What is Proactive Customer Service, and How to Make it Work?
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Provide proactive customer service, and you’ll have a crystal ball that tells you what your customers want before they even know it themselves. It really works like this!
However, to make things run smoothly, you may need bits and pieces of guidance so your effort is well-spent.
And today you’ll get to know what proactive service is, how it works how it affects the customer experience.
⚠️ Spoiler alter! Once you take a proactive customer service approach, there’s no way back. It works that well.
All set? Let’s go!
What is proactive customer service?
Taking the first step and getting in touch with customers is proactive customer service. So, for example, when a customer faces an issue with your product or service, and then, out of nowhere, you are there with a solution, suggestion, or just a friendly piece of advice. And that’s proactive support in action.
💡 Live chat and chatbots are great for this kind of support.
If you want to be the superhero of your business, it’s time to learn how to make proactive customer service your advantage! Let’s dive in.
Proactive customer service vs. reactive customer service
Proactive customer service is offering help before the visitors ask for it. It’s a bit like having a personal assistant who knows you better than you do and takes care of things before you even have to ask.
Reactive customer service is reacting to the problem as they pop up. Both of customer service approaches are essential. And above all, when used together, they create an unstoppable force that may take your customer service efforts to the next level.
Find out more about proactive service!
How to improve proactive customer service strategy?
There are some things you should keep in mind if you want to make your proactive service efforts as efficient as possible.
#1 Use chatbots
Don’t miss out on little helpers! Chatbots are fantastic for sending proactive messages. For instance, when you want to say hi to returning visitors or offer a discount code for prospective customers who bumped at your website for the first time.
#2 Personalize communication
Companies aim to assist their customers and be ready to help whenever needed (or at least they strive to do this). So, to stand out in helping them, prioritize a personalized approach to the customers.
Keep them feeling special by making communication more personal - your customers deserve it.
Using Smartsupp, you’ve got all the vital information about the customer at your fingertips. You can see where they come from, their purchase history at your store (if you run one), and more. Use this information to enhance customer experience and provide individualized service.
#3 Train your staff
Offering proactive support is a tough nut to crack, and good training is super useful here.
With the right tools and techniques, you connect with your customers and resolve their issues before they become problems, and turn their frowns upside down.
Here are tips that you can give your customer service representatives. 👇🏻
Encourage your reps to listen actively, ask clarifying questions, and summarize what the customer says to ensure they’re on the same page.
💻 Being proactive does not mean being intrusive
While proactive customer service is crucial, it’s equally important not to be intrusive. Make sure a service representative strikes a balance between being helpful and respecting the customer’s privacy.
📊 Use customer data to your advantage
Find patterns and trends in customer data. Analyze customer data, predict common issues or customer queries, and offer solutions before customers reach out to you.
✍️ Offer personalized solutions
Reps should provide personalized, proactive customer support. Check if the solutions are based on each customer’s unique situation. Personalization works!
📰 When you want a higher customer satisfaction rate, ensure members of a customer service department know all about online customer care.
Proactive customer service doesn’t end with initiating the interaction. Your reps ought to follow up with customers to see if their problems have been resolved and if they need more help. It’s a superb way to show customers your service commitment - they’ll certainly appreciate it.
#4 Ensure consistency and quality across all channels
An inconsistent way of communicating might be really disadvantageous for how customers perceive your brand. They expect they are able to get the same quality of service whenever they reach out to you.
If you’re inconsistent in your approach across all channels, you may end up with something that works as customer service. But it doesn’t, in fact, deliver satisfactory results for current and future customers.
Providing proactive customer service means anticipating your customers’ concerns, but if they get different answers depending on their channel, they’ll be left confused and frustrated.
#5 Keep customers engaged
Sending proactive messages is a great example of keeping customers engaged. At Smartsupp, you can set up an automatic message in a few simple steps.
Using them, you interact with your website visitors as if you were right next to them. Set the conditions and let the magic happen.
One possible message to proactively engage with visitors could be:
“Hi there! Looks like you’ve been exploring our shiny new Canon camera. Do you have any questions I can help with?”
Reaching out to the visitor in a friendly and helpful manner gives the impression that a live agent is proactively initiating the conversation.
On top of that, you can send an automatic message when a visitor is inactive for some time. Then, send them a word that you’re ready to help anytime - maybe they feel lost.
It’s advisable to send a proactive message when:
➡️ a visitor enters your website for the first time,
➡️ a customer returns to your website for more content,
➡️ you’re busy and cannot answer right away (at Smartupp, you can leave a short window for collecting emails),
➡️ you’re offline, and you want to communicate that you’ll answer later,
➡️ you want to announce a new product,
➡️ you wish to send a first-order discount,
and these are only suggestions.
It’s all up to you. And a friendly reminder here - proactive customer service starts with empathy.
#6 Ask for feedback
Ask for feedback when you provide proactive customer service. It is an excellent opportunity to gather more information about your services, customer journey, and customers.
Smartsupp enables a customer service representative to send a quick survey that takes only seconds to complete. It gives an overview of visitors’ overall satisfaction.
If you analyze the feedback, deciding what to change next would be much easier. It’s a shortcut to turning unhappy customers into happy ones!
#7 Provide self service tools and solutions
Providing proactive customer support in a way that allows self-service is more or less giving your customers the keys to the kingdom (minus the dragons and sword fights).
A comprehensive knowledge base or a treasure trove of blog posts in which you share your expertise lets customers solve problems on their own. Not only does this save them time and frustration, but it also frees up your customer service team to focus on more complex issues that require human intervention.
#8 Get in touch with customers using social media
Posting on social media might be a proactive customer service as well. Have you got an Instagram account? Fantastic! Reach out to your loyal customers (and not only) using Reels or Instastories.
