Ever had an unexpectedly pleasant customer service experience? Like, you ordered something online, but the store didn’t have it in stock. The brand manager (or support rep) soon realizes the technical glitch and identifies the mistake. So, within the next few minutes, the support rep manages to get your order complete from another branch. Later, they have it shipped to your doorstep. Insanely good, right?
Such a pleasant and surprising incident is exactly what reflects your brand’s proactivity.
We live in an era where 24/7 live chats and social media instantly connect skilled agents and managers to the customers in the most direct ways. Proactive customer service adds a significant value to the customer’s journey. It plays an outstanding role in increasing customer retention as well as customer delight.
The buzzword “customer proactivity” might seem overwhelming in the beginning. But it is instead a simple approach to adopt and implement. Enterprise giants such as Amazon, Netflix, Slack, etc., have delivered delightful proactive support experiences that customers can recollect as WOW customer support stories.
This article is all about the whats, whys, and hows of implementing proactive customer service. We’ll talk about:
But before we begin, let’s start with proactive customer engagement (or proactive customer support).
Customers of the 21st century have soaring expectations from brands:
Everything narrows down to proactivity in the end. It is as if customers are waiting for brands to become telepathic and know everything. Although, with proactive customer service, this is not entirely impossible.
Proactive customer service means when you create solutions to your customers’ problems before they ever occur. It could be anything from a phone call, notifications regarding their queries, a knowledge base section, or a frequently asked questions page. Here are a few benefits of proactive customer engagement:
Don’t say that you have enough on your plate already. I know you’d say that you’re already doing so much for your customers. But trust me, providing proactive customer support is more about strategizing and won’t take much of your time.
The simplest example of proactive customer support is Autopilot, an IT and services company. It reaches out to its customers who visit their knowledge base website. This type of proactive follow-up makes sure that all customers can find solutions to their queries.
This strategy helps them reach customers who are unsatisfied with the knowledge base. It also opens a line of communication for customers who want to reach out to let AutoPilot know where their knowledge base page is lacking.
Proactive customer support is precisely like vaccination. It is a preventive measure that’ll protect your body against a virus that may affect you in the future. Proactive customer support offers solutions to problems that haven’t happened yet.
Reactive customer support is like post-virus medication. It is a reactive treatment of your body against a virus that has already affected you. The support reps step in once the problem has occurred.
Proactive support means the brand initiates contact and reactive support means the customer is the first to reach out. An ideal scenario would be to use both strategies. When you notice patterns in a customer’s purchasing behavior, proactive support will enable you to recommend services that supplement their processes. Proactive customer service is the only way forward. Still not convinced?
A UK-based company, Anglian Water, sends more than 200,000 emails/SMS messages to their customers every year to notify them of outages in their area. They’ve reported saving between £100,000 and £200,000 in call center costs every year! It has helped them dramatically decrease customer calls.
Start delivering frictionless and proactive customer service with excellent helpdesk tools.
Implementing proactive customer service is not a big deal, and you can easily switch to this approach without making many changes and hefty investments. Make simple changes and turn the table in your favor in no time. Here are five minor changes that you can make to implement proactive customer service:
Nothing matters more than the customer’s feedback. And one of the biggest mistakes that companies make is assuming that they know everything about their customers and needs. It is nearly impossible to know what your customers want without directly asking them.
Ask questions like, “What do you wish we can do more?” or “How can we improve your support experience with us?” to gain insights into becoming more proactive in the future.
Pick a helpdesk that lets you integrate your survey/feedback tools and makes it simpler for you to collect qualitative and quantitative customer data.
No matter how accurately you plan, things never go as they should. The same would apply to your customer service situation. The best you can do is empathize with the customer’s problems and take full accountability for the issue.
If you are facing uncertain situations, inform the customers about it before they escalate. For instance,
You can create a newsletter/email template to inform or update them about your situation. It would also work wonders for reducing customer frustration.
Knowledge bases exchange more information about your company than any agent can ever exchange. It can include articles, FAQs, and video tutorials so that customers can troubleshoot issues independently.
Providing a knowledge base is a form of proactive support. It is because you as a brand are anticipating possible queries and giving customers access to the information to resolve their issues before they even arise. You can optimize your self-service tools by connecting the articles to chatbots and virtual bots.
It is a U.S. truck rental company that uses an intelligent virtual agent for web self-service. The virtual agent answers questions instantly and has reduced inbound calls by 28%. It alone saved the company a whopping $875,000 in costs within the first seven months of its rollout.
As a result, they increased their online bookings by 35% and reduced their email volume by 74%.
Learn this phrase by heart and tell your agents to follow it too. Every customer problem is essential, and you must keep a record of all of them. Recordkeeping will help you understand problems so you can rectify them over time.
Moreover, if you are receiving the same complaints repeatedly, you can segregate an appropriate solution. Later you can share it with the customers facing the same issue at the same time.
Bad customer service invites a lot of bad press. Company scandals spread around social media channels like wildfire and make your shortcomings visible publicly. Therefore, you need to monitor what customers say about your company on social media.
Brands miss out on valuable information and opportunities to better understand their customers. It is always best to pay attention to what your customers are talking about and track the bad reviews about your brand.
Conduct regular social listening and follow keywords and hashtags related to your business. It will open doors for proactive support on social media. For example, if a customer tweets about how frustrated they are with their delayed delivery, you can respond instantly and offer a solution.
Tesco mobile proactively checks in with customers through their social media customer support. The company connects with its new customers on social media. After customers sign up, a support rep follows up, asking them about their experience. Additionally, they ask questions like, “whether there is anything they can do to help?”
Hootsuite launched a “Hootsuite Helpers” program through a Twitter account. Hootsuite can successfully reach out to their customers through social platforms and prompts users to interact with support when needed. This way, Hootsuite is engaging its audience in a space where they know attracts a massive audience.
Most brands have acknowledged the need for proactive customer support to boost their business rather than relying on reactive customer services.
It is high time to identify where your business can grow progressively by a proactive customer service approach. Businesses who successfully frame substantial customer journeys from pre-purchase to post-purchase by delivering value will enjoy the additional revenue by improving their customer engagements and loyalty.
Proactive customer service has become more of a marketing tool to initiate a new era of customer-centricity. So, if your prime concern right now is to satisfy your customer’s needs, then this proactive customer service will advocate your brand identity and save plenty of costs. You won’t have to struggle uphill to maintain your name and fame. You can reap its benefits too.
Gain customers’ trust and deliver exquisite help at the right time