For many businesses, the standard approach to customer service is to deal with problems as they arise. It is important to handle customer questions or concerns as they come in, but it’s even more important to anticipate these problems. A proactive customer service strategy can cut down on total customer inquiries. Plus, customers feel more confident in a business that thinks ahead and puts measures in place to reduce problems before they occur.
In this step-by-step guide, we review 5 simple steps for building the foundation for a proactive customer service strategy. You will learn how to increase overall customer satisfaction and manage your customer service department more effectively.
#1: Ask your customers for direct feedback.
One of the first steps to building a proactive customer service approach is to gather and measure customer feedback. If you don’t know what your customers think about your current customer service levels, you have no way of improving.
Not sure where to start, or how to distribute surveys to your existing customer base? Here are just a few examples of how you can gather customer feedback:
- Include a survey at the end of every customer service call
- Request customer feedback via email after you close a customer support trouble ticket
- Run a contest or drawing that rewards customers who provide your business with feedback
#2: Communicate changes or updates before customers find out on their own.
Is your business getting ready to make a big change to your existing services? Are you planning to perform maintenance or make updates to your product that may affect your customers negatively? Tell your customers before they find out independently.
It’s always better for customers to hear about a problem, change, or potential downtime from your business, rather than encountering the issue on their own. Keeping open lines of communication helps build customer trust. It also helps minimize the number of questions and complaints that your customer service department receives when the change or problem occurs.
#3: Implement system monitoring and failover processes to prevent downtime.
In a previous post, we talked about how to enhance customer service during a system outage. But, you won’t need a crisis communications plan if you are able to prevent system outages in the first place.
Implement advanced monitoring processes to ensure that your team is notified the moment that your system experiences issues or shows signs of an impending problem. In the event of an issue, you should also have redundant infrastructure in place to allow your business to continue running smoothly while the team addresses the problem on your main system.
#4: Monitor online forums and social media for mentions of your business.
If you’re not monitoring what your customers are saying about your business online, you’re missing out on strategic opportunities. Whether a customer is voicing a complaint on Twitter, or leaving a positive review on Facebook, you need to pay attention.
If your customers are expressing negative feedback online, you have the opportunity to reach out and proactively address the problem. And if your customers are sharing positive feedback, you have the opportunity to thank and reward them in a public forum. Either way, online media channels provide your business with another outlet to build and strengthen the relationship you have with your customers.
#5: Develop content that addresses customer questions.
We can’t stress this tip for proactive customer service enough. If one customer asks a question, you can be fairly certain that they aren’t the only ones wondering about the answer. By developing content that addresses frequently asked questions, you allow your customers to help themselves on simple questions, minimizing the time and effort that they would normally spend on the phone with one of your customer support agents.
Building a Proactive Customer Service Strategy
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