Customer service, now with proactive behavior
Many of us have two types of friends: those who reach out when they have problems or need our support in difficult moments and those we have to approach and support whenever we feel they need us.
Customers are somewhat similar, as in we can encounter two situations and two ways in which we can handle them.
On one hand, we have customers that reach out to Customer Services, asking information either via phone, live chat or e-mail, prompting the representatives to do reactive work. On the other hand, we can be proactive and offer help before customers ask for it. This type of customer service makes customer service such a hot topic nowadays.
On the whole, it’s definitely more powerful to reach out to a customer and solve a potential problem before the customer comes to you for help. But do you know whether your company has a reactive or proactive customer service department? You can ask yourself this simple question: who makes the first move?
With this question in mind, comes the answer that will provide you with a definition on what exactly is a proactive or a reactive service. If the customer won’t be receiving any support unless they come to you and ask for it, your company is reactive. If your company goes out and offers solutions to problems before the customer is forced to reach out to you, it’s called proactive customer service.
Proactivity and why it matters
In our daily lives, we tend to have similar situations. Sometimes when we take a situation in our hands, by reaching out to solve an issue or a problem on our own, we tend to get things fixed faster and easier than waiting around for someone to come help us.
This is why having a proactive attitude towards your customers allows you to detect and react to their issues. You can identify them even before they become full blown problems or turn out to be bigger, near-impossible to solve. Proactive customer service allows you to reach out to them before they reach the pain point and become annoyed.
This approach saves time for customers and from their perspective, this is considered quite thoughtful and is widely appreciated; and it’s a surefire way to generate loyalty and trust.
We live in a world where everything moves fast. Our technology has helped us maintain that fast rhythm, thus setting much higher expectations regarding reactivity from everything surrounding us.
This is another objective of the Customer Service department that can set up apart from your competition. Switching over the phone with to the appropriate individuals will allow you to save a great deal of resources and manpower and it will make a good impression on the client, concerning how much you care about his issue, showing him that you understand the urgency of the matter.
When handling a customer complaint, a call center agent can help only one customer at a time. But what do we do when we have hundreds of customers facing the same problem? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to simply compose an automated fits-all solution for that respective problem, which can be deployed as a self-service system?
Well, it would be, but for this you need an online guide explaining that particular problem, so you can quickly link it to every customer who encounters that respective issue.
Furthermore, there are many different types of self-service materials that you must create in order to you keep you ahead of the game: a knowledge base, a FAQ section, an e-guide, even tutorial videos or demos of your product.
In the end, having all of these materials that customers might require means being proactive, efficient and fast.
One of the quickest ways to servicing your customers is through live chat. Most live chats offer a way to not only get in touch with your customers but also see what they are up to when visiting your website.
This real-time monitoring method can help you quickly notice when customers are moving from page to page and how much time they are spending on a certain page and moreover, it gives you the information you need to productively interact with them, one by one, since you have access to a plethora of details about their preferences, likes, dislikes and so on.
This is known as building rapport – nurturing relationships with them, so that you can use the information at hand in future talks and live chats. This also means that you get to know your client better, helping you answer their needs in a timelier manner.
Proactive customer service is about reaching out to someone so that you don’t have to deal with bigger problems later.
Moreover, we mustn’t forget that you can sometimes encounter moments of major crisis, for example when customers can’t finish their orders. It is quite the nuisance and easily understood why many people tend to become quite irate when they find themselves in such situations.
It’s unpleasant to have to redo your order all over again because of a simple processing error. Therefore, this is an ideal moment when you can be proactive and start answering their questions promptly.
In this situation, a proactive approach means:
- pin a message on the main website that offers similar information;
- if the problem takes longer than expected to solve, you can send a newsletter to your customers, keeping them posted on the current status of the situation;
- issue a statement on social media channels, notifying your customers that they may experience some problems.
As long as your clients see you devote yourself to providing a solution, are kept informed and continuously updated, you can easily choose to focus on individual calls and e-mails, building up your company’s long term strategies.
Proactive Customer Service means you’re engaging with the customers who need you most. And oftentimes, they do need your service more than they need your products.
It’s important measure and report your reactive, as well as proactive efforts. This contributes to your brand’s development and your team’s ability to make a difference. And by garnering well-written customer service reports, it becomes easy to quantify the results of your service to your clients.
You open the door for variables such as increased call deflection and increased profitability via improved the Net Promoter Score, NPS for short – one of the most important KPIs of the Customer Service department.
NPS measures how many of your customers like your brand. It is clear that if they like it enough, they will recommend it to others. The more people recommend you, the bigger your client base, the better it is for your company. If an equal amount offer you a negative score, that just means you have some work to do to push your services into the plus side of things. And that’s when referrals kick in – the best endorsement any company can get, making a great proactive customer service net you a NPS that will be on the up and up.
In conclusion, after all is said and done, remember that no relationship is sustainable if you only communicate when something’s wrong. As Seneca once said,
“He who gives when he is asked has waited too long.”
Proactive customer service gives you the ability to surprise and bring joy to your social communities, whilst ensuring that you create brand recognition along the way.