Customer service teams now have more resources at their disposal than ever for understanding and assisting customers. This means that there are plenty of opportunities for companies looking to step up their service. Still, some of these opportunities are more valuable than others in terms of the potential impact they can make on the customer experience. And one of the most valuable of these is customer data.
If you’re not yet using customer data as part of your approach to service, read on. In this post, we’ll explain why data is so valuable for support, along with six ways companies can use it to create better experiences for their customers.
Why Data should Play a Role in Customer Service
Almost every company already collects data on their customers to a certain extent. Demographic information, purchase history, and even browsing habits are now all relatively easy to track thanks to advanced customer data platforms.
But many companies only use this data for marketing purposes. They use information on individual customers’ purchases and site activity to offer personalized advertisements and offers.
And while this can be effective, it’s not the only way to use data — and it might not even be the most valuable. Today, many companies that wow their customers use data to offer more personalized customer service.
By integrating the platforms you use to manage customer information with your support software, you can give your support team access to valuable details about your customers.
Then, they can use this information to not only adjust their overall approach to customer service to be more in line with your audience’s expectations but also offer more personalized support experiences to individual customers.
After all, every customer service interaction can provide useful insight into your customers’ needs and preferences. And when you use this insight to shape future interactions, you can improve your level of service over time.
Plus, as you learn more about your audience, you can begin to shift from a reactive to a proactive approach — identifying your customers’ needs, and providing solutions before those customers even realize they want them.
6 Ways to Provide Proactive Customer Service by Leveraging Customer Data
If you’re not yet using customer data as part of your customer service strategy, you may be wondering where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of six ways brands can leverage customer data to provide better support.
1. Anticipate Customer Needs
One of the biggest advantages of leveraging customer data in support is that it allows teams to shift from a reactive approach to a proactive one.
Today, most customer service teams’ primary role is to respond to customer inquiries as they come in and resolve customers’ issues individually. This forces agents to take a reactive approach.
And up until recently, this was the only practical way to approach customer support. But that’s no longer the case. Thanks to advances in data management, support teams can now analyze user behavior to take a proactive approach.
For example, let’s say the support team for a B2B software company notices that new customers tend to reach out roughly one week after converting with questions about creating new accounts for other employees at their company.
Based on this insight, they might decide to create an automated email campaign that sends new customers information about user permissions five days after they begin using new software.
This way, the company can not only show that they’re in tune with their customers’ needs but can make sure that those customers have all of the information they need, right when they need it.
As a result, they’ll be able to continue using the product seamlessly — and the company’s support agents will be free to focus on other customer needs.
2. Offer Better Support Resources
In addition to delivering well-timed support, you can also use customer data to make it easier for your customers to help themselves.
For example, let’s say a customer has been using your product for a few weeks and decides to try a new feature for the first time, but has some trouble figuring it out.
Some customers in this situation will have no problem reaching out to your support team to ask for assistance. But many others would rather find the information they need online.
In fact, a Forrester study found that 70% of customers prefer to use a company’s website to find answers to their questions rather than phone or email support.
This means that offering helpful self-service resources is now an essential part of an effective customer service strategy. And customer data can be a valuable resource when creating them.
You can use past interactions to determine the issues your customers run into most frequently, then use this insight to create resources that help customers resolve those issues themselves.
This way, you can be confident that your customers have the tools they need to get value out of your product, whether they decide to ask for help or not.
3. Speed Up the Support Process
Both of the examples we’ve covered so far focus on using customer data to address customer needs before they reach out to your support team. But data can also be used as part of your agents’ interactions.
That’s because the more data a support agent has about a customer, the more efficiently they’ll be able to provide assistance. After all, many of their interactions likely begin with asking customers for basic information account IDs, order numbers, and purchase history.
But you can eliminate the need for these questions by making customer data accessible to your support team. This way, they can jump straight into the issue at hand — and get to a resolution much more efficiently.
4. Tailor the Support Experience to Individual Needs
Successful customer service teams know that every customer has their own unique set of needs, and their own reasons for choosing to purchase from or partner with a company.
If they take the time to identify those needs, they can store this information in their customer support platform.
This way, when an agent begins an interaction with a long-time customer, they can go beyond checking out a few basic account details. They can use past interactions to get a sense of that customer’s goals and approach their conversation accordingly.
As a result, each customer will receive support that’s tailored to their interest and needs — instead of getting generic, one-size-fits-all solutions.
5. Offer Personalized Recommendations
As teams collect data on their customers’ needs, they can use it to go beyond resolving those customers’ issues. After addressing the inquiry at hand when a customer reaches out, they might also choose to offer personalized recommendations.
Because customer service teams interact with customers more frequently than other employees, they have the unique opportunity to pitch upsells and cross-sells. If they want some help sharpening their pitch, they can even work on some collaboration magic and call on some expert help from their CRM.
And if they make these pitches based on a customer’s unique goals, they’ll be much more likely to succeed.
6. Initiate Conversations at the Right Time
Building long-term customer relationships require making sure that each of your customers is satisfied with their experience on a regular basis. The best way to do this is by asking for feedback.
And while many companies approach this task by sending quarterly or annual surveys, this isn’t the most effective approach. After all, if a customer hasn’t engaged with your support team in several weeks, they may not feel strongly either way about your customer service.
That’s why when it comes to collecting helpful feedback, timing is important — and you can use customer data to get it right.
For example, if you want to collect feedback on your support team, the most logical time to ask customers about their experiences is shortly after they interact with an agent.
In this case, you might create an automated email campaign with a customer feedback survey that deploys 24 hours after an agent marks a ticket resolved. You could also use customer data to personalize the email with the agent’s name, and an overview of the interaction. This way, you can be confident that the feedback you’re receiving is accurate.
Providing excellent service is a necessity for any business. And although it can be challenging, leveraging customer data can help you take a more proactive approach to customer issues.
Instead of waiting for customers to bring their problems to your team, you can use data to anticipate those problems and prevent them from happening in the first place.
And for the problems you can’t eliminate in advance, you can use customer data to speed up the support process and resolve them as quickly as possible.
You can also use the insight you gain to tailor the support experience to individual customers and provide personalized solutions for each of their needs.
With this approach, you can stop focusing on simply keeping up with your queue of customer inquiries, and instead shift that focus on providing a better customer experience right from the start.