the customer’s location. While this was a proactive way of changing communications rather than a method to suppress, the same techniques can be used in the case of an emergency, weather, political event or any other relevant factor.

For example, consider a business that sells rain jackets and galoshes. If your normal audience in the United Kingdom had somehow experienced a magical period of dryness that lasted several days, imagine if your system could automatically detect that and wait until the rains return. Meanwhile during a hot dry period, dynamic summer-wear ads could present a timely message. Meanwhile, if a massive fire has swept through a community, being able to suppress your advertisements for grilling equipment may save the company money, but also prevent heartache in your displaced customers. Doing this for your customers requires special preparations behind the scenes, but suppressing irrelevant or hurtful messages can have an outsized impact on customer experience. 

Conclusion: Achieving Proactive Inaction

Achieve a zen-like state of customer journey proactive inactionIn the new world of customer journeys, proactivity is key. This means being able to predict what your customer wants or needs before they even know it. Sometimes this means remaining quiet or waiting to communicate for a better moment. The three examples given only scratch the surface of what customer journey orchestration can do. To learn more, check out our Marketer’s Guide to Customer Journey Orchestration.  While all parts of the business are involved in customer journeys, it’s often marketers who have to make the difficult calls about when customer messaging needs to be adjusted.