Don’t you feel completely happy after satisfactory customer service? Doesn’t it feel really good when you get that compensation for delayed delivery even without asking? Or when the Netflix suggestions are exactly what was on your mind?
The answer is yes, yes, and yes to all those. We all love hearty customer service: the kind of service where the brand just knows what is your grievance and they actively remove it. That is the kind of service that makes an impact today on our customers. It is the service that is received even without asking. It’s when you know the business is here to serve their customers and not take them for granted.
We are in a world where trust is hard to build. Businesses are always seen as these big corporate structures who see their customers as money bags. However, sloppy service is no longer acceptable. Customers deserve a brand that brings convenience and thoughtful service to them. They shouldn’t have to state out what is right or wrong. The brand should be developed enough to know it and perform better. In other words, you cannot buy customer loyalty with novelty goodie bags and one-time redeemable discounts. You have to predict their pain-points and personalize solutions that are relevant and unique to each customer that you serve. This is what we call proactive customer service.
What is Proactive Customer Service?
Why Reactive Customer Service Is No Longer Acceptable?
How to deliver Proactive Customer Service?
Proactive customer service is the kind of customer treatment where resolutions are already lined up even before the problems occur. In other words, you anticipate primary customer issues and chart out their solutions and compensations beforehand. You reach out to them with reparations before they face the issue and prevent it. This protects the customers from a lot of inconvenience and frustration while they feel gratified and taken care of by the brand.
For example, recently I booked a flight and most airlines just drop a sloppy mail or inform you on the boarding day of any rescheduling. However, the brand I chose called me thrice with a broadcast on my rescheduled flight, renewed itinerary and a compensation package. Not only did it bring the problem to my notice, but I was also cushioned for the blow. Somehow, I was no longer mad or disheartened by the change in my schedule. Hence, making the first move to assist your customers is always a smart choice, tipping the stakes in your favour.
We are living in a modern world where technology can predict patterns and intentions. Customers are aware of how advanced operations have become in every business and that the quality of service needs to become better. Businesses are no longer at a disadvantage due to the lack of technology or data. All of this is achievable through mining or learning historic data. With so much possibility, why would a customer accept reactive customer service?
Reactive customer service makes your brand seem reluctant to take care of their customers. Customers have to constantly chase after your business for the assistance they deserve. Not only is it frustrating but also it is unfair. Many businesses recognize this issue and have upped their games. They are offering premium customer service to set themselves apart. This is why reactive service will no longer get your business any growth. It can only take you through half the road.
Although, some issues are going to be miscellaneous and out of your prediction. Reacting to them immediately and effectively will retain the customer. Hence, be proactive wherever possible and react soon to unknown issues. That is the best way to meet customer expectations and not lose them to other competitors.
Believe it or not but since the onset of pandemic, people have been expecting brands to become a bit more proactive and sensitive towards their needs. It is obvious that during unexpected times, people need more reassurance and care. It made sense as people felt cornered and brands around the world had to recognize it. This is why in the last two years, brands revamped their customer service approach and focused more on data to predict shortcomings. Let’s take a look at how they became proactive.
At the core of proactive customer service, there is data which identifies popular trends, primary customer concerns, future customer issues, agent-related issues and more. Collecting data will help you know your customers better and make the necessary decisions. You can use AI-based speech recognition, call analytics, review incoming texts and emails, analyze all tickets and conclude what problems your customers face more often. What is plaguing their experience? Once you find the questions, you can answer them and share them. It can be done by posting on your knowledge base or sharing it on your Reddit thread. Use information to guide your agents, proactively call your customers and educate them and or send an email blast. Either way, identify your problems first and only then you can become proactive.
Every customer is unique and so is their journey with your brand. Some have a high spent budget with your business while others have limited expenditure. Different customers have different preferences and issues. You will be able to curate solutions if you have access to historical data i.e. previous conversations across any channel. With an omnichannel contact center, intercommunication in place, you can tap into older notes, conversations and learn about the customer. Based on this information, you can understand how to approach the customer and offer something that they will appreciate.
With social media being an open place for opinions, it is advised to monitor your accounts. Your audience might be submitting their feedback or complaints on these platforms. These might not become tickets, but you can reach out to them and raise on their behalf. Many millennial or GenZ customers prefer vocalizing about product feedback on social media. You can engage in these conversations and learn more about their experience. Based on this, you can handle the customers more proactively.
Proactive service is not limited to helping customers. It also means proactively rewarding them for being with your business. Incentivizing them from time to time makes them feel like a part of a family. This trust built overtime should be acknowledged and it will ensure that they never choose another business for their needs. Loyalty programs include VIP offers, exclusive membership privileges and other credits added to their accounts for their dedicated association. These customers are a privilege for every brand as they become lifetime advocates in their social circle for your brand.
Lastly, make information public. Proactively educate your customers on how to resolve issues if they face any. If they can resolve it by themselves, teach them how to. Many tech-based companies now invest in explainer videos and upload them on their YouTube channel. These videos assist their customers to self-service and learn more about their products. Similarly, update your product pages, knowledge base and online forums if any. Customers nowadays, always google their issues before filing a ticket. While the internet is filled with a lot of second-hand information, your information on the top will guide customers better.
Proactive customer service can reduce friction that can damage customer relationships. Even in a crisis, admit your mistakes and reach out to them beforehand. This preserves the customers and builds faith. It helps customers to believe in your business for better service in the future and prevents them from switching. I guess, it is fair to say that prevention is better than cure. That is the same approach one has to apply when it comes to tending to customers.
Author Bio: Sweta is a passionate technical writer with experience in digital marketing. Outside work, she is a devoted Esports advocate.