The Value of Proactive Customer Support


Readers of this blog know that we’ve discussed the importance of providing stellar consumer support and why great customer service improves your bottom line. But there’s a specific type of consumer assistance that’s vital to success, known as proactive customer service. To get a clear sense of what that entails, let’s take a look at the differences between reactive customer service and its proactive counterpart.

Imagine a customer is on your website and navigates to the contact page. They fill out a form that sends you an email and then they must wait for your response. In this case, the consumer is left in limbo until you react to their request. This is reactive customer service.

In the next instance, a customer is on your website and is happy to discover valuable knowledge-based pages filled with answers to FAQs and instructional videos. This is proactive customer service. Other examples of this include support reps who go above and beyond to help you locate a desired product without being prompted, or agents who look to improve your experience by offering an unsolicited perk or refund. If you get a call or text telling you that your flight was cancelled, but not to worry, you’ve been booked on the next flight — that’s good, proactive service.

This latter style of support is specifically designed to identify and resolve consumer issues before they become problems. Tools that offer proactive interactivity are quickly becoming the future of customer service. As a matter of fact, a study revealed that 87% of today’s consumers actually prefer to be contacted proactively by companies, especially in regards to a customer service issue, complaint, or concern.

While it seems common sense would dictate the value of customer service coming from within, the proof is in the pudding. When companies were making outbound calls to clients, 65% of consumers stated that they want to be contacted about fraudulent activity. More than half of the respondents expressed a desire to be reminded about upcoming appointments or regarding questions about an order.

These proactive measures reduce incoming support calls from today’s tech-savvy consumers, who are instead reaching out online to find solutions to potential issues prior to purchase. They may be using their smartphones, but it isn’t to speak with a person. Instead, they’re scouring review sites and connecting on social media with friends, family, and colleagues for feedback on your product or service.

Have you taken steps to give them a proper greeting? If you’re truly invested in creating a five-star customer experience, your company should be in the business of providing great support from the minute you say hello. Being proactive is a winning strategy.

Next week: We explore one way savvy brands put this theory into action, by embracing online reviews and letting their customers help drive the story.