For many years, companies have operated their customer service as a reactive program. In other words, post-sale customer service was designed to wait for a problem to arise, then react.
Today’s companies are shifting to a proactive customer service model. After all, it’s better to prevent negative scenarios whenever possible. Here are six tips for shifting to a proactive customer service model to improve customer loyalty.
Put the Right Tools in Place
While customer service is mainly about developing strong customer relationships throughout the sales funnel, the infrastructure supporting your efforts makes a big difference. Using tools that help your team as they support your customers is essential.
When considering proactive customer service, automation and streamlined communications are critical. Call center software, CRM software, and email flow automation tools provide the infrastructure needed to provide high quality, proactive customer support.
Create a Follow-Up Flow
The days and weeks following purchase are a sensitive time. It’s within this timespan that the customer will determine whether their investment was worthwhile and whether they’ll buy from your business again. For SaaS providers and subscription-based services, the post-sale period is even more critical. Putting a proper follow-up flow in place can limit abandonment and keep customers on board.
Develop a follow-up flow that provides education and support after a purchase, rather than waiting for a customer to ask questions. If a customer is struggling with the learning curve of your product or service, they’re more likely to abandon their efforts and look elsewhere. Consider using a proactive follow-up flow that offers training, tutorials, and plain text emails asking if the customer has any questions or support needs.
Ask for Continuous Feedback
Capturing feedback throughout the entire purchase process can help your company reshape its customer service model. Airbnb effectively asks for continuous feedback throughout the customer journey. They start by asking about the booking process. Then, they send a simple review request when someone first arrives at their destination. After that, another follows regarding the overall experience.
Using this continuous feedback loop allows companies to clarify friction points throughout the customer journey. By using this approach, you can quickly determine whether customers are struggling with the transaction process, the initial setup, or learning how to use your product.
Simplify Communication Requests
One of the most important elements of customer service is valuing the customer’s precious time. No one wants to wait forever for a response or spend hours on hold. To avoid this added negativity, make communications and feedback requests as streamlined as possible.
When asking customers to submit feedback, use a simple NPS score or three-question survey. Highlight the fact that their efforts will take less than five minutes and showcase your gratitude for their support. Ensure that your contact information is readily available online so that they don’t have to go searching for it. Finally, ensure there are enough agents to minimize the time spent on hold or waiting for a response.
One of the things many companies struggle with is practicing transparency. Rather than waiting for a customer to notice a problem, bring it to their attention and take ownership of the issue. An attempted cover-up will always be more damaging than taking responsibility and fixing the problem.
Develop Your Team
Finally, dedicate time and resources to developing the skills of frontline workers who deal with customers. Ensure you have the right people in place for the job. Provide your team with training, feedback, and emotional support to keep them feeling fresh and ready to deal with customers.
Remember that your frontline workers are the face and voice of your company. Customers will feel better after interacting with someone empathetic and personable, whether over the phone, in a live chat, or in person.
With these six tips, you can shift toward a proactive customer service model and improve customer satisfaction.