In recent bulletins I have outlined the notion of the total engagement ; complete solution conversation customer experience and the types of service models and skills required to successfully execute such an offer. This month I would like to cascade the imagery of this customer experience down to granular levels to assist in the understanding. Please indulge me while I play some word games with you.

I am going to take the liberty of labouring the terms react -> respond // prompt – proact. And I want to put it to you that there is some kind an imaginary line in the conversational sand that represents the transition from react and respond to prompt and proact. If you conduct a google dictionary search to check the literal meaning of these terms, you will find something like…

React = act in response to something; respond in a particular way.

“he reacted angrily to the news of his dismissal”

Respond = a verbal or written answer.

“there was laughter at his response to the question”

     = a reaction to something.

“an extended, jazzy piano solo drew the biggest response from the crowd”

Its interesting that the word react is used to help define respond , and vice versa. Fair to say that I think most of us would differentiate these two terms by thinking about react as something we often do on the spur of the moment , often with little pre-consideration, a somewhat automatic response.

Conversely I think most of us would attribute more pre-thinking and consideration before acting when we think about respond.

If I make an attempt to translate to the health customer at the dispensary, I would posit that, by and large, we mainly react in terms of the dominant conversation mode, to the script bearing and the instructional self medicating OTC customer. Further, I would posit that, by and large, we mainly respond in terms of the dominant conversation mode, to the enquiring OTC customer who is describing symptoms and asking what to do/take. If I go back to the literal definition and look up “prompt”, I find …. give rise to/bring about/produce/provoke/precipitate. Literal definition of proact , I find …. to take action in advance of an expected event. Again, if I make an attempt to translate to the health customer coming to the dispensary, I would posit that a conversation that , having duly fulfilled the react and respond customer expectations, and crosses that imaginary line in the sand to take the customer by the “conversational hand” and lead into health topics that exceed the narrow reasons and shallow expectations ,teaching them things they did not know, providing appropriate products, service and advice is prompting and proactive. And this is the hallmark of the complete solution conversation service model.

The data we collect at TNL, measuring and benchmarking customer engagement effectiveness and script processing efficiency, supports my “by and large” case. The data tells us that the Australian averages for duration of prompting and proactive conversation at the otc counter, at 36 seconds, is around half the duration reacting and responding. For script customers, where the average for prompting and proactive conversation duration is 35 seconds, the data tells us that this is less than a third the duration reacting and responding.  The great opportunity for real differentiation and relevance as we head toward the next community agreement is to flip these duration proportions around, in order to provide a true total engagement and complete solution service model NOW.