September 14, 2017 | By

Moving from Reactive to Proactive Customer Support

Customer support is changing. I talk about it every day in my professional life and am experiencing it in my personal one. In today’s ultra-connected world, we expect more from our favorite brands, and there are consequences if they don’t deliver. When we need help, we don’t want to wait 24 hours for an email response, and we certainly don’t want to wait in a queue for an agent. We want our problem solved quickly and easily. But what about getting a problem solved before we know we have one? Being able to tell a customer they had a problem that has already been fixed….no harm done, no time wasted. That is customer service perfection.  It feels like more like a fairytale, but it’s quickly becoming reality.

This next-generation of proactive support utilizes customer, product, and service data to determine the health of a product or service and alerts support teams when it’s time to intervene. It doesn’t wait for the customer to contact you, it lets the available information do the talking. Sounds great, right? No more frustrated customers.

Here are a few tips from moving toward a proactive customer support reality:

You Don’t Have to Be a Fortune-Teller But….

You do need to predict the future (sort of). Whether support is automated or human-assisted, leveraging available data to predict when a product or service may not be working properly or at what point during a customer journey you need to offer assistance is key to a proactive support strategy.

For example, if a new customer is working through the onboarding process, you should know that this person is brand new and be able to provide them with specific prompts and guides to help them mitigate common “first-timer” issues. On the other hand, for a customer who is getting a replacement for something they’ve owned for years, knowing that a quick start guide might be more appropriate makes the experience feel more personalized.

Similarly, in an eCommerce situation, proactive support can identify when users are about to abandon their carts or are struggling to buy, and intervene with additional offers or to answer questions to help convert the sale.

And in the case of IoT connected products, knowing the health of those products and how they are being used (i.e. online status, last updated, firmware versions, most-used features, etc.) helps brands ensure the product is continually working as it should and can even offer customers suggestions on features or up-sell options they may want to consider based on how they are using the product.

Never Stop Learning

Unfortunately, the ability to move from reactive to proactive support doesn’t just happen overnight. It requires technology to make that data actionable. This information can be anything from where a user is in the adoption process, to where common issues arise, to suggestions on the best way to handle specific problems based on past experiences.

Using emerging technologies like artificial intelligence help make this a bit easier by automating the process and continually learning from each and every interaction. By understanding who your customer is, where they are in their journey, and what the actual (or even potential) problem is, support can be deployed quickly — in the right channel — and a resolution can be reached before the customer ever has to contact you.

Ultimately, no customer journey is perfect, and consumers will get stuck — often in the same places. The important thing is to recognize this and work to close those execution gaps or be able to proactively help customers through potential speed bumps. Offering proactive support in a customer’s preferred communication channel helps to prevent abandoned carts and frustrating errors that can sour the experience. Fixing problems before they occur turns customers into evangelists.

To learn more about the benefits of adopting a proactive customer support strategy, read about Bold360’s proactive chat.

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