What is Proactive Customer Service, and How to Implement it in Your Organization
The words ‘proactive customer service’ has been thrown around quite often in the customer support world. This buzzword might seem overwhelming at first glance, but it’s a rather simple approach to adopt and implement. Companies such as Amazon, Slack, and Netflix, have delivered delightful proactive support experiences that customers recollect as wow customer support stories.
Brands that take the effort to make their customers feel special almost always secure a spot in their customers’ hearts. But what do these brands do differently than the rest? Do they shower their customers with discounts and offers? Or, do they extend customer subscription plans by a month for free?
The secret ingredient to the success of these brands surpasses the glamour of discounts and offers. It involves a shift in the way they approach customer service — the shift from reactive customer service to proactive customer service.
But what does proactive customer service entail? How can you switch from providing reactive support to proactive support? The answers to these questions along with some useful points on how you can adopt a proactive approach have been documented in this article.
What is Proactive Customer Service?
Proactive customer support is when you take steps to help your customers resolve issues before they occur. That is, you address a customer’s problem even before they run into one, by spotting or anticipating the issue in advance and extending support to resolve it.
For instance, Amazon anticipates questions on delivery dates and times. So instead of waiting for customers reaching out to ask about their delayed deliveries, they let the customer know what the new delivery date will be. If the customer is an Amazon Prime subscriber, Amazon will sometimes even credit them one free month of the service for this inconvenience, all without the customer ever making an inquiry.
This is in contrast to reactive customer support, wherein, a customer gets in touch with your support team only after they encounter an issue. At that point, customers usually have an issue that isn’t easy to fix without direction, so they have to wait for your help.
Now that we’ve established the difference between the two approaches, let’s take a look at why you need to adopt a proactive approach to customer support.
Why Should You Adopt a Proactive Customer Service Approach?
– Improves retention rates: Proactive customer service increases retention rates by 3-5%1 which in turn increases customer loyalty. Improved retention rates and customer loyalty helps you save resources, as retained customers are worth more and cost less than acquiring new customers. The improved customer loyalty and retention rates, spill over into customer satisfaction and can increase average CSAT scores and NPS.
– Boosts brand reputation: Recent customer support statistics show that loyal customers are five times more likely to make a repeat purchase and four times more likely to refer other people to the brand. So taking the effort to help your customers proactively can help you develop a better brand image.
– Frees up your team: You will also have fewer support calls to field as your proactive support initiatives will help customers resolve issues on their own. Fielding fewer tickets will allow your support team to use their time for more important efforts.
With all of this in mind, let’s look at how you can create your own proactive customer support initiatives.
How to Implement Proactive Customer Service in Your Organization
Implementing proactive customer service is a combined effort that involves your team, your customers and company. Here are three prerequisites that you need to be mindful of before getting started:
#1 Know your customers
Before you start anticipating your customers’ needs, you need to spend some time getting to know them. If you don’t know who they are, what they need, or what issues they experience, then you’ll never be able to proactively support them. Here are a few ideas on how you can gather that feedback:
– Analyze customer behavior to see where website bounces and churn occur.
– Interview your current customers, find out their pain points.
– Use information from your helpdesk to see where common issues arise. Address them first.
#2 Form the right support team
The true power of proactive customer service solutions will work best with a solid team behind it – and this does not just include your support staff. Everyone in your organization has insights and experience that can be used to build proactive customer service initiatives that benefit your customers. That means you’ll need to focus on building a team that has a good mix of people from different functions in your organization.
However, building a great customer support team takes time. You’ll need to assess new hires, train your staff to think proactively and implement ideas from across your organization. Only then will you be able to gather insights from the people in your organization to provide stellar support to your customers.
#3 Build a content library
FAQs, forums, and self-help portals are awesome proactive support tools, but only if you populate them with helpful, engaging, and easy to follow content. A well-documented knowledge base that has FAQs and how-to guides can go a long way in helping you implement proactive customer service.
Make sure that your content is easily accessible on your website, and try to avoid these common pitfalls:
– Don’t restrict access to information.
– Don’t forget to brand your support forums.
– Clear out clutter and repetitive, unhelpful topics.
– Make sure there’s a search option.
– Don’t let your support become obsolete.
– Ensure that it’s easy to receive customer feedback.
– Complement self-help with live support or other channels.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at how you can get started.
3 Simple Ways to Get Started with Proactive Customer Service
#1 Predict user frustration
Sometimes, when a customer is facing an issue while browsing through your website or making a purchase, it is very evident in their actions. Customers often tend to ‘rage click’ (clicking repeatedly and rapidly on one point), ‘dead click’ (clicking on something that looks clickable but isn’t) or ‘thrash cursors’ (moving the mouse erratically or in circles) when they are frustrated. Investing in a tool that lets you track these frustration signals can help you extend timely help to your customers.
For instance, using Freshdesk, you can trigger the help widget to automatically pop up when customers display signs of frustration. By embedding your knowledge base in your widget, your customers can quickly browse through solution articles and try to resolve the issue by themselves. Alternatively, the widget serves as a window for customers to share the issue they are facing. An agent from your team can then reach out to the customer to offer help.
#2 Recover abandoned carts and follow up on payment failures
Customers might also face issues while trying to complete a purchase. When a customer adds a product to their cart and does not complete the purchase, you should reach out to them and find out what went wrong. Show your customers that you genuinely care about providing a seamless shopping experience by following up with these visitors by sending personalized emails. If you do not have the bandwidth to reach out to individual customers who abandoned their carts, then you can design an email campaign targeting all these customers, with a call to action that would compel them to revisit their carts.
For instance, Bonobos sends an email when their customers abandon carts, and also offer a 20% discount coupon.
#3 Create personalized campaigns
One of the most important aspects of proactive support is communication. Informing your customers about relevant issues and problems is very important. For instance, you can give your customers a heads up prior to scheduled downtimes, as opposed to having them connect with you or raise tickets when they encounter the inactive webpage or app. By telling them that there’s a downtime coming up, you’re giving your customers enough time to plan workarounds.
Using Freshdesk, you can create personalized email campaigns and send bulk emails to all your customers, or a segment of them. You can reach out to your customers and effectively communicate how long the downtime would last, who to reach out to if there are urgent customer concerns, and any other details that will make their lives easier during this time.
For instance, Heap Analytics is an analytics tool that helps users track interactions on websites and iOS apps. When they notice that a particular query takes longer than usual to execute, they reach out to the customer to apologize for the slow performance. Take a look at what they say:
Additionally, you can also gather feedback about the product after the purchase is made using email outreach.
To Sum Up
Proactive customer support is a great way to ensure that service tickets are not piling up, and is proven to help boost customer loyalty and their willingness to buy again.
Get to know your customers through your analytics and direct feedback. Their most common issues are the first place to start. You also need to spend time building a solid customer support team and then spreading their mentality through your business. A customer-centric business will outperform its competitors almost every time.
It’s also in your best interest to be as transparent as possible. Customers want to know what’s going on and why their experience is less than optimal.
Finally, take all of the insights you’ve gathered and work on building a content library that’s accessible to everyone.
When all of these proactive support elements are in place, you’ll see a huge difference in the way your customer support runs. You’ll spend less time catching up, and more time forging ahead.
1 – https://gdsgroup.com//us/