When I facilitate customer strategy workshops, I ask participants to share a story of their best and worst customer experiences.  The best experience is challenging but as you can imagine the worst is relatively easy to share. I get regaled by terrible experiences regarding telecommunication, banking, travel, etc all the time.

However, the best experiences are always a bit of a struggle for most participants.

When they do eventually come up with stories of their best experiences there is always one common element. Before I tell you what it is, have a think about a few of your own great customer experiences …. did you notice a common theme?

What comes up time and time again whether it’s stories from 10 years ago or just last week is that the brand, or the people who work at that brand, went above and beyond what was normally expected of them.

Here are some examples (hover your mouse over each one to pause the slideshow):

All of the above are great examples of experiences that can easily be described as proactive.

But what’s the impact?

We have quantified the impact of customer experiences that customers describe as proactive versus those that aren’t. This is based on over 7500+ Australian customer responses across banking, superannuation, property insurance, motor insurance and health insurance. Our analysis shows that comparing customer experiences described as proactive to those that don’t make the cut is associated with a 54-69 NPS point gap depending on the sector.

This is a massive difference!

What can brands do to truly leverage this?

Although a person-to-person connection has a great capacity for proactivity to feature, there is nothing stopping brands from putting into place processes and systems which can display their proactivity on a broader scale.

A recent example of this comes from no other than an Australian telecommunications provider. One of their offerings are SIM-only plans with no lock-in contracts. It could be said that customers who purchase this are less valuable to the organisation than those who are locked into 12-24 month contracts, or those who have also purchased a phone through a contract. So, what makes this brand stand out? When a SIM-only, month-to-month customer reaches their data limit before the month is up not only do they receive a notification, but after two consecutive months the organisation offers the customer a discounted upgrade to their plan. Note:

  • This was not a random upsell offer provided via a mass mail-out.
  • They didn’t wait for the customer to weigh up the options of deciding if they needed to upgrade.
  • They didn’t view this as an opportunity to make money by waiting for the customer to pay excess data fees

It’s personal, valuable and helpful.

Critically, it’s memorable because it stands out from the typical stories of telecommunication giants being unresponsive, impersonal and charging exorbitant fees.

Brands like these are not the future of customer experience, they are the here and now. So, is your brand in this league?

The Australian brands that are leading the way

Based on our extensive CX experience and knowledge across 20+ industries, proactivity has always been a key distinguishing characteristic of NPS leaders. Our Intelligent Industry Analytics analysed 7500+ actual customers and revealed the brands that Australians thought were the most proactive across the following sectors:

I want to leave you with the following questions to ponder:

  • How does your brand empower and train your staff to find opportunities to be proactive and create memorable experiences?
  • What systemic and process-based changes can you make so your entire brand is seen to be proactive?

Let me know what your brand does to bring proactivity to your customer experience in the comments.