What is Proactive Customer Service – 7 Tips to Get Started with Proactive Support

Last Updated: April 6, 2021

Great companies are built on great products

Elon Musk

In addition to a great product, what the modern consumer demands to be loyal is – stellar customer service. Tesla is an excellent example of proactive thinking and delivering delightful proactive support experiences. 

Businesses should adopt proactive approach to avoid building a bad experience for all. Great customer experiences are a result of attention to minute details while serving the customers, so they don’t come back with complaints. 

Are your customers coming back to you with frustration, or are you using proactive measures to ‘wow’ your customers? Let’s find out.

What is Proactive Customer Service?

Customer service can be offered in two ways: Proactive or Reactive. 

The term proactive means creating or controlling a situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened. Likewise, Proactive customer service is an approach where businesses take the initiative to help customers. Businesses take special efforts to find potential problems customers would face and extend support to resolve it.

Proactive Customer Service is like a vaccine that is taken as a precaution against a virus. Reactive Customer Service is the medicine that’s taken to contain the harmful effects of the illness. Virus here is the issue, and vaccine refers to spotting or anticipating the issue in advance. 

How is Proactive Customer Support beneficial?

Proactive customer support reduces churn, improves brand loyalty, and increases referrals.

  • Reduce Churn: Customers feel lost when they always have to look for support only to get the response after a day. Proactive customer service precisely addresses this problem and helps in customer retention.
  • Improve Brand loyalty: Every business today is facing immense competition in establishing its brand value. Proactive service is one trump card that companies can use to develop customer loyalty.
  • Increase Referrals: Happiness is contagious, and so is proactive customer service experience. In fact, happy customers who get their issue resolved quickly tell 4 to 6 other people about their experience. 

How to get started with proactive customer support?

Understand your customers

Every company has a unique product and customer base. It’s crucial first to understand what the customer expectations are. If you are not aware of who they are? What issues are they facing? You will never be able to make their lives easy. Following are some tips to understand your customers better:

  • Survey: The best way to understand your customers is by getting detailed surveys done and asking them the right questions to understand their pain points. The issue of one customer may represent the issue faced by many.
  • Internal Channel: At HappyFox, we have a channel on Slack for discussing customer feedback and nice to have features on the product to avoid requests in the future.
  • Ratings: After every session with the customer, it’s a good practice to get customer ratings or CSAT score.
  • Customer Data Analysis: Go through past tickets or chats by customers and figure out any common patterns or issues in their conversation. 

Train your customer service team

Recruiting the right support agents and training them to be aware of the latest developments in the product and website can help build a proactive culture among support reps.

Let’s take an example here: Harry, a support hero, found that few customers were facing issues with resetting their password. He immediately created an internal knowledge base article with step-by-step instructions on resetting the password and sharing it among his colleagues. This is proactive customer service as it is mutually beneficial for both customers and support agents.

Proactive support is not just about the support team but about building a team with a good mix of people from different functions in your organization to be customer-centric.

Use the right tools to engage proactively with customers

For engaging customers proactively, brands need to be available at customer touchpoints. This gives customers a feeling of trustworthiness and ensures brand loyalty.

  • Live chat for website: Live chat provides real-time support to customers. It also offers features like triggered chat and proactive chat that lets agents monitor and anticipate what the customers might be looking for and strike the iron when it’s hot.
  • Help Desk: A ticketing system provides all-round management of customer queries and reporting around response times and other important metrics that help us measure and take proactive steps to improve customer service.

Improve your product User Interface

Proactive customer service is just anything that helps customers get their job done in minimal time. The user interface plays a significant role in providing a seamless experience to the customer while using the app. Be it tooltips or help sections within the product; all these make life easy for the customers and solve problems at its infancy stage.

At HappyFox, there is a feedback loop behind every feature release. We have a product roadmap feature within the app where customers can upvote the features they like. Analyzing what are the potential blockers for the customers and making design decisions can have huge payoffs. It results in happier customers who are confident, to buy more frequently; and share their positive experiences with their friends and colleagues.

Send out a newsletter

One of the best ways to proactively offer value to your customers is by providing them free content and educating your customers about new products and features by sending them newsletters. It’s also a way to give confidence to your customers to progress along as you are growing. 

Newsletters can be targeted and personalized, hence more relevant to the user base. An email newsletter can include blog posts, new product announcements, webinars, and more. The point is that you are providing tailored content proactively to customers and leaving a positive impression upon them.

Call out your mistakes

Communicating good news to your customers is not always the case. Sometimes product releases may involve some unprecedented technical issues. It’s best to let your customers know that some problem has occurred and how you plan to resolve it before your customers start to bombard you with complaints.

Calling out your mistake and apologizing for the inconvenience, will be well-received by your customers. It would show them that you are honest and dedicated to making life easy for customers. 

Build Self-Service channels

While providing customer service, working hard isn’t enough, working smart is the way to go. Support Agents have dual roles. They have to respond to customers and look for opportunities to build a knowledge base repository of the most common issues(FAQs). Building a knowledge repository, let’s support agents to share their expertise and know-how about handling specific scenarios. Self-service when done right leads to higher customer satisfaction.

The following are the self-service channels that support agents can use to build a proactive self-service system.

  • Support Center: Support Center refers to the portal where customers can search knowledge base articles that match their query and log in to their customer portal to see their cases or tickets raised and their status.
  • Chatbots: Bots are interactive software that can help deflect a lot of common questions and are available 24*7 to serve customers proactively. Support agents can train chatbots as they encounter new interactions, thereby providing simple answers rather than having customers to browse through lengthy KB articles.
  • Video Tutorials: Videos are powerful ways to help your customers get to the implementation faster. “If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a million.”

The Last Word

Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or price to continue doing business with you.

Simon Sinek

Add Proactive to your customer service and boost customer loyalty. Customers will stick if they get value from your product. When all of these proactive support elements are in place, you will see a shift in how your customer support runs. Begin a culture of proactive customer service in your team, and you will march ahead in the customer service game.