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How Proactive Support Helps 77% Of Consumers View A Brand Favorably
No matter whether you use the phone, email, or live chat for customer service, your primary purpose should be keeping your customers satisfied. To make sure you’re taking good care of their needs, you have to show interest in their experience and expectations. And that’s where proactive communication plays the lead.
But what does it mean to have proactive customer support?
And how to make sure your proactivity doesn’t harm your customer’s experience?
If these are your major concerns when it comes to being proactive, read on. In this article, we’ll be covering:
- the concept of proactive customer support
- useful proactive support tips to help boost customer satisfaction
- the effects of proactive communication on your brand performance
- inspiring business examples of a proactive approach to providing support
Stay with us and find out how to get the most out of your customer service and improve your relationship with customers, based on real business stories!
Proactive Customer Service: Definition & Requirements
Many people identify proactive support as sending the first message through live chat software. However, proactive customer service is related to many other support solutions (including social media, email, and call center support). And, it doesn’t necessarily involve direct communication between your representatives and your customers all the time.
Rather than typing the initial “Hi” in a chatbox on your website, providing proactive customer service means having solutions to customers issues before they even appear.
“When hotel staff brings new towels to your room without you asking for it, they’re proactive. When waiters refill your glass before you’re aware it’s empty, they’re also offering proactive service.”
Once you start understanding proactivity this way, you may be able to realize why your previous attempts of being proactive may have failed.
To initialize a conversation randomly on the website would bring in zero results if your operators aren’t aware of your customers’ issues and have no active strategy to help them out.
To provide high-quality proactive support, you should thoroughly prepare for it.
There are several support aspects to take care of before you start to expect results from your proactivity.
#1 Get to know your customers.
Your target audience profile and preferences are essential for you to figure out what they need and, therefore, provide an adequate proactive solution. For instance, if they are not into call-center support, you should not call them to ask if they need help. That type of proactivity will probably jeopardize your relationship. Instead, show your proactivity by creating a support help desk with FAQ that they can explore on their own, without having to reach out to you.
#2 Invest in the development of your entire support system.
For years now, businesses rely on live chat for customer service. But investing in this software solution means nothing if you’re not ready to invest in your agents, too. To be able to provide meaningful proactive support, agents should be trained to spot and address potential issues before customers reach out to you.
#3 Align your support system with your business vision, values, and culture.
Every employee in your company must be aware of the importance of customer service. Plus, all of them should share a common view when it comes to keeping customers happy. Passive employees won’t be able to help develop proactive support as proactive agents will need them engaged when dealing with complex issues. To prevent a crisis in customer experience, support agents will need other employees to provide information about potentially critical aspects proactively.
How Does Proactive Customer Support Help Improve Your Brand Reputation?
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The importance of proactive customer support lies in the fact that it provides at least three significant benefits for your business:
In the first place, it helps you reach out to your target audience and turn them into customers. And this is succeeded by establishing engaging communication that will increase their interest in your brand.
Secondly, it is also a great way of creating a long-term relationship with your existing customers. You can get in touch with your customers and check on them when they least expect. Such a proactive approach helps you create a tighter bond and encourage them to contact you whenever they face an issue.
Finally, it also helps you promote your brand. Proactive communication can be a crucial factor in reducing the number of negative experiences. At the same time, this approach helps you to increase the number of people willing to spread the word about your brand both online and offline, having in mind that customers highly appreciate companies’ interest in providing an impeccable customer experience.
Tips To Boost Customer Satisfaction With Proactive Customer Support
Now that we’ve got more precise info on proactive communication, its benefits, and the ideal setting for proactive customer support, let’s check out the tips to boost customer satisfaction.
#1 Check in with your customers (for a reason)
Probably the simplest way of providing proactive support is checking on your customers. You can reach out to them to collect their feedback on different topics, including:
- How convenient your website is;
- How satisfied they are with your products;
- Their opinion on potential product/service upgrades, etc.
This way, you’ll be collecting valuable data that will help improve your offer before they start feeling unhappy or neglected. All you have to do is make sure that you have a good reason for reaching out to them, to avoid them consider your proactivity as unnecessary spam.
To get in touch with them, you can use on-site or email surveys, as well as live chat for customer service. While you may also rely on phone calls, be careful with this option since the live chat has been a more popular option among customers for a while now.
#2 Follow your customers’ activities on social media
The key to successful proactive communication is listening to your customers even if they don’t talk directly to you. Sometimes, instead of reaching out to you (or before that), customers may spread the word about their experience.
So, to be able to provide proactive support, you should be aware of what they’re saying online. As the simplest way for them to share their experience is mentioning your brand in social media, make sure to keep track of these posts. Usually, they will tag your business in these posts, which will make your monitoring way easier.
