Today, businesses thrive when they can provide a convenient, personalized customer experience. That entails answering questions specific to a customer’s concerns and addressing the wants and needs of a particular patron, all within a short amount of time.
Certainly, businesses can help customers and provide top-notch customer service when taking on such tasks, but customer service agents can also be a valuable resource when they go above and beyond and reach out to the customer first. We refer to this as proactive support, and it can be a secret weapon to improve the reputation — and bottom line — of your company.
In the world of customer service, timing is everything. According to the Customer Service Barometer study fielded by American Express, 40% of customers agree that they would be pleased by customer service agents taking care of their needs faster. This means companies have to be forward-thinking about their customers’ wants and needs to get ahead of the curve. With proactive customer service, this goal is highly attainable.
In this article, we’ll take a look at proactive vs. reactive customer service, dive into the importance of proactive communication, and discuss the five different ways you can transition from reactive to proactive customer service:
What Is Proactive Customer Service?
Software Advice Inc., a partner of Gartner, defines proactive customer support as the strategy used by a company to anticipate the potential concerns of the customer. Essentially, it’s enabling customer service agents to reach out to consumers before they are pinged, in an effort to offer a solution or suggestion without being prompted.
Proactive live chat, for example, can be used by agents to address anticipated concerns based on various factors, such as the amount of time a customer spends on a page or a continuous return to a certain page. Online behavior, as well as browsing reoccurrences, are critical bits of information that can allow your customer service team to dive into the immediate needs of customers and address underlying issues they may be experiencing, but are unsure if they should bring to your attention.
What Is Reactive Customer Service?
Reactive customer service may be known as the more common type of response. This is the type of support that’s offered once the customer brings the problem to the surface. As HubSpot explained, it’s like using medication — just as one would take medicine to combat symptoms and treat the body to get rid of the impact that has already occurred, customer service agents can use reactive support to address customer concerns after learning about them.
How Can Companies Implement Proactive Customer Support?
How can you prepare your service organization to anticipate your customers’ desires and deliver an experience that defies their expectations? In VP and Co-Founder of Kustomer Brad Birnbaum’s Forbes piece, he took a deep dive into the theory and practice of proactive service. Below, we’ve outlined the five most important steps you can take now to upgrade your experience and delight your customers with forward-thinking support:
1. Train Your Customer Support Team- Proactive Outreach
Proactive customer support isn’t just about analytics, it requires an equal amount of human insight. Before investing in tech, make sure you have a team of engaged agents that are already thinking about your customers’ needs. For example, Outdoor Voices’ agents are able to collaborate more easily because of comprehensive training, amplified by Kustomer’s intuitive interface. Great service starts with great people.
2. Equip Your Team with the Right Knowledge: Prioritize and Invest in Analytics
By combining human insight with powerful analytics, reporting and a record of every customer’s history, you can equip your team with everything they need to know about your stakeholders. Just ask Glossier, who works with Kustomer and Looker to get rich insights into customer behavior. If you don’t have all the data in a single customer view, it’s almost impossible to be proactive.
3. Protect and Secure Your Data
Beyond having all the necessary data at your fingertips, that data needs to be in one safe, central location or network of locations. This can be a system you’ve created in-house or a third-party CRM—the important thing is security and usability. Read more about our commitment to security here.
4. Help Customers Search and Find What They’re Looking For
When you have all of your customer information in one system, across all of your platforms and integrations, you can create the kind of granular searches for customers that account for their specific behaviors or needs. Once you’re able to identify customers by their last order, their location, their sentiment, and more, surprising and delighting them is a snap.
5. Don’t Get Lost in the Weeds: Track the Right Metrics
You need a way to capture how your customers are feeling. That requires a combination of several things. You should be measuring sentiment within customer communications and on social media, using surveys that capture metrics like CSAT, NPS, and CES, and tracking behavior across every channel of interaction. For a brand like LOLA, having all the relevant information at agents’ fingertips when customers have a question about their subscriptions is crucial to great service.
To be smart, personal, proactive, and timely requires a lot of moving parts to come together, but doing so is the hallmark of a standout customer experience. Once you can gather and store all relevant customer information, you can act on it with a combination of well-trained employees and specific features within your software platform. When you can connect with individual customers over their preferred channel with the right personalized message, your experience can become a true revenue driver and differentiator for your organization.
Getting there isn’t as simple as completing a checklist — it’s a complex process, unique to every business. However, when all of these threads come together, your customers will see and feel the difference in every interaction. Check out Birnbaum’s Forbes article to learn more.
How Kustomer Can Help You Prioritize Proactive Support
Kustomer’s robust customer service CRM is designed to help your customer service team meet the wants and needs of consumers, all while getting ahead of their common queries and concerns.
Instead of waiting for a customer to ping you, agents can send instant messages to target audiences based on various factors, such as:
- Time spent on the page.
- Last page visited.
- Geographical locations.
- Attributes based on log-in information.