Customer service was once reactive in nature, with customers calling when support was needed and companies merely delivering the needed assistance. In today’s competitive world, however, customer engagement is the rule, as brands strive to build relationships with customers and win their long-term loyalty. This shift to proactive service demonstrates the modern customer-centric approach, as it empowers customers by solving issues before they arise, saves them time, and ultimately wins their confidence and satisfaction. Here are five ways to deliver proactive service for true customer empowerment and loyalty.
Understanding your customers is key to offering them the greatest experiences. Solicit their feedback through periodic and post-contact surveys to better understand how your brand can improve. Social media also offers a wealth of valuable information about customer sentiments. Engage proactively with customers who leave positive comments on your brand’s social media channels, thanking them for their comments and even reaching out to them for marketing campaigns that feature brand advocates. What’s more, be sure to never ignore criticism on social media: Reach out immediately to frustrated customers and invite them to explain their opinions further on a private channel such as email, phone, or chat.
Never make your customers look too hard for information. Keep them informed well in advance, such as offering detailed delivery and tracking information and notifications when a website or channel needs to undergo maintenance. In addition, make sure that customer service hours are clearly indicated on all channels, and provide detailed contact information such as phone numbers and extensions for various service departments. Taking proactive measures such as offering a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions can further empower customers to assist themselves.
Knowing when to reward customers is essential to winning their trust and loyalty. For example, when a service case becomes difficult or a brand makes a billing or delivery error, agents should be authorized to issue instant vouchers as goodwill gestures. In addition, customers may be rewarded for their patronage after a certain amount of time, on special holidays or birthdays, or after a purchase with a discount offer on a future purchase. Such proactive behavior shows respect for customers’ time and gratitude for their business.
Contact center technologies can now save customers more time than ever. For example, visual IVR menus can help connect customers quickly to the most qualified agent, while virtual hold and prioritized callbacks eliminate hold times and enable callbacks when a customer’s position arrives at the front of a queue. Channels such as live chat further empower customers by offering them assistance proactively, exactly when they need it most. Lastly, the Internet of Things is enabling brands to solve technical problems before they arise, specifically when “smart” objects (physical objects with an Internet connection) diagnose and communicate potential issues directly to a brand and thus prevent the need for a customer service interaction.
With the help of contact center staff, brands should monitor service issues regularly and address them immediately. For example, if agents cite that the brand website is frequently slow when loading or that call volumes are high, your brand should improve regular site maintenance and staff channels according to demand. Identifying service trends as quickly as possible will reduce the number of customer service cases and increase customer satisfaction. With proactive customer service, your brand can reduce the number of service issues, increase positive customer engagement, and satisfy your customers long-term.
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