From Reactive to Proactive Customer Service

A recent survey found that call volume could be reduced by as much as 30% by introducing techniques that make customer service proactive, rather than reactive. Doing so could also boost customer retention rates by as much as 5 percent. Clearly this is a goal worth pursuing, but it runs against the grain of traditional customer service, which tackles problems as they arise. While this can help prevent future occurrences, it doesn’t do much for the customer that was inconvenienced in the first place.How can your call center solve problems before they occur? Here are five tips to help you get started: 1. Anticipate IssuesThis should not be difficult for any experienced manager. Look at the functions of a call center and identify areas where the likelihood for trouble is most prominent. 2. Don’t Wait For ComplaintsIf there is an issue with a product, customer complaints are sure to follow. Why not get out in front of the curve, and engage with customers immediately, even if this involves a contribution from your company’s marketing team? If you tell customers about a product flaw, rather than waiting for them to find it themselves, they are more likely to respond in a positive way. 3. Keep Customers InformedThis expands the strategy expressed in #2 above. Don’t limit your proactive customer engagements to heading off complaints before they happen. Always tell them about new products and changes to the existing product line. 4. Find Out What Your Customers Care AboutCustomer priorities will vary depending on the product or service involved. In some cases price will be the determining factor in making a purchase. Or it could be product durability, or a company’s safety record, or the service and support provided after the purchase. Identifying areas of concern and addressing them is what proactive customer service is all about. 5. Answer Questions in AdvanceChances are your call center agents are asked many of the same questions every week, perhaps even every day. Compile a list of these questions, create satisfactory answers for them, and send this information to all of your customers and prospects.