All business owners were and are consumers first. As such, you’ve likely already experienced the difference between reactive and proactive customer service.
Reactive customer service addresses consumer issues after they’ve occurred. A bit like over-the counter-medication, this form of service acts as a means of aiding in the recovery process.
RingCentral surveyed 6,000 consumers of whom a measly 13% reported ever having received proactive customer service. Not. Good.
Proactive customer service involves making the first move to help consumers BEFORE they reach out to you regarding a specific problem or issue. It all boils down to who is acting first and being more proactive in today’s digital age which leads to higher customer satisfaction. Being proactive with your customer service can:
- Increase customer retention.
- Decrease frustrated customer calls and complaints.
- Attract new customers.
- Increase productivity and efficiency.
- Make consumers feel empowered.
- Improve consumer trust in your brand.
- Strengthen your brand’s credibility.
Implementing great proactive customer service isn’t rocket science, although some businesses might lead you to believe that it is. The concept is actually quite simple and the steps are easy:
- Perform regular updates. No plan ever runs smoothly and life has a habit of derailing deadlines. I’m sure you know this all too well. Perhaps you even find yourself scrambling for extra time or extending business deadlines. This is where your consumers need to be kept in the loop. Don’t leave them feeling as though you’ve completely forgotten about them. If you are waiting for your customers to complain because you are faced with service delays, you are behaving reactively rather than proactively. If you are addressing your customers before they raise concerns, you are wisely providing customer service. Whether via emails, social media announcements or changes to your website copy, proactive customer service will ALWAYS be most appreciated among your clientele.
- Schedule routine reviews of social media comments. Social media isn’t going anywhere any time soon, and it’s a great platform where your customers love to share their opinions. While you might already be encouraging your customers to tag or message you with questions, you are still exhibiting reactive customer service. Taking the time to read your customers’ comments gives you valuable insight as to how you can help them. By inserting your own comments, you are letting them know you’re actually paying attention beyond responding to a direct message or reacting to a tag. This lets them know you are listening and you are truly interested in what they think.
- Check in regularly with your customers. While this might seem like a “no-brainer”, it’s easy to forget to simply ask your customers if they’re happy. Although many people are all too happy to share their experiences on social media, some of your customers might be holding back. If you want true, honest feedback, consider checking in on them from time to time BEFORE small issues snowball into HUGE problems. Consider implementing surveys, polls or just a few routine questions on social media to get people talking.
The bottom line is that your consumers want more customer-centric experiences with your brand and that means you’re going to have to offer them consistent, proactive levels of service. While sitting back and waiting for consumers to come to you might seem like the easier option, you’re risking a lot in the way of customer retention, new converts and lead generation and profits. Be proactive with your consumers AND with your bottom line!