More than 80% of consumers have reported that they feel more emotionally connected to a brand when their customer service department successfully resolves their problem. In fact, over 30% of consumers are willing to pay more for brands with a dedicated customer service team in place.

In today’s ever-competitive world, delivering exceptional customer service is a must. If you don’t have a dedicated customer service team in place or if your customer support executives fail to help your customers resolve their issues, then you’ll face a hard time retaining them.

And while there will always be scenarios where your customers face a problem and have to reach out to your customer service executives, there is a lot you can do to get ahead and get customers the help they need before they know they need it. Rather than waiting for your customers to reach out to you with their problems, try to spot and anticipate any potential issues in advance—that’s what proactive customer service is all about.

What is Proactive Customer Service?

As a brand, it’s your responsibility to make your customers feel special. That’s the only way to win them over and make them come back for more. And as we mentioned already, there will always be scenarios where your customers face a problem and may have to reach out to your customer service executives. These scenarios demonstrate reactive customer service.

Proactive customer service, on the other hand, is the act of anticipating customer expectations, identifying any potential issues that your customers may face, and making the first move. Doing this will help you increase customer satisfaction and earn loyal customers.

Let’s say you run an online shop and you’re seeing one of your customers on a product page. Let’s assume that customer has been on that particular product page for more than 30-40 seconds. In that case, the proactive approach is for your customer success agent to initiate a chat with them and offer assistance. 

Maybe the customer is struggling with something or they aren’t sure whether the purchase would be a good decision or not.

Luckily, there are tools that make this approach easy—it doesn’t necessarily have to be a dedicated customer success agent that reaches out to the customer. Podium’s Webchat will help you automate the process so you can gather the customer’s contact information and start an ongoing text conversation. 

Engaging with website visitors is a great example of proactive customer service, but it’s not the only way to keep your customers happy. Other examples of proactive customer service include: 

  • Gathering and collecting customer feedback to understand any potential issues related to your products or services. 
  • Communicating via text messages and newsletters.
  • Helping your customers find the solution to their problem by redirecting them to the right knowledge base section.

Many global brands like Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon offer proactive customer service, but this is a strategy you can use no matter what size your company may be. You can stay multiple steps ahead of your competitors and win the hearts of local customers by implementing a fool-proof proactive customer communication strategy.

4 Tips Businesses Should Seriously Consider to Deliver a Proactive Customer Service

Not sure how to take a more proactive approach to customer service? Here are 4 tips to help you get started. 

1- Know Your Customers

Before implementing proactive customer service, it’s important to understand your customers and their pain points. While this may sound like a really basic tip, it’s the most important one. 

Any brand that wants to be successful needs to know its target audience on a personal level. And this goes deeper than looking at factors like age, income, and education level. You also need to understand what problems your customers have faced in the past—what made them come to you? What pain points are they still trying to solve?  

Let’s say you sell office chairs that need to be assembled by customers upon delivery. While you can always send a dedicated instruction manual along with the product, sometimes it’s not enough for customers—assembling the chairs will still be a hassle. Having a dedicated knowledge base on your website with assembly videos for all the products will make the assembling a whole lot simpler.

But let’s take it a step further; you wouldn’t want your customers to hop onto your website, head over to the instructional videos section, and scroll through dozens of pages before they find the right video. You want the process to be as convenient as possible. 

This is where software solutions can come in handy—you can implement a chat feature on your website so that if your customers are struggling to find the information they need, it’s quick and easy to contact your team. 

The above is just one scenario that shows the importance of knowing your customers and understanding what problems they face. 

If you want to understand your customers better, we recommend: 

  • Interviewing already-existing customers.
  • Identifying the most common issues that your customers face by connecting with your customer service executives.
  • Identifying if your customers are reporting any issues related to your brand on review sites or social media.
  • Identifying where your customers are currently reaching out to you when they need help. 

2- Meet Them at Every Point of Their Customer Journey

Your customers will face different problems at different stages of their  journey. Whether they’re trying to purchase a product or facing an issue with an existing purchase, you need to be prepared to meet them where they are. 

In order to do that, you need to get clear on exactly what your customer journey looks like. To get started, try mapping out your customer journey on a piece of paper. Different customers might follow slightly different paths, but there will likely be a general set of steps that most customers follow. As you list out the steps of the customer journey, be sure to include potential issues that may arise at each step.

Customer Journey Map

Once you’ve mapped out the customer journey and the potential problems that could arise at each step, you can start to think of and implement proactive solutions.

3- Gather & Implement Customer Feedback

Unfortunately, your customers might not always reach out to your support team when a problem arises. This is why gathering feedback is so important. Knowledge is power. 

You can gather customer feedback by:

  • Reaching out to your customers via text message and asking them to share their feedback.
  • Creating a survey that encourages your customers to address what they love about your business and what they wish would change. 
  • Identifying the most common issues that your customers report to your customer service team.
  • Reading through your online reviews regularly.

And remember—gathering feedback should be an ongoing process. Taking a proactive approach to asking for feedback can help you uncover areas for improvement that you may otherwise never have uncovered. Once you’ve identified these problems, it’s important to make sure that you act on them and find ways to prevent them from moving forward. 

4- Focus on Education Rather Than Being Sales-y 

Your prospects and customers are bombarded by hundreds of “Why You Should Use Our Product or Service” text messages and emails every day. Amidst all this clutter, they don’t want another brand slipping into their inbox. 

Even after a customer purchases a product, it’s important to provide education about your products and services. Not only will this help your customers, but it will also save your support team time because your customers will have the resources they need to make the most out of your products and services. 

Having a knowledge base is critical. Your customers don’t want to go through the trouble of reaching out to your customer support executives or looking up how to use your product on Google or YouTube. 70% of consumers have reported that they prefer using a company’s website to understand how to use a product rather than using email or phone.

As you build a knowledge base, keep in mind that it’s important to make sure it’s not too complicated—make it easy for customers to find the information they need. One way to do this is to implement a Chat feature on your knowledge base that’ll guide your customers in the right direction. About 55% of customers have reported that ease of access to information can make them fall in love with a brand.

Woman Texting Customer Service

Make it Easy to Contact You

No matter how proactive you are in your approach to customer service, you won’t be able to be the one to initiate every conversation. Even if you have an incredible knowledge base and self–explanatory products or services, your customers will eventually need to contact you. You want to make it as easy as possible for them to do that. 

To do this, we recommend using the channel the modern customer prefers—text. Podium makes it possible for you to text your customers which allows for ongoing conversations, strengthens relationships, and keeps your customers coming back time and time again. 

Proactive Customer Service Will Help You Win Over the Modern Customer

In today’s ever-competitive world, the competition is fierce. If you want to win over your customers, offering exceptional customer service is the bare minimum. Being proactive in terms of your approach is a must.

Not only can businesses increase customer satisfaction and retention rates by delivering proactive customer service, but it can also help unburden their customer success teams.

It’s the key to winning over modern customers. 

Logan Wooden
Logan Wooden Product Marketing Manager, Retail

Logan Wooden is a Product Marketing professional at Podium, the premiere marketing and communications platform that connects local businesses with their customers.

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