A recent survey conducted by McKinsey & Company reveals that consumers make 70% of their purchase decisions based on how they feel about the customer service they receive. Good customer service makes a direct contribution to a company’s bottom line. Now there’s a new approach to providing great customer service that you might not have heard of before. It’s called “proactive support.” Here’s what it’s all about.
What is proactive support?
Historically, most customer support efforts have been reactive. That is, a support team takes action to assist a customer when that customer brings a problem to the company’s attention. With proactive customer support, a company’s customer support team aims to identify and address issues before they become problems.
For example, one approach to proactive support is to provide up-front information that helps customers avoid issues in the first place. It might be a FAQ section on the company’s web page, or an instructional video uploaded to YouTube.
Another approach is for the company to initiate contact with a customer concerning their order or experience. According to a 2013 customer service survey conducted by inContact, 87% of customers say they would welcome such contacts. When done appropriately, such company-initiated contacts can go a long way toward winning long-term loyalty. If a customer perceives the interaction as being positive, they’ll give the company points for caring enough to anticipate their needs without being asked. What’s more, they’ll talk about that novel experience with their friends, opening the door to possibly reaching new potential customers.
What does it take to provide proactive customer support? First of all, make it easy for customers to search out the information they need on your web site. Most internet-savvy consumers prefer it if they can quickly address their issue on their own, rather than waiting on hold to get through to a customer service representative (CSR).
But if a CSR is required, it should be as easy and straightforward as possible to make contact with a human being who will be proactive in resolving the issue. The front-line service representative, once apprised of the customer’s need, should take responsibility for seeing that the issue is fully addressed, rather than getting the caller trapped in an endless maze of telephone redirects from department to department.
Finally, when a potential issue with one of your products becomes evident within the company, don’t wait for customers to discover the problem on their own! Reach out proactively, with a plan to address the issue before customers feel they’ve been harmed. And make sure they have a means of following up with you if they still have concerns.
Proactive Support has great potential for increasing customer loyalty, and therefore your sales. If you’d like to know more about how this new way of meeting customer needs can help your business, please contact us.