You heard us: proactive customer service (or proactive customer support) is the missing key to your CX strategy. And you don’t even need any fancy or high-tech integrations. No artificial intelligence or chatbots, just good old-fashioned attention! Make sure you know your customers and their journeys, and you’re all set. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about proactive customer service, what the benefits are, and 6 ways to get started!
Sit back, relax, and try to think about the last time you received truly great customer service? Maybe you ordered something online, paid for it, and then found out that actually the product was out of stock. Maybe you then contacted the webshop and, rather than just telling you there was nothing they could do and issuing you a refund, the customer service representative surprised you: They took the time to search inventory in the physical stores in your area and had the product delivered right to your door!
That’s something you would remember, right? Well that’s what proactive customer service is all about. It provides added value to your experience, prompting you to leave raving reviews and come back when you need something. On the other end of things, that’s what we call customer delight and customer retention – two things that are vital to any business.
Proactive customer service is just what it sounds like. It’s when you make the first move to provide support, before your customer feels the need to reach out. There are many ways to do this: by introducing new products and services, letting your customer base know about technical errors or bugs on your website or app in real time, and/or simply going out of your way to provide top notch CX.
Now, the word ‘proactive’ itself might leave some room for interpretation, so let’s compare it to reactive customer service, something every CX team knows all too well.
Let’s visualise. In front of you there are two doors… But really, imagine that in front of you there are two doors and you can only pick one.
To get to the businesses behind Door 1, customers have to open the door themselves. They have to fill in a form, call, or send an email when they stumble upon an issue. Then they wait. This is reactive customer service.
To get to the businesses behind Door 2, there’s someone there to open the door for you. These are businesses who anticipate their customer’s issues and address them before the customer can contact them. They do this by creating knowledge bases, extensive FAQs, videos that instruct customers how to do something or troubleshoot an issue, and/or by sending proactive WhatsApp or SMS messages with relevant and timely information. This is proactive customer service at its best.
Sure, some businesses implement reactive and proactive customer service, but there are still far too many who still only operate with reactive customer service only.
With proactive customer service, businesses have the unique opportunity to not only meet but also exceed customer expectations. Here’s how proactive customer support can benefit your business:
– Proactive customer service protects against escalation. The #1 cause for complaining customers is a poor experience. By being proactive, you can eliminate a potential crisis before it occurs, or turn a negative experience into a positive one!
– Proactive customer service helps you retain existing customers. Many business leaders are familiar with the phrase ‘Retaining customers is more valuable than acquiring new ones’. Being proactive helps you deepen relationships with existing customers and, in turn, retaining them.
– Proactive customer service creates customer advocates. Retained customers can turn into customer advocates. The more positive experiences you provide, the more customers will share and recommend your brand to others. On average, happy customers tell at least 3 other people about a positive experience!
Luckily, proactive customer service is much easier than you would expect. It doesn’t have to be expensive or time consume, and its driving force is something you probably already do: putting your customers first.
Make yourself available for customers across a range of communications channels, such as phone, email, live chat, and messaging. By letting your customers contact you through their preferred channels, you can serve them more effectively.
Enable your customers to help themselves by creating a knowledge base and/or FAQ that addresses questions that your customers are currently experiencing, for example. You can get this information from present and past customer service data. Or, create how-to videos that take customers through the steps to troubleshooting potential issues. And just be honest! If there are existing issues or bugs, let your customers know as soon as you know!
Proactive customer service is about giving customers what they want. To do that, you need to know what they want. Check in with your customers using feedback surveys to identify areas of weakness within the customer journey, and make necessary changes before customers have a chance to notice!
Pay attention to how your customers talk about your business on social media and review websites. This is called social listening. Use this opportunity to reach out to the customers who had negative experiences. This allows you to address your customers’ needs and increase satisfaction.
Implementing a rewards program for regular customers can be a powerful tool to increase loyalty. It provides an additional positive interaction with customers and strengthens your relationship with them. In the context of proactive customer service, think of offering a 5% discount on their next subscription renewal to acknowledge them for being a loyal client.
Being a software solution provider, we know just how important it is to make sure our platform is secure and stable. We’re all just trying our best to reduce bugs, glitches, and downtime, but sometimes your best is all you can do. Not even Facebook can avoid issues! But if a problem occurs, it’s better to be transparent about it. Let your customers in on what you know, and let them know how to contact you if they have questions of feedback.
Proactive customer service is more than just about keeping your customers happy. It’s about creating strong relationships that lead customers to become brand advocates who, in turn, can help drive new business.
Interested in implementing a proactive customer service model on all your service channels? Request a Saysimple demo and find out how messaging channels can enable you to serve your customers on the channels they prefer.