Reactive vs. Proactive Customer Service
There are two basic approaches to customer service. You can respond reactively or proactively.
Which path do you take?
Here’s a simple way to identify your company’s customer service strategy and change it for the better:
1. A problem arises. Your systems crashed and a page of your website is down indefinitely. Do you:
A. Wait until customers contact you, at which point you explain the issue
B. Immediately notify customers of the problem before they even notice it
2. A customer is browsing your web store and has a question. Would they:
A. Find a contact page, call or email you and wait for a response
B. Be engaged by a customer service/sales team member via live chat
3. A customer has a question about the nature of your operations. Many people have come to you with this question before. Do you:
A. Answer customer questions as they roll in
B. Create a Frequently Asked Questions page that would allow customers to answer their own questions quickly
4. Upon delivering a product or service to your customer, do you:
A. Hope they liked it
B. Ask them about their experience via phone call, email, survey, etc.
5. You have a customer who has been using your site/service for 2 years now. Do you:
A. Thank your lucky stars that they’ve stuck with you
B. Offer them a reward/loyalty program that may feature discounts, offers, news, etc.
6. You’re wondering what customers really think of your product/service. Do you:
A. Like to tell yourself that everyone thinks that you’re the best
B. Run periodic web/social media searches to see what customers are really saying about you
7. It comes to your attention that a customer posted an unfavorable ‘tweet’ about your business. Your reaction is:
A. What’s a tweet?
B. Use your company Twitter account to get in touch with that customer and see if you can fix the problem and/or remedy the situation.
And now the results:
Mostly A’s: Reactive Customer Service.
Your business is approaching customer service reactively, meaning that you prefer to deal with problems as they arise, and aren’t going out of your way for your customers. This isn’t always a bad thing, but you surely won’t be wowing anyone with your superior dedication to your customers.
Mostly B’s: Proactive Customer Service.
Your business has a proactive approach to customer service, meaning that you prefer to take the initiative and show customers how much they mean to your company. You prefer to tackle problems head on and early, and you like to see swift and effective resolution. You truly believe in putting the customer first and going the extra mile to accommodate them.
So, how do you shift from reactive to proactive strategy? It doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. The driving notion behind proactive service is putting the customer first.
In order to do that, you need to do two things:
First, make yourself available. This means more than just leaving a contact number on your website. The easiest way to up your availability? Add live chat to your website. Letting customers get in touch with you in an instant is convenient for the customer and it lets you serve them more effectively.
Second, Help your customers help themselves. This can take many forms. For example, you can create a dynamic FAQ page or alert your customers of known problems and give them steps they can take to resolve their issues. Empowering customers will save your time while serving those who keep your business alive.
Proactive customer service doesn’t need to slow your business and it doesn’t need to break the bank. Putting your customers first will prove extremely beneficial to both your reputation and your bottom line, and the costs will cover themselves.
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