Over the course of history, the typical support interaction has involved a customer reaching out to a business, typically by phone, and waiting in a support queue in the event of something going wrong. The reasons for reaching out could be a variety of things, including defective products, shipping delays, or needing more information to complete assembly.
The not-so-distant advent of smartphones, social media, and all things information has disrupted nearly every industry. And customer support is no different – the preferred channels and methods in which modern consumers now engage customer support are similarly shifting to focus around mobile technology and more instantaneous messaging-based channels. And In a post-pandemic world, plagued by inflation and delays, reactive support is no longer the only form of support that consumers expect.
Implementing Proactive Support
- 1. Have Robust Self-Service Tools in Place for Customers
Once you have evaluated customer feedback and analyzed sentiment data, your next step in implementing proactive support should be creating a wealth of self-service tools that allow customers to solve issues on their own with no agent involvement. As a caveat, note that self-service tools are proactive in the sense that they are engineered to answer common questions without burdening an agent, but are not actually actively solving a customer’s unique problem before it occurs.
Self-service tools provide customers with the ability to help themselves without having to connect to a human team member. Research indicates 67% of consumers prefer self-service over talking to a company representative and 91% of consumers would use an online knowledge base if it were available and tailored to their needs.
Additional examples of self-service tools beyond knowledge base articles include: chatbots, website downloads, FAQ web pages, online forums/communities and AI search functions. When creating self-service options, keep in mind the repetitive questions that can be answered automatically from the insights derived in step one. The ability to resolve issues on their own yields a feeling of positive empowerment when it comes to customer sentiment and your brand. Furthermore, self-service tools also lower support costs, eliminate repetitive conversations and reduce resolution time.
- 2. Rectify Issues Before They Happen
Solving issues before they arise is not just important for your CX team, but a mindset that should be shared across all functions of your entire organization.
For example, marketing or IT might own crucial information about your website downtime while your operations team could have vital information impacting your supply chain. In order for CX to proactively communicate issues and find solutions for your customers, there must be an adherence to a proactive mindset throughout your organization that places the customer first. This is essential in retaining their loyalty in the event that something goes wrong.
Delays in receiving presents on time during the holiday season could mean a lost customer for life, so having a pulse on all of the impacting factors when things go wrong is essential to address things proactively. A solution might involve sending important alerts that may affect deliveries, such as adverse weather conditions or local events that may lead to increased traffic or delays.
- 3. Leverage Appropriate Communication Channels
We’ve discussed how self-service tools can function as a means of proactive support. Those tools, despite the fact that they should be routinely updated, are still static to a certain degree as they are engineered to answer repetitive questions. Messaging, however, is a channel that allows brands the chance to move beyond antiquated ways of doing business to get and stay close to consumers at every step in the journey.
Today’s consumers expect a high level of customer support, including proactive support, and they expect it on multiple channels. Kustomer research found that CX professionals believe live chat (79%), social messaging (72%) and SMS (56%) will become more popular channels in the next three years. It’s clear that customers now expect efficient, personalized support, which is why support leaders are turning to conversational, chat-based channels to help them strike that balance and offer proactive support at scale.
Via messaging, companies can instantly update customers and customers can similarly follow up for clarification. In terms of proactive updates, this can be used for things like sharing shipment updates, back-in-stock alerts and bespoke offers. Email inboxes are already inundated with offers and from unpersonalized blast campaigns. Messaging technology, however, continues to improve thanks to greater personalization, more human-sounding chatbots, and AI improving at unstructured conversations (i.e. those that go beyond the confines of a pre-programmed script).
Benefits of Proactive Support
If your organization hasn’t yet implemented proactive support, we’ve compiled some of the benefits below that will hopefully provide ample motivation to do so. Here are some of the ways your business can benefit from proactive support:
- Increases CSAT: Kustomer research indicates 81% of consumers appreciate proactive support and 77% of consumers like when businesses communicate with them in a proactive and personalized manner. Since naturally customers don’t always expect companies to be upfront about issues, when companies do surprise them by admitting to issues early and informing them that they are doing their best to resolve them, it surely leads to increased customer satisfaction and happier customers.
- Reduces Inbound Support Inquiries: With the right proactive support approach, you can significantly reduce the number of queries that reach your support team’s queue. When most of your customers’ queries are resolved proactively, whether via self-service options or proactive outreach, it frees up your support team to focus on your most significant queries. Agents will have more time for your most important customers and be able to deliver a truly personalized experience.
- Instills Brand Loyalty: Businesses that adopt a proactive approach are more likely to create happy customers that advocate your brand. Even further, they might refer their friends, family and colleagues to your business as well based on their experience. Anticipating customer needs will allow your brand to build with exponential loyalty.
- More Scalable: Most companies exist with the aim to grow their customer base. Based on current labor and market conditions, your team might be strapped for resources, so the ability to offer customer support while scaling is crucial. Bolstered by self-service and automation, proactive support will help your support team’s workload.
- Drives Revenue: Proactive support helps you transform the support function within your organization, so you can reduce the time spent on repetitive inbound queries and instead strategically create more opp ortunities for upselling and revenue generation.
Check out Kustomer’s full proactive support guide right here.