Talking of customer service, a business either gives good customer service or poor customer service. However, it’s something that business owners, can always improve upon and make it better than their competitors. It’s up to you, what kind of customer service you want-ordinary, good or great?
The customer service of a company normally works in two ways. In the first category, you only respond when your customers approach you through phone, chat or email with their problems. This is known as reactive customer service. Most customer service teams, in-house or in call center outsourcing companies are accustomed to this way of supporting customers.
On the other hand, proactive customer support is about identifying and resolving customer issues before they become problems. Most customer support teams fall into the reactive box, but in order to get your customers to love your brand, you need to be proactive. If you use customer service outsourcing, you need to make sure that when you train them, you also teach them how to use a proactive approach in supporting your customers.
It is natural for the customer service department of a company to respond when they are asked to do so. However, if you reach out to your customers before a problem snowballs and they become too peeved to even listen to your explanation or solution, you will have much better control over the situation. The dilemma, however, is how to make the transition from reactive to proactive customer service.
Why a proactive approach in customer service is better than being reactive
‘Wow’ your customer and earn their loyalty
To negotiate cut-throat competition, only a good customer experience is not enough- you need to give nothing less than exceptional service. To make it “Great” from “Good”, your call center outsourcing team ought to be as proactive as possible in anticipating the needs of your customers.
By opting for proactive customer service, you establish your company as an organization that is customer-focused, and keen to deliver an excellent customer experience. Such an approach brings customer loyalty and increases the long-term value of your customers who continue their association with your business.
This fact is also corroborated in the statistics on customer loyalty. It says on an average company lose 71% of their customers on account of poor customer service. Furthermore, a 5% increase in customer retention results in an increase in profit margin by 25-95%. Moreover, 75% of respondents acknowledged a positive change in their perception of the company after getting an incoming call from a customer service outsourcing team.
Better crisis management
In times of major crisis, reactive customer service may not be very effective. Under normal situation, such an approach may be enough but if there is a major problem, this is unlikely to soothe customers.
Being proactive can help your call center outsourcing team deal with a major crisis or problem a lot more effective than waiting for angry customers to come and unleash their wrath.
Let’s assume that you are experiencing downtime on your website or technical or procedural failure that led to a delay in shipping the orders. Instead of waiting for customers to get upset about it and deluge you with innumerable angry emails, chats, and calls, won’t it be better if your customer service outsourcing team proactively reaches out to your customers and make them aware of the issue you are facing and what you are doing to fix it? Think of the massive number of chats, emails, calls your call center outsourcing team would prevent by keeping customers in loop! With an immensely reduced load of queries, your customer service outsourcing team can focus on resolving the issue at hand and can answer customers’ questions much more effectively and diffuse their anger.
In proactive customer service, call center outsourcing team can keep customers informed through social media mediums like facebook, twitter or WhatsApp, notifying customers about the impending problem and possible repercussions. You can also pin a message on the company’s website that offers similar information. If the problem still persists, your call center outsourcing company can run an email campaign to educate customers about the prevailing situation.
By being proactive in customer support, you win your customers’ confidence as a customer-centric company. You earn your customers respect by coming forward to acknowledge the problem and letting them know about the actual situation.
An efficient and confident customer support
It is your call center outsourcing team that deals with your customers on a daily basis and no one knows better than them how it feels to let down a particular customer. Your customer service outsourcing team is at the forefront of interaction when it comes to attending an unhappy customer.
It is common knowledge that customer service executives are happier when they’re able to solve customers’ problems through meaningful interactions by preempting a crisis rather than resolving it only after the damage has been done.
You gather valuable feedback
When you regularly engage your customers proactively and closely monitor them, the benefits go way beyond just assisting them proactively. Your call center outsourcing team will discover and learn a lot more about how your customers perceive your products, how they use your website and other important data that can be utilized to make significant improvements in your offering.
It brings new customers
When your call center outsourcing team reaches out to your existing customers, even when they haven’t requested to do so, goes a long way not only in cementing your relationship with them but many of them will express their appreciation for such initiatives on social media.
In fact, your existing customers through advocating your product also become brand ambassadors who keep unhappy customers in check. It’s a proven fact that on an average a happy customer shares his or her experience with at least 3 people.
One of the interesting examples of proactive customer service is that of Morton’s Steakhouse which found popular blogger Peter Shankman’s tweet requesting for a steak after landing on the airport. Peter may have sent that tweet in fun but to his surprise, he found Morton’s employee at the airport waiting for him with steak in hand. Now, who wouldn’t be pleased with that? Of course, it was shared and went viral on social media, fetching handsome returns for the brand.
How to shift from Reactive to Proactive customer service
Being in call center outsourcing business for over 20 years and having managed customer service outsourcing teams for businesses across the globe, we reckon that the first step is to identify the pain points in your processes and systems which are bothering or have the potential to bother your customers. These do not have to be big technical problems issues but even trivial things that prompt your customers to come back to you time and again and ask questions. This requires actively monitoring and listening to your customers and gleaning feedback, both from customers and call center outsourcing teams that deal with your customers.
Monitor your customers’ activity on your website
Think of the touchpoints you have with your customers. When it comes to online, it is primarily social media and your website. By using a live chat tool, your call center outsourcing team can monitor your customer’s activity on your website. If you are an online business and outsource e-commerce customer service, it is imperative that you have a thorough understanding of your user behavior on your website. Live Chat outsourcing not only helps in making sure that you are in contact with your customers in real-time but they also tell you what they do after visiting your website. You should instruct your call center outsourcing team to closely watch your customer’s journey on your website to see how much time they spend on a particular page, what features they find more interesting, what hiccups they face in navigating the website, what pages they are bouncing from the most etc. Indicators such as more time spent on a page than one should such as shopping cart page be a sign that they need help. Instead of waiting for the website visitors to initiate a chat, you should get your customer service outsourcing team to reach out to them proactively and ask if they need help. A little proactive effort on part of your call center outsourcing team can help you save a customer who might have abandoned the site without asking for help.
Actively listen to the talk on social media
There are several customers who discuss their experiences with a brand or product openly on social media. Unless you have a separate social media team assigned for this task, you get your call center outsourcing company to monitor social media channels and see what your customers are saying about you. if some users are complaining of a problem, there is a very good possibility that others are experiencing it too but are not voicing yet. You should get your customer service outsourcing team to investigate further to gauge the magnitude of the problem so that you can work on mitigating it before it blows out of proportion and damage your reputation.
Gather Feedback from your customers
A more direct method of identifying common pain points is to gather feedback from your customers. The feedback can be collected by your call center outsourcing company in multiple ways: through surveys, emails, live chats or phone calls. One of the popular methods of survey is Google forms that could be attached in emails or could be sent as a link embedded in a live chat. It is also very cost effective measure and suits such companies, which operate on a limited budget. Additionally, there are professional services like SurveyMonkey that offers a more detailed survey.
Live-chat is another option that is widely used by call center outsourcing companies for collecting feedback from customers. Most of the live chat solutions used by customer service outsourcing companies have an option to get feedback during the chat itself. You can always use a post-chat survey at the end of a live chat and ask questions from your customers.
Your can also have your call center outsourcing company run an email campaign where you can directly ask your customer about your product and service. Recurrence of a particular topic or issue in feedbacks should be your cue to take an action. These feedbacks help you to make informed decisions before these problems become pain points for your customers and start bothering them.