Proactive customer service: decoding the mystery

Jeremy DSouza
|
3
min read
Proactive customer service: decoding the mystery

Simply solving your customers’ problems fast is not enough anymore. Yes, answering your customers and resolving their issues quickly is important, but that’s something they expect of you today. If you don’t do that, they’re going to leave you in no time.

But, if you want to actually make a huge impression on your customers, you need to serve and support them proactively.

What is proactive customer service?

When you serve customers and answer their questions after they reach out to you, that’s reactive support.

But, proactive customer service involves solving customer problems before they have a chance to inform you about them. Sometimes it involves solving problems before they even realize that they have a problem.

Why bother with proactive customer service?

Sure, you could just answer customer queries and solve their problems as they point them out to you. But that won’t have a huge impact on them.

Quick responses to their queries are expected. They’re not exceptional anymore, they’re essential.

But, if you solve their issues before they need to reach out to you, you’re in a league of your own.

Here are some of the things that happen when you serve your customers proactively:

Customer retention rises

When you solve customer problems before they reach out to you, you’re making their life much easier. You’re reducing customer effort.

The easier it is to do business with you, the more they will.

Serving customers proactively tends to increase customer loyalty and retention, leading to higher customer lifetime value.

Turns customers into evangelists

Treat a customer right and they won’t stop talking about it. Surprise them with proactive service and you’ll find them telling their friends, family, and random strangers on the internet about you!

Trust me, they’re looking for a reason to talk about you, why don’t you give them a good one?

Fewer support requests flow in

You have to spend less time running damage control in front of your customers, simply because you fixed the issues before they had a chance to complain.

Sure, you’re always going to have some amount of requests coming in, but you can reduce that number by solving customer problems proactively.

How do you provide proactive customer service?

Get into their minds

It all starts with understanding your customers.

Send surveys, interview your customers, analyze their behavior. Look for their pain points. If you find one customer who’s facing a particular problem, the odds are that there are many others who have the same issue, but just haven’t told you about it.

Pre-emptive acknowledgment

Once again, this involves identifying problems before the customer informs you about them. Now, you need to be empathetic. Acknowledge the problem before they bring it up and assure them that you’re doing something about it.

This gesture essentially shows them that you’re consciously looking out for them. It tells your customers that you have their back. It’s reassuring. 

Pre-emptive acknowledgment could be your superpower. It’ll help you turn negative emotions into positive ones.

Social listening

Surveys are good. But they’re not always the most effective solution. What customers say in a survey is not necessarily what they actually mean.

There’s a plethora of reasons behind this. Sometimes they’re just saying what they think you want to hear from them. Occasionally they’re trying to butter you up to get something out of you. And there’s always the chance that they were not expecting a survey and just told you that everything’s fine because nothing really came to mind.

But on social media, people don’t have this filter. You’ll find a more accurate representation of their thoughts (and feelings) here.

Get started with social listening and you’ll know how they actually feel about you. You’ll get a better understanding of the problems they’re facing and know what you need to fix.

Transparency about downtimes

If you expect your systems to go down, let your customers know, in advance. They’ll feel much better about you if they have a chance to plan their way around it rather than being forced to scramble at the last minute.

Refunds without requests

When you know you made a mistake, own up and rectify the situation, before they ask you to.

If you’re in a situation where you’re anyways going to have to issue a refund, be gracious about it. Don’t implement a long, drawn-out process for refund applications. Offer refunds/replacements even before your customers ask for one.

Proactive culture

Proactive support needs to be a part of your company culture. It’s not something that you should just do once in a while. Your customers should be able to associate you with it.

Show your team why it’s so important and inspire them to rally around it. 

Serve your customers both proactively and reactively in the best way possible by engaging with them over Engati’s chatbot and live chat solutions. Get started today!

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