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.
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.
To offer proactive customer service, follow these critical steps:
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:
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:
Proactive customer service offers numerous advantages for your brand. They include:
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.
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