Updated: Apr 13
Photo by Adeolu Eletu
Did you know that there’s a huge gap between good and exceptional customer service (CS)?
While a good customer service team handles complaints well, an exceptional one prevents the issues from happening.
When it comes to customer service, people often associate it with long phone calls, lengthy back, and forth email threads to resolve some issues. But, frankly, customer service representatives have one of the most challenging jobs because their objective is to making distressed customers feel relief.
(And this is never an easy task!)
But that only happens because businesses take a reactive approach rather than being proactive.
It’s time to change. It’s time to transform your business.
Let’s define proactive customer service.
Generally, business/CSM focuses on solving customer problems after being notified by email or phone. However, this is rather reactive than proactive.
A proactive CS team helps customers resolve issues before they occur.
Doing so signifies to the customers that you are not interested in taking their money, but you want to build relationships and rapport. You want to have them as long-term partners rather than ordinary one-time customers.
For example, Amazon would notify buyers about the possible delays in delivery, which as buyers, you would be less upset over the problem.
Proactive vs Reactive
In proactive customer service, you put customers first. That is, you are customer-obsessed. Therefore, you anticipate the potential problems and create solutions to eliminate them (before the customers even experience them).
However, if you find your CS team often gets overwhelmed trying to resolve customer complaints, you will most likely be reactive.
Although the reactive method has its perks, such as limited resources committed, it is not a productive nor an effective approach for business expansion because
Your team falls behind in the competition. For example, we are more accepting of a delay from Amazon than from other e-commerce brands because of their early warning systems. And Amazon continues to remain on top of the customers’ list when it comes to online shopping.
Your business will have a high staff turnover. Thinking from employee perspectives, when your job is to focus on dealing with upset customers and resolving complaints, work becomes dreadful. So, inevitably, they would leave your firm for other opportunities.
You risk losing many valuable customers and damaging the brand reputation. That is, dissatisfied customers will not only leave your firm, but they will also spread the negative message to friends and family.
In contrast, here are three ways proactive customer service can transform your business
Boost sales. When you show customers that you genuinely care about them and their experience, you create a strong bond with them. As a result, they will be more open and happy to try other products and even refer your product to other people.
Fun fact: satisfied customers provide 2.6 times more in revenue. (Annex Cloud)
Increase brand loyalty. By anticipating problems and notifying customers early, you save them valuable time and energy. The easier the customers feel doing business with you, the longer they will stay with you and more likely to become loyal to your brand.
Elevate your customer experience. Besides solving problems, being proactive is also about ensuring the customers have a hassle-free experience. For example, you can provide free resources to answer questions they might have, tutorials on making the most out of your product, etc.
How can you stay proactive? Check this out
Research and Study (surveys, case studies, etc.) The fundamental element of proactive customer service is understanding your customers and the competitive market. There are several ways you and go about researching and studying your customers:
Customer reviews online
Paid market research
Promote and reinforce customer-centric company culture. Train your CS team to be customer-obsessed is crucial because they are essentially the face of the company. They are in direct contact with customers daily. Proper and frequent training will significantly improve your team effort, which leads to more satisfied customers in the long run.
Provide Free Resources. Equipping customers with free resources and information such as FAQ, Help Page, Manual, Forum, Tutorial videos, etc., is another effective way to be proactive. It will significantly improve the customer onboarding experience. They can easily find useful information without the trouble of contacting the CS team.
Smart Tech (analytical tool to forecast). Smart tools or Artificial Intelligence are on the rise in recent years as they are extremely helpful in enhancing customer experience. For example, integrating an AI chatbot gives your customer 24/7 support. Another use for AI is to analyze large data sets. These smart techs are extraordinary at processing big data and perform accurate forecasting. What is a better way to be proactive than knowing the future?
Be Proactive. Be Customer-Obsessed.
Ultimately, the key to business success lies with customer success. Specifically, proactive customer service brings many perks like boosting sales, increasing brand loyalty, and elevating the overall customer experience. And here are four simple steps you can implement to take your CS to the next level:
Research, study, and understand your customers.
Promote, reinforce, and train your team to be customer-centric.
Provide informative resources to help customers better understand your value.
Implement smart tech to gain insights on customer data.