Online businesses have a common approach to reputation management. They wait for their customers to post an online review and testimonial to react accordingly. However, reactive reputation management is often futile for fixing the damage a single negative review can cause.
What is the alternative, then? How to maintain a pristine brand reputation, increase customer retention, and attract new customers? The answer lies in abandoning the reactive mindset and adopting the proactive one. The following seven strategies will help you implement proactive customer service no matter how unique your target customers are.
Send Out Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Did you know that 95% of your customers will share bad experiences with others? On the other hand, only 1 in 27 customers will voice their concerns and complaints directly to you. How do you find out what those other 26 customers think about your customer service?
While you can follow the best proactive customer service practices, there is no guarantee you’ll achieve your goals. Simply put, your target customers are unique. They are the only ones to know what exactly they expect from your customer service.
Yes, you can spend hours combing through social media groups and online forums to find this out. However, the most efficient way to do it is to ask your customers directly what they need and want. They hold the key information you can use to fuel strategies to increase sales.
Questionnaires and surveys are particularly convenient for this type of task. They can help gauge the experience your customers have when interacting with your brand. Thanks to the modern survey tools feature, you can make taking surveys convenient for your customers and enable them to do them on the go, even from their smartphones.
With access to different types of questions, easy sharing, and access to real-time results, you will be able to gauge your customer experience and learn what you need to do to improve your customer service.
Build a Knowledge Repository
What do you do when you encounter a problem with a service or product you’ve just bought? Do you instantly contact customer support or try Google for the solution? The availability of the internet has enabled every online business to jump the proactive customer service train. The stats are compelling too. Almost 70% of modern customers expect a website to feature a self-service help center.
Your staff is not solely responsible for delivering outstanding customer service. You can leverage your digital assets to do it as well. Everything you need to do is pull all actionable data you have on your services and products and compile a database with a search function.
This type of database is called a knowledge repository or knowledge base. It can benefit both your customers and your staff.
Your customers will have around the clock access to valuable articles, troubleshooting guides, FAQs, and video tutorials. It helps them solve issues without even having to contact your support reps.
On the other side, you can build an internal knowledge base to store the customer service practices that proved delightful. Your staff can consult whenever in doubt, or you can use it to efficiently onboard new employees.
Add Real-Time Assistance with Live Chat
Live chat packs serious power when it comes to boosting customer satisfaction rates. Customers love live chat support interactions. No wonder customer satisfaction ratings for live chat are 85% which is more than email support, knowledge repository articles, and social media support.
The “customer preferring live chat support over any other type of support” trend is getting traction. For 37% of customers, live chat is a favorite option.
The best thing about it is that it allows you to implement proactive customer service right there on your website. With live chat, you can greet your website visitors, inform them that you are standing by should they have any questions, or assist them in making an informed purchasing decision.
Live chat can also be useful in terms of deflection customer support tickets. Not to mention how great it is for customers who live outside of your time zone. You can even implement chatbots to provide instant answers to simple questions, thus enabling your human agents to tend to more demanding customers.
Suggest Product Recommendations
Product recommendation is a proven proactive customer service tactic. Online shoppers who click on recommended products are more than four times more likely to add them to the cart and purchase them.
Many online business owners have second doubts about offering product recommendations. Product recommendations have nothing to do with upselling or cross-selling; it is just another proactive customer service method tailored to improve customer experience. It is all about appearing as a carrying brand able to streamline the shopping experience to website visitors.
Modern tracking and analytics tools can help you track, record, and analyze individual buyer behavior. All popular eCommerce platforms have product recommendation capabilities. With product recommendation engines, you will be able to make sense of your shopper’s behavior and offer them relevant products.
You get the choice to choose where to put the recommended products section on your website. For instance, you can bundle them up and display them when a customer is looking at a specific product page. To provide a consistent experience, you can also recommend useful content found in your blog section.
Announce Product Sales with Newsletters
There are over 250 million active email users in the US alone. Email is a great communication channel you can use to enable your proactive customer service strategy. Do you worry not to disturb your customers? 6 out of 10 customers prefer to be contacted by companies through email.
This strategy works best for businesses that already have an email contact list. However, if you are running a new operation, there are specific tactics you can use to build your email list efficiently.
You can smartly use email to keep your customers in the loop with what’s going on without the risk of appearing spammy. The rule of the thumb – use an email newsletter to communicate something really important. Here are some of the top email marketing examples to get you started.
You can use newsletters in two instances. First, you should inform your customers about a big sale coming soon. And, secondly, if you have a personalization strategy, you can send personalized emails to customers with recommendations of products arriving soon to the store.
Social Media Tracking
Social media has become an inseparable part of everyday life. It has become one of the go-to sources of information to many customers. Facebook, alone, is a platform customers use to send over 20 billion messages to businesses every month.
All of it makes social media perfect for running a proactive customer service operation. But to do it, you will need to have a sort of social media tracking strategy. Social media tracking or social media listening will help you find the conversations about your brand, products, or services.
Instead of solely focusing on responding to those negative Tweets, you can leverage social media to give your brand an active role. You can participate in conversations, educate customers, and build relationships and social media following.
With the right social media tool in your hands, you will be able to get instant notification when your brand is mentioned, or there is a comment or reply to your post. And your team will be able to do it from one inbox.
Analyze Customer Journeys to Streamline Experience
Analyzing customer journey is essential for proactive customer service because it allows you to experience your customer service, products, and services as your customers do. It will provide you with insight into how your customer journey plays out.
The customer journey analysis will help you:
- Truly understand your customer goals
- Identify experiences that frustrate them
- Identify discrepancies between what you think you deliver and what your customers actually experience
- Boost customer retention rates
- Create data-driven strategies to increase sales
Since the markets and customers change, it is important to adopt this strategy as a long-term one. Do customer journey analysis every year to identify new gaps, discover and understand new customer goals, and streamline customer experience across the board.
Be Omnipresent to Reach Customers Before They Do
In the customer-centric era, there is no such thing as being over-exposed. Your online presence has a positive impact on customer retention. But to be one of the strategies to increase sales, your online presence has to become online omnipresence.
Customers want to communicate with companies. Some prefer one communication channel over others. The ability to meet their expectations and deliver service when and where it is expected contributes to a better customer experience.
We’ve shared some of the actions with you to help you reach this goal, including live chat, knowledge repository, social media tracking, and email newsletter. If you include all of them in your proactive customer service strategy, you will always be there for your customers. But more importantly, you will be able to offer your services even before they decide to reach you.
You can use any of these proactive customer service strategies no matter which one of the eCommerce platforms you are using. The information you gather will enable you to drive customer retention rates and diversify your strategies to increase your sales mix. With a customer journey analysis report in your hands, you can personalize each of these actions to cater to your target customers’ specific needs and wants.
With Crowdfire, you can find curated content, schedule your posts, engage with your audience, deep-dive into analytics and create custom reports. Now introducing Social listening. Try it for free.