How to Offer Proactive Customer Service

Customer expectations are constantly evolving. Today’s customers engage with brands on a wide variety of channels, from phone to chat to social media platforms—just to name a few. Their channel preferences may even shift depending on their specific need at the moment, and their reasons for contacting a brand can vary as well. Companies therefore have an increasingly fragmented view of their customers as interactions—and the data collected during these interactions—occur across so many different channels. Customer service departments face the challenge of collecting data to better manage the customer journey. It is therefore important for these departments to evolve their proactive customer service engagement strategy toward a non-intrusive and more profitable model. This strategy should focus on receiving customers’ permission to connect with brands across digital channels, in addition to phone calls. In fact, according to a Netomi study, 87% of customers expect brands to contact them proactively for service issues. Proactive customer service is the new should-have for all brands.

Why should brands focus on proactive customer service?

Customers want more than just good prices and good service. They want a truly omnichannel customer experience, personalized offers, proactive service, and innovative products and engagement strategies. If your brand does not meet these expectations, Salesforce reports that 72% of these customers will look for another brand. In addition, customers easily talk to one another about their experiences. Salesforce further states that 62% of customers specifically share their negative experiences with others. In fact, 57% of customers have already stopped supporting a brand when a competitor offered better service. What’s more, 67% of these customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience. Customer experience is therefore key to having solid business relationships with customers that translate into loyalty and brand growth.

In an increasingly saturated marketplace, the only way for brands to stand out is by addressing the right customers at the right times and meeting their expectations. Indeed, customers are looking for a different approach, tone of voice and experience depending on their roles and goals at the moment of the conversation. They do not reach for the same advice and support. Offering to your clients an experience that suits their expectations when they reach out to you is a factor of loyalty. Indeed, 89% of customers remain loyal to brands that share their values. This is why brands must build proactive omnichannel customer journeys that actually anticipate customer needs rather than just responding to them as they arise. Proactive customer service enables brands to stand out from the competition, leave a strong impression, acquire new customers,  and foster customer engagement and loyalty.  In fact, 50% of customers say they will remain loyal to a brand that is able to anticipate their needs, and proactive customer service can increase customer retention rates by 3 to 5%. Resolving customer issues and needs in advance is therefore even more important than selling products and services. Giving your customers the reassurance that they can count on you to anticipate their needs is much more impactful than the temporary pleasure of a purchase.

How can you offer proactive customer service?

To offer proactive customer service, follow these critical steps:

Know your customers

Customer knowledge is your essential ingredient: The more you know your customers, the more you will be able to anticipate their needs and resolve potential issues before they arise. For example, you may offer proactive customer service by reaching out to your customers before a subscription ends, providing technical support before they are even aware of a problem, and making an interesting upselling offer to complement a product or service they already have. By taking a close look at your CRM data and the conversations you have had with your customers (reasons for dialogue, tone, etc.), you can better determine how to offer proactive customer service. It is also important to offer this proactive service intelligently, considering the particular profile of each customer. For example:

  • Contact times—Be sure to contact customers when they are actually available. A young customer may prefer to be contacted at night when they are not working, whereas a retired person may be available in the morning.
  • Channels—Always contact customers on their preferred channels. Meet them where they already interact—SMS, phone, chatbots, social media, instant messaging, WhatsApp etc.
  • Conversational style—The style and tone of conversation with a customer depends greatly on their profile. Not every customer has the same needs or the same income, so they may not all wish to buy the same products or services.
  • Support—Not every customer will have the same support needs, and specific needs may arise occasionally for your entire audience. For example, when Le Figaro, a French daily morning newspaper, was faced with a sharp increase in its readership, it chose to support its elderly customer base by helping them learn to access digital subscriptions with ease.

Understand behavior changes

Generation Z now represents a significant part of the customer base. This generation, more complex than it might appear, has much different habits than older demographics. To deliver excellent customer service, it is important to consider their needs and integrate them into your proactive customer engagement strategies, keeping in mind that:

  • Voice is no longer number one: Voice is no longer the preferred channel for most customers. Indeed, digital transformation has impacted the way they consume information and interact with people. Instead, there is a preference for asynchronous channels such as instant messaging, chat, and email. Voice nonetheless remains a prime channel once a customer accepts to speak with an agent—it is easier to show empathy on this channel, and it is far easier to resolve a complex issue through a phone discussion.
  • The development of new channels to adapt to millennials and Generation Z is important: The existence of new channels such as asynchronous voice (vocal messages) convey more emotion and allow agents to offer proactive customer service at a faster rate without having to call the customer.
  • Questioning your brand’s practices is essential: It is critical to constantly question if your brand’s practices are up to date. When things are going well, it is always necessary to think of how your practices could be even better. If you wait to change when the market or your competitors do, it is already too late.

What are the advantages of proactive customer service?

Proactive customer service offers numerous advantages for your brand. They include:

  • Better understanding your customers: Understanding your customers’ needs in advance is possible thanks to customer data and knowledge. If you study your customers’ needs and listen closely to what they say, you can adapt your products and improve your customer service to meet their expectations. In fact, 52% of customers surveyed around the world stated that companies should take action based on the comments of their customers.
  • Reducing handling time: Your agents will lose less time interacting with customers. When you help your customers resolve their problems on their own by anticipating their possible questions, you allow agents to have more time for critical tasks such as handling complex cases. Customers do not need to call for support, so the number of calls, service tickets, and support emails are reduced.
  • Improving NPS: If customers never have to ask for help and their needs are met before they can even express them, they will be happy to support your brand. This improves the NPS, or Net Promoter Score—meaning greater customer retention and the possibility of new potential customers.
  • Winning customer loyalty: If your customers receive excellent customer care that shows empathy and professionalism, they are more likely to stay with your brand. They want honesty, quick answers, understanding, and relevant offers. According to Zendesk, 52% of customers go out of their way to buy from their favorite brands. Loyalty is therefore linked to the constant, deliberate choice that customers make to buy your products and services.
  • Becoming more profitable: If your brand anticipates issues, there will be less of them! Better customer experience management translates into reduced costs and greater profitability. Indeed, 76% of customers expect companies to understand their needs. And furthermore, companies that focus on customer needs are 60% more profitable than those brands that do not.


Going the extra mile by offering proactive customer service is not just a matter of making your customers happy from time to time. It is the key to winning their loyalty, encouraging their positive feedback, and earning the business of new customers in the process.

Interested in our solutions?

+33 (0)1 55 37 30 50

Get in touch for more information