Deliver Proactive Service
After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
- Explain why proactive service matters.
- List methods to deliver proactive service.
- Implement tactics to create customer advocates.
As an agent in a contact center, you’re on the leading edge of a customer service revolution. Right now, contact centers across every industry are transforming from a place that just fixes problems into a real business driver. This is an exciting time to work in customer service, but changes are happening against a backdrop of consumer dissatisfaction. According to Harvard Business Review, 81 percent of people would rather use self-service than engage with customer service. This negative perception of the contact center presents challenges for agents who strive to do great work.
One way to improve the perception of your contact center is to use proactive service methods. Instead of waiting for customers to reach out with problems, you can preempt complaints by reaching out to the customer first. This lets you handle some issues before the customer feels the need to get in touch. It also reassures customers that the contact center has their best interests in mind.
Periodic Personalized Check-ins
To help establish and maintain good relationships, start connecting with your customers. Here are some great reasons to reach out.
- Celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. Sending birthday and anniversary wishes lets you check in periodically in a positive and personal way. Consider including a coupon or deal.
- Acknowledge milestones. Thank your customers when they reach a certain purchase amount, have been a customer for a year, and so on.
Strategic Product and Service Communications
Contacting customers before maintenance and expiration dates can help foster a sense of trust.
- Anticipate needs. If you know that a product has an 18-month life span, set a touch for 18 months after purchase to see if the customer needs a replacement.
- Advise on warranties. Reach out before warranties expire or around regularly scheduled maintenance.
Connect on the channel that best serves your audience. If your customers prefer text messages, talk to them there. Do they use your app a lot? Use in-app service to engage. The idea is to contact them on the channel where they are most likely to engage with you.
Thanking Your Customers
We already mentioned thank-yous, but let’s dive a little deeper. Customers love to be acknowledged. When they receive a message from you acknowledging the time and resources they’ve spent with your company, it helps reinforce their relationship with your company. Here are some ideas.
- Give a shout out online. Use your company website, blog, or social media to tell the world how great your customer is.
- Add thank-you gifts. Surprise them with a little something extra when packing an order. This can be as simple as samples of other products.
- Send handwritten notes. When acknowledging an important event, write a note by hand to add a personal touch.
One of the biggest benefits of proactive service is that it gets people talking about your brand in a positive way. With a little extra attention, your customers may become more than customers—they might become advocates. Advocates can be particularly valuable because:
- Peer-to-peer recommendations are an extremely effective form of marketing.
- Customer advocates are passionate about the brand and willing to spread the word without encouragement.
- Customers can reach networks the brand may not be able to access.
A contact center doesn’t have to be only about fixing things that are broken. Customer service should be a business driver that can partner with other departments like marketing and sales to amplify your company’s message. Here are some ways you can help promote customer advocacy.
- Create contests and public recognition for customers in social media channels.
- Establish generous referral reward programs. With good incentives, existing customers are more likely to refer new customers. (This also tends to motivate the customer to answer questions and do the selling.)
- Offer insider access to important customers. Provide sneak previews, early delivery of products, or tickets to company events.
Delivering proactive service, giving acknowledgements, and creating customer advocates are three great ways to provide excellent service and start participating in the transformation of your service center.