Customer service has historically been a reactive business process. This style of dealing with customers has fallen out of fashion for the most part, and modern companies are improving customer satisfaction and retention now by shifting to a more proactive customer service.
Here are 10 things your business can do to get ahead of problems and keep your customers happy.
Put the Right Tools in Place
Having the right tools in place can make all the difference when shifting to a proactive customer service model. Take some time to audit both your customer-facing and back-end processes and tools to see where you can improve to make your service more efficient.
An example of a customer-facing tool upgrade would be to implement a live chat option on your website. Behind the scenes, you can use cloud storage and online faxing to improve internal communications. According to eFax.com, online faxing and file sharing are especially crucial as many businesses move to a remote or flexible employment structure following the global pandemic.
By having the right tools in place, you can solve problems faster and limit communication errors that impact customer service.
Become More Accessible
Consider how your customers can get in touch with you when a problem arises. Nobody wants to spend time sitting on hold in 2020. Take an omnichannel approach to communication, by giving customers the option to text, DM on social media, or use live chat.
Opening up these options often means implementing new tools and processes. So, you might consider hiring a virtual assistant or customer service representative whose job it is solely to focus on omnichannel customer engagement.
Monitor and Manage Reviews
Monitoring and managing reviews is an effective way to boost customer retention and customer acquisition. While many companies take a passive approach to customer reviews, it is an excellent opportunity for proactive customer service.
Reach out to customers online and ask them to leave a review, providing the link to make it easier. Respond to both positive and negative reviews, rather than ignoring them. In addition to looking for reviews on sites such as Facebook and Google, use social listening to find out what people are saying on their channels and forums such as Reddit. This exercise allows you to shape the narrative about your business and identify any repeat complaints that may indicate a deeper issue.
Use Quick Feedback Surveys
When all else fails, ask your customers and audience what you can do better. The key to collecting customer feedback with a survey is keeping it short and sweet and then communicating how quickly they complete it. For example, saying, “please take two minutes to fill out this three-question survey” indicates that a customer can have their say without dedicating too much time to it.
Ask your customers what you’ve done well and what you can do better. Don’t forget to create surveys for people in other stages of the sales funnel. Ask audience members why they haven’t purchased any of your offerings yet. You could discover an unknown friction point or opportunity for new payment models, for example.
Know Your Friction Points
Every business has friction points that make things challenging or frustrating for customers. For example, an arduous check-out process could be considered a friction point. Another example would be a website that is difficult to navigate.
Take some time to determine where friction points are hidden within your business and strategize ways to smooth them out. One way to determine your company’s friction points is to look at your website analytics to determine where and when people are leaving your site. You can also use review monitoring and feedback surveys for this purpose.
Perfect Your Messaging
The more clearly you can communicate how somebody should use your product or service, the fewer problems your customers will have. To accomplish this task, you need to perfect your messaging, keeping it clear and concise.
One of the main challenges businesses face with this is that employees and managers often have a different level of product knowledge. It can be difficult to create an introductory guide when you already know the offerings inside and out. Overcome this obstacle by beta-testing your communications and by allowing outsiders the opportunity to vet and comment on your messaging before it goes out.
Create a simple FAQ page that answers common questions that new or existing customers may have about your offering. Use your communications as data points to shape this page over time. On your website, the FAQ section should be apparent and easy to navigate.
Using an FAQ page empowers customers to solve their own problems before reaching out to you. This subtle approach to proactive customer service can help improve customer satisfaction and streamline communications.
Create a Follow-Up Strategy
Another approach to proactive customer service includes developing a follow-up strategy after a customer completes a transaction. Consider sending out an informative email automation covering your FAQs and asking the customer how it’s going since their purchase.
Offer free training or support calls as part of your follow-up strategy. A free training opportunity or pre-recorded tutorial can help minimize the learning curve for your customers and clients.
Focus on Employee Morale
Businesses must ensure their front-line workers are happy and engaged in order to improve proactive customer service. After all, their tone and demeanor ultimately impact how a customer perceives the business when seeking support.
Apply the same customer service strategies to your employees. Ask them for feedback and ask how you can help make their jobs better.
Add a Human Element
Finally, add a human element to your communications. If you use a virtual assistant to navigate customer service on your website or social media, introduce that person. Rather than making automated email follow-ups look polished and “marketed,” consider using a few plain text emails with a name attached.
Other subtle ways to include a human element in customer service is to use a conversational tone, rather than a highly polished or robotic-sounding response. By creating a human atmosphere, customers will feel more connected with your business.
With these 10 tips, you can start shifting your customer service strategy from reactive to proactive. As a result, you’ll increase your conversions and retention over time