What’s more, by engaging with customers on social media, you can answer questions and customer service issues and even solve problems before they arise. Also, you get to showcase your personality and give your brand a human touch, which can help build customer loyalty.
Don’t wait any longer! If you haven’t contacted proactively using social media yet, it’s just the right time.
#9 Balance automation with a human touch
Both customer service approaches (automated and non-automated) are fine, but there should be some balance.
Automation saves time and money and guarantees customers a quick and efficient response. But nothing beats the warmth and empathy of human interaction, especially when a customer feels frustrated, upset, or simply lost.
So, how do you strike the right balance? It’s all about using automation where it makes sense - for simple queries or frequently asked questions - and then bringing in human expertise for more complex issues or when a customer needs extra attention.
Think of automation as your trusty sidekick, helping you along the way but never stealing the spotlight from the show’s true star - the agent.
#10 Monitor KPI for proactive customer service
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the metrics that show whether you’re getting closer to your business goal. Companies can have different plans, so their KPIs may differ depending on the business and industry.
Take a look at some examples:
📊 First Response Time - the average time it takes to respond to a support requests or inquiries.
📊 Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) Score - a measure of how satisfied customers are with the service they receive.
📊 Customer Retention Rate - the percentage of customers who continue to use a product or service over a given period of time.
📊 Net Promoter Score (NPS) - a metric used to gauge customer loyalty and the likelihood they recommend a product or service.
📊 Resolution Time - the average time it takes to resolve a customer’s issue or request.
📊 First Contact Resolution (FCR) - the number of customer inquiries or issues that are resolved during the first contact.
📊 Proactive Contact Rate - how many customer interactions a company initiated first.
📊 Service Level Agreement (SLA) Compliance - the percentage of customer issues resolved within the agreed-upon timeframe.
📊 Average Handle Time - the average time required to handle customer service tickets, including any research or follow-up.
📊 Customer Effort Score (CES) - a measure of how much effort a customer had to put in to resolve their issue or request.
Get in the habit of monitoring your KPIs! Knowing just how well your customer service is working is super useful, especially when you’re about to roll out a new proactive customer support strategy or to look to improve the one you have.
With KPIs, you easily spot what’s working and what’s not and make quick fixes to help your support teams perform at their best.
📰 When providing proactive support, stick to the best practices for chatting with customers.
Proactive support: Benefits
Proactive customer service offers many benefits. Let’s get through them.
01 Boosted customer satisfaction (and support team satisfaction as well)
You know what they say, “the early bird gets the worm” and the same goes for customer service.
Taking a proactive approach makes you can catch issues before they even happen. That means happier customers and fewer headaches for your support team.
Instead of waiting for customers to come to you with a problem, anticipate their needs and take care of them before visitors even realize they have an issue. Don’t just sit there waiting for problems to occur.
Instead, take the initiative and deliver proactive customer service. The visitors will appreciate it, and the satisfaction score will be sky-high.
It’s time and money-saving and shows your customers that you care about their satisfaction.
02 Better customer retention rate
Customers strive to feel appreciated and heard. And if buyers like your products and services and value how you help them proactively, they’ll probably come back for more!
When you’re quick to listen, empathize with your situation, and offer a personalized solution that goes above and beyond customer expectations - that’s a surefire way to keep your customers.
Exceptional customer service is also a way of building trust and relationships. That can increase customer retention rates.
03 Reduced customer churn
Customer churn is the percentage of people who stop using your service or purchasing your products. Some say it is the silent killer of businesses. It sneaks up on you, and before you know it, there’s barely anyone left to buy from you.
But implementing proactive customer service comes to the rescue. It’s not the cure for customer churn, but one of the steps you can take to make it stop growing.
So, if you and your customer service team struggle with customers leaving, go forth, implement a proactive support approach, and save customers!
04 Enhanced interaction with visitors
We’ve all been there - browsing a website, looking for information we need, but hitting the roadblocks at every turn. Frustrating, huh?
When being proactive in dealing with customer service issues, businesses can improve communication, as well as brand-customer relationship.
You start the conversation by offering help - you reach the customer first, which may enhance further interactions.
Your visitors see you’re willing to communicate with them, so they might be more open to talking.
Make customer interaction stronger with Smartsupp!
05 Helps with customer feedback
At Smartsupp, it is possible to send a quick feedback survey after the chat. Providing proactive customer support might be a two-in-one solution (in our opinion, it’s even more!) - you resolve customer issues, and they provide you feedback.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
And some good news: let us introduce you to an excellent proactive customer support tool! It does more than that, however.
Use Smarsupp for proactive customer support
Enhance your customer service strategy with Smartsupp! Thanks to many effective tools, delivering proactive support is a piece of cake. Take a look at what it offers.
This tool allows you to connect with visitors in real-time and offer proactive support before any issues occur. It’s an effective solution for both reactive and proactive customer support.
At Smartsupp, they’re called automatic messages. Along with chatbots, they enable customer service teams to talk to visitors on your website when specific conditions are met.
If you’re already involved in customer conversations and deal with many of them at the same time, shortcuts are something you for. They are prewritten messages that you use when chatting with website visitors.
Find answers in a blink of an eye, change the text when needed, and provide proactive support with almost no effort.
Chatbot is also a proactive support tool. It is triggered when a person enters the website, and a chatbot lets them know that the virtual assistant is there for them.
Start with proactive customer service today!
Make your customer care strategy stronger with proactive support. It is a great way to engage and support visitors during the customer journey.
Let Smartsupp be your proactive support tool!
Happy customers are ones who have been well taken care of. Start a free trial today to put a proactive approach into action! Offering reactive customer support is possible as well.