15 Examples of Brands That Deliver Proactive Support and How to Learn From Them
Customer support is a make or break service for a business that differs by region.
While 24/4 live chats and support phone numbers that connect to skilled agents and managers are the most direct ways to communicate with your audience, it helps to also practice proactive customer service techniques.
Proactive support occurs when you create solutions to your customers’ problems before they ever occur. This could be a phone call to alert customers about outages, a knowledge base section of your website, or a frequently asked questions page.
Rather than rely on support tickets and in bound calls, Facebook gives customers several way to solve their own problems.
The social media giant provides content on their site that answers frequently asked questions and walks the user through some of the system’s features. Its dynamic help section provides documentation on various topics along with site overviews for new users.
Tours of new features are also made available whenever they roll out.
Through Facebook’s example and success, we can see that users want to be able to learn as they go and figure things out firsthand.
Video streaming issues can render services like Netflix completely unusable. Netflix realized the detriment that this posed to their business and took proactive steps to appease their customers whenever something like this were to occur.
When issues happen that prevent Netflix users from streaming, the company releases a statement letting them know of the outage. What’s truly remarkable here is that they do not attempt to hide the issue or insult the intelligence of their subscribers.
Instead, Netflix apologizes for the issue, sometimes giving all users a credit on their accounts to make up for the lost time.
Netflix shows us through this proactive example that taking the initiative is important, long before your customers start to call in and complain.
AT&T helps their subscribers avoid the phenomenon known as “bill shock.” This occurs when customers receive their first bill and don’t understand it. This typically results in confused inbound customer service calls.
To combat this, the phone company began providing a link with that first bill, which leads customers to a personalized video1 that walks them through their bill.
This helps AT&T unclog inbound support call volume and promote paperless billing.
Hootsuite is a social media management platform that launched a “Hootsuite Helpers2” program via a Twitter account.
Using this service, Hootsuite is able to reach out to their customers via social platforms and prompts users to interact with support when needed. What’s especially helpful about this service is the fact that Hootsuite is engaging its audience in a space where it already knows they frequent.
Amazon anticipates questions on delivery dates and times, notifying customers in advance of any delays.
They reach out, usually via email, letting the customer know what the new delivery date will be. If the customer is an Amazon Prime subscriber, Amazon will sometimes credit them one free month of the service for this inconvenience, all without the customer ever making an inquiry.
6. Virgin Media
This UK media Company proactively communicates with customers prior to service appointments.
This action was undertaken In response to an alarming report which showed that 10% of all service appointments fail. Often, this is because customers forget about their appointments. To resolve this issue, Virgin Media uses Contact Engine tech to remind customers of their upcoming service calls.
The end result was a dramatic reduction in missed appointments, which saves the company millions of pounds per year and ensures that more customer issues are addressed.
7. Anglian Water
This UK Water supplier proactively notifies customers of outages relevant to their location. With such a vital service as water, it’s important to make customers aware of issues in a timely manner, and Anglian water does just that.
This proactive strategy frees up support center call volume by alerting customers before they have a chance to phone in.
AutoPilot is a company that reaches out to customers who visit their online knowledge base.
This proactive follow up makes sure that all customers were able to find a solution to their problem.
This strategy is beneficial on a few different levels. It helps to reach those customers who were unsuccessful in resolving their issues, got frustrated, and decided to give up. It also opens the line of communication for customers to reach back out while simultaneously letting AutoPilot know where their knowledge base page is lacking.
This U.S. based tech company helps companies manage SaaS applications. Their proactive support department flags potential customer issues before first contact.
This allows their support staff to pre-emptively contact customers, including those who give up on the service without contacting support.
On their official website, BetterCloud states, “With Proactive Support, we’re starting to put an end to that type of support experience. Every week, a higher percentage of our support interactions are proactive, rather than reactive. When customers experience issues, we’re reaching out to them BEFORE they can even submit a ticket. Customers may submit tickets at times, but we are doing everything we can to prevent that.”
10. Heap Analytics
Heap Analytics uses an online tool that tracks interactions on their apps and website. If a customer query is taking too long, they alert the user and let them know that they are aware of the issue.
Heap first apologizes for the performance issues, owning the mistake right off the bat. They then let the customer know that they are working on resolving the problem.
This is all done via email and shows that this company cares about providing a positive experience
11. Brooks Brothers
Brooks Brothers shows proactive support through social engagement.
When a customer checks into one of their stores via social media, Brooks Brothers reaches out via Twitter, asking about their experience and whether there was anything they could do better.
This strategy brings issues to the company that they may not have known about and gives the customer a direct line for support.
Such a tactic serves to increase loyalty, which creates brand ambassadors and drives more sales in the long run.
12. HDFC Bank
This financial institution makes surprise birthday calls to clients, wishing them a happy birthday and even asking about their plans for the day. In one report, a manager even suggested a few ideas to help the client create a special evening.
This is a very personal and casual interaction, which shows that this business cares and gives them an opportunity to let some personality shine through.
Debenhams is a UK Retailer that offers online buying guides via its website.
This service drastically reduces the rate of exchanges and returns while also saving on costs and freeing up resources.
As a feature, this allows shoppers to see if a new item will work with their existing wardrobe. There are also guides that answer frequently asked questions on topics like what to wear to a wedding, etc.
14. Budget Truck Rental
Budget Truck Rental is a U.S. truck rental company which uses an intelligent virtual agent for web self-service.
This online agent answers questions instantly and has reduced inbound calls by 28%, thus saving the company a whopping $875,000 in costs and online sales gains within the first seven months of its rollout.
15. Tesco Mobile
Tesco Mobile proactively checks in with customers via social customer support. The company connects with their new customers on social media.
The day that they sign up, a social support representative follows up with them to ask about their experience and whether there is anything they can do to help?
Proactive support works on many different levels. It allows you to communicate effectively with your customers, impresses them with your ability to own mistakes and take initiative, and gives you a window into the overall satisfaction of your customers and how they perceive your service.
By being both proactive and reactive in your customer support, you can show your customers that you care about their experience and are a company that they can trust and invest in.
Main illustration done by Siddharth Kandoth
1 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH8i7umh45g
2 – https://twitter.com/Hootsuite_Help?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor