The Secrets of Proactive Customer Service [Complete Guide]
Proactive customer service can take your company’s success from good to great. The more convenient and pleasurable you make customer interaction, the better your customers’ experience will be.
The more effort required on the customer’s part, the more time they have to rethink their purchase. They also have a reason to second guess your business and go somewhere else. So, how exactly does a company manage to enhance the customer journey? Proactive customer service is the answer.
What is Proactive Customer Service?
Customer service can either be reactive or proactive.
Reactive customer service adopts an approach of dealing with the customer inquiry once the issue has been raised.
Proactive customer service involves identifying and resolving customer queries before they even happen. This entails anticipating what the customer wants and providing the answer before it needs to be asked. Taking initiative is an important part of proactive customer service.
A very simple example of reactive customer service would involve avoiding to price sale items. Only once the customer asks you for the price do you give them the information. On the other hand, proactive customer service would anticipate that the customer will want to know the cost. Making sure all items are priced ensures customers can see the cost before needing to ask anyone.
By anticipating customer queries before they arise you can extend support to resolve or even avoid issues. Being proactive allows you to exceed customer expectations.
Benefits of Proactive Customer Service
A good strategy for business growth should place a large emphasis on effective and proactive customer service. Here are 5 ways that customer service will benefit your company.
- Increased Loyalty
Proactive customer service will allow you to build a good, trustworthy, and professional brand image. Happy customers will use your services repeatedly. They will become loyal followers of your brand. Repeat customers are an advantage since they cost your business less time and money than acquiring new customers.
- Enhanced Brand Reputation
Once your customers are loyal supporters of your brand they will tell others about it. Potential customers who have never used your business may develop a positive image of your brand due to peer recommendations. Customers will also engage in online reviews and social media discussions. Proactive customer service allows your customer to do your marketing for you.
- Decreased Support Calls and Increased Customer Acquisition
By addressing problems before they arise you will have less damage control to deal with later. Reducing the load of tickets and customer inquiries on your support team allows them more time to effectively handle other important issues. It also frees up time to acquire new customers and make use of opportunities to encourage prospective customers to use your brand.
Customer retention does not only refer to keeping clients who are already loyal to your brand happy. It entails reaching out to customers who have used your brand but are impartial to it.
Proactively reaching out to these customers via email, company newsletters, coupons, and social media, can deepen your business relationship. Being proactive will keep your brand at the forefront of customers’ minds. This will count in your favor especially if your competitors are not doing the same.
- Avoid Accelerated Dissatisfaction
Consider a service that provides electricity to a specific neighborhood. The company knows that there will be a power outage due to maintenance. A proactive approach will entail notifying their customers beforehand about the outage. This will reduce call center costs and help avoid:
- Service failure without notice
- Being overwhelmed by inquiries, calls, and complaints
- Negative customer experiences
- Customer dissatisfaction and sharing thereof on social media
- Customer losses
How to Implement Proactive Customer Service
Moving from a reactive to a proactive business strategy does not need a lot of money or time. It will require a mind shift and full team support.
Here are 5 ways to start implementing proactive customer service in your business:
- Improve Accessibility
Not having access to service support is extremely frustrating for customers. Allow customers to get in touch with you across a range of communication channels including email, social media, and by phone. Being accessible allows you to help customers effectively and limits their frustration.
- Establish a Support Team
Proactive customer service is only possible when your entire business team commits to putting the customer first. Establish this as a core value in your business and when training new staff. When your full staff complement works together with the client’s best interest in mind, customer service will go from good to great.
- Empower Customers With Easily Accessible Information
Self-help portals and FAQ sections make it easy for customers to find answers to common questions.
Alert customers of existing issues that they can troubleshoot themselves. This can be done by providing step by step guides, FAQ’s, and a content library of useful tips and procedures.
When setting up this information make sure that it:
- Is helpful, engaging, and easy to follow
- Is easily accessible
- Is branded with your logo
- Contains a search function
- Is easy and simple to navigate
- Does not contain repetitive, unhelpful, or irrelevant content
- Answers common questions
In addition, always provide customers access to live support channels or ways to submit feedback.
- Communicate Clearly
Communication is a key aspect of proactive customer service. It is better for customers to hear about an issue from you instead of waiting for them to realize there is a problem after it has happened.
If, for example, you are scheduling a software upgrade, inform customers beforehand that they will not be able to access their systems at a certain time. This way customers can plan ahead rather than being frustrated when they cannot access their information.
Another example of proactive communication is sending emails to customers 30 days before subscription renewals. This gives customers time to plan ahead. It also prevents unnecessary subscription cancellations, payment failures, or payment reversals.
Provide customers with a reason, timeline, and contact details for questions or feedback.
- Reach Out and Reward
Embrace opportunities to be proactive by staying aware of what customers are saying about you on social media. Address any concerns, apologize when necessary, and offer rewards or coupons. Express appreciation for good reviews.
A customer-focused business will outperform its competitors almost every time.
Benefits of proactive customer service are:
- Increased loyalty
- Enhanced brand reputation
- Decreased support calls and increased customer acquisition
- Customer retention
- Avoiding customer disappointments
5 Ways to implement proactive customer service include:
- Improving service accessibility
- Establishing a support team
- Empowering customers with relevant and helpful information
- Effective customer communication
- Proactively reaching out to and rewarding customers
Are you proactive in the customer support you deliver?
CustomersFirst Academy offers comprehensive customer service training designed to help you grow your skills and advance your career.
To keep learning and developing your knowledge of customer service, we highly recommend the additional resources below:
Customer Service Tools: Finding the Best Customer Database Software for Your Team
All You Need to Know about First Call Resolution in Customer Service
7 Effective Strategies to Improve Medical Customer Service
Exploring a Career as a Customer Service Manager