In the rapidly evolving landscape of customer service, a paradigm shift is underway – from reactive to proactive service. Traditional customer service models are primarily reactive, responding to customer queries or issues after they arise.
However, today’s clients expect more. They have many options and can easily switch between providers if they need to. This means that businesses can no longer take the chance of customers feeling frustrated with their customer service. Companies must start delivering proactive support to stay ahead.
Proact support is about delving deeper into the customer journey to identify potential pain points or roadblocks. You then reach out to your clients before they come up against these issues. This approach not only prevents issues from escalating but also contributes significantly to building customer loyalty and satisfaction.
One key aspect of proactive service is harnessing the power of data analytics. There are many advanced tools out there that allow you to draw interesting insights into customer behavior, preferences, and patterns.
Once you understand these nuances, you can improve your service delivery and eliminate any hiccups. You might, for example, implement a system that makes it easy for customers to reorder their favorite products. You might also use AI-based tools that detect that clients are hesitating at the checkout online, and offer a timely solution.
Love it or hate it, artificial intelligence is pervading almost every aspect of our lives. Businesses may as well take advantage of its awesome data processing capabilities to improve service. Using carefully devised algorithms can help companies deliver relevant offers to clients based on data from several sources.
AI can also collate data such as how long a client spent on a specific page, which products they compared, and their purchase history to identify a possible sales opportunity. What’s more, it can process this information in seconds, allowing it to deliver solutions to the client immediately.
Alternatively, it can alert the relevant person in the company about a lead or something they should follow up with the customer.
Moreover, proactive service extends beyond digital interactions. Forward-thinking businesses are utilizing IoT (Internet of Things) devices to gather data on product usage and performance. For example, a smart appliance manufacturer can use IoT sensors to monitor device health and detect potential issues before they impact the customer.
This allows the company to proactively reach out to customers, offering solutions or even arranging for maintenance, creating a seamless and stress-free experience.
The caveat is that your clients need to know you’re gathering this data and how you’ll use it. They should also have the option to opt out if they prefer.
It seems crazy, but companies must communicate effectively. A recent telecom outage in Australia shows the importance of this. One of the largest providers, Optus, updated their systems and noticed that, after the update, the network went down.
While they did acknowledge the outage, they didn’t say anything about the network being down. Therefore, rumors started flying about them being hacked. Had Optus adopted a more open policy of communicating about the issue, there might not have been as much panic about the issue.
They might, for example, have warned customers about the upcoming update. They could then have admitted that something went wrong and that they needed time to find the fix. Clients would have felt frustrated but would’ve been more understanding.
One of our team members remembers buying their first car. The dealer gave them the rundown of all the features quickly, but assumed they could drive well. The first time the team member drove at night, the lights wouldn’t come on properly, causing them much distress.
The issue was simple, they were using the parking lights rather than the main ones. They found this out when they took the car back to the dealer the next day. While this seems like a ridiculous example, it’s one to take a lesson from.
If your clients don’t know how to choose the right product for their needs or how to use it optimally, they’ll never get the full benefit. It’s a short step from there to them looking for a new product or service.
Businesses are increasingly providing self-service options that allow customers to address their needs independently. This could include knowledge bases, FAQs, and user forums where customers can find answers to common questions. By offering self-service tools, companies empower customers to take control of their experiences, contributing to overall satisfaction.
Proactive support isn’t an opportunity to get the client on the line and sell them something. Think of it as a way to better connect with your customers and as a courtesy call. The idea is to ensure that your clients reap the full benefits of what they’ve already purchased and to build trust and loyalty.
Customer service is an evolving concept that is focusing more and more on proactively meeting the client’s needs. In this case, the benefit is that you appear forward-thinking and caring, and this builds better trust and loyalty with your base.
Going forward, the reactive service model will become more outdated, with customers expecting more from companies.