Following these posts, you’ll be able to work on reducing their frustrations before they’ve even reached out to you. Then, you can reach out to them and solve the specific issue they’re experiencing, without waiting for them to complain. And that precisely is the essence of proactive customer support.
#3 Do not wait to correct your mistakes
If you realize you’ve done something wrong and wait for customers to figure it out, you seriously risk your reputation. Faced with a problematic situation caused by your employees (which on top of that remains unaddressed), customers will get a negative picture of your business. They will feel tricked and unappreciated.
So, instead of ignoring the situation and hoping they won’t realize, make the first step and apologize for the inconvenience. And if you want to make sure not to lose your customers, offering an apology is not the only thing you should do. Moreover, you should consider making up for your previous mistakes by providing additional value for the damage you may have made to them.
In other words, you may try to provide a refund, a discount, or product replacement if they are not happy with the way you solved their issue. Besides, make sure to explain why the problem occurred and how you’re working on preventing it from happening in the future. Finally, encourage them to reach out to your support if anything unforeseen happens again.
#4 Use live chat for customer service
No matter what type of support you prefer, the use of live chat software can be a great help when providing proactive support. If you choose a well-developed software, you’ll get a lot of features that can help you establish meaningful proactive interaction with customers visiting your website.
In other words, a high-quality live chat software solution helps you track your customers’ activity and monitor different aspects of their browsing sessions. For instance, you get to see what page they visited on your website, where they seem to get stuck, what aspects of your website are challenging or confusing, etc.
And the best thing about it is that you get to see all these things in real-time. This means that you can instantly send them a message using live chat and check if they need help with finding their way.
#5 Let your customers help themselves
No matter how amazing live chat for customer service you offer, a large number of customers prefer solving their problems on their own if they can. They won’t bother complaining and explaining their issues if they have another option that will help them overcome the obstacles.
Practically speaking, another great way of providing support is letting your customers try to handle their issues before talking to you. So, offering a high-quality knowledge base that will allow them to self-serve is another useful proactive practice.
The first step you should make in the process of making their self-service possible is creating a list of commonly asked questions. Then, include the answers to them in a special Help section on your website. With time, you’ll be able to improve each of the answers and provide even specific and more detailed explanations.
This way, your customers feel more independent when using your products and services and also takes a significant load off your agents’ shoulders.
Successful Customer Service Stories: Best Proactive Customer Service Examples
Now that you’re familiar with all essential aspects of proactive customer support let’s check the real business examples based on the mentioned practice.
Example 1: Facebook
If you’ve ever needed to solve a specific Facebook-related issue, you’ve probably come across their interactive helpdesk section. Not only do you get to see the answers to frequently asked questions, but they also offer site overviews, documentation, as well as tours on new features.
Example 2: Amazon
Those who buy stuff using Amazon have probably realized that the platform proactively informs them about delivery dates and times by email. This way, before you even get to ask when your package will arrive, you get to know everything related to its delivery, including potential delays and complications. Not to mention that Amazon Prime members occasionally get a free month of Amazon services as an apology in case of inconveniences.
Example 3: Evernote
This application software primarily built for note-taking has developed a strong proactive social media support. Practically speaking, Evernote support anticipates customers’ attempts to reach out to them via Twitter. So, they initiate conversations directly asking customers to select the reason for their contact.
Example 4: AutoPilot
Not only does this company offer a thorough knowledge base for its customers, but they are also ready to provide further help. Therefore, if you’ve visited their help center, after a while, they’ll proactively reach out to you to get to know if you found what you were looking for. Apart from helping you get the information you need, they’ll also check if you have suggestions for the upgrades of their knowledge base.
Use Proactive Communication To Wow Your Customers
As you can see, proactive live chat for customer service, as well as proactive customer support, in general, may provide amazing results to your business. However, to be able to get the most out of them, you have to be aware of what proactive communication means.
You can build a business environment that will help your support teams transform from reactive to proactive. But it is only possible once you realize that a proactive approach is based on thinking several steps ahead of your customers. For this approach to provide outstanding results, your entire business must adopt this proactive attitude.
As long as your proactive support is meaningful and following your customers’ behavior, you can expect an increase in their satisfaction. Moreover, you may also attract new customers and improve your business image in the market. Focus on providing real value to your customers and think about them even before they ask for your attention.
Jared Cornell is a customer-support specialist, a marketing evangelist and a book lover, associated with ProProfs Chat. Jared is passionate about customer support and loves to solve customers’ queries. He is always keen to develop new strategies to help customers seeking live chat assistance for a delightful experience. Connect with Jared on Linkedin.