Proactive support is anticipating and fulfilling your customer's needs before they even have to ask. It would be like going to a friend's house after a long, hot walk, and them opening the door for you with a glass of ice water and a cold towel ready. Doing the same for your customers puts you on a surefire path toward achieving customer success.
Proactive vs. Reactive
In addition to fulfilling anticipated needs, proactive customer support also identifies potential issues before they become problems. A reactive customer support approach basically does the opposite, mainly tending to customers when contacted for help or with a full-blown problem.
While a reactive approach is definitely needed and may be already built into your system by default, adding proactive strategies can transform standard customer support into exceptional customer success. Proactive and reactive approaches also differ in terms of duration and measurement.
- Duration: Reactive customer support is made up of individual transactions; each has a beginning, middle and end. While a proactive approach may still have individual transactions, the support and attention continues for the entire lifetime of the customer.
- Measurement: Reactive support is measured by the quality and speed of assistance your customers receive. Proactive support measures success by the overall business impact of delighting and retaining customers.
Why Proactive is Better
Providing proactive customer support leads to exceptional customer success across the board, starting with enhanced customer engagement. High levels of customer engagement lead to higher ROI, with companies that have higher customer engagement scores enjoying a 50 percent increase in revenue and sales.
Customers are also apt to be delightfully surprised by the ease, convenience and personalized attention they get when they do business with you. This surge of customer delight tends to result in better reviews and increased loyalty, with a 3 to 5 percent boost in customer retention rates.
Anticipating customer needs, proactively identifying and resolving potential issues, and keeping tabs on what customers are saying about your business has two more perks. One is a decrease in support calls, which can dip by up to 30 percent. Another is the ability to better control communications, engaging in relevant conversations to put your business in a positive light.
How to Shift to a More Proactive Approach
Making the move from reactive customer service to proactive customer success doesn’t have be expensive, time consuming or as tough as you may think. Several tips can get you started.
- Be available: Adding a live chat tool to your site, such as HubSpot messages, lets you immediately answer questions and offer guidance to every visitor who lands on your site.
- Ask for feedback: Exceptional customer success starts by knowing what customers want, and the best way to find out what that is by asking them. HubSpot Service Hub is customer support software that lets you quickly deploy surveys to gather input you can use to further improve your customer experience.
- Monitor feedback online: Keeping tabs on what customers are saying about you online lets you enter the conversation to enhance your brand. Respond to positive feedback with appreciation and gratitude. Address negative feedback with an apology and solution to the problem.
- Offer customer rewards: Rewarding customers is one of the top ways to build brand loyalty, only taking second place to exceptional customer support. Reward positive feedback, purchases and referrals with exclusive offers, specials and other relevant perks.
- Admit and apologize for mistakes: While a proactive approach can eliminate a lot of potential mistakes, some are still apt to happen. Being up front is the ideal way to deal. Admit the error, apologize, let them know what you’re doing to fix the issue, and then offer a way to make it right.
- Create a Knowledge Base: Many customers prefer finding answers and solutions on their own, and a Knowledge Base stocked with useful articles and info gives them the power to do so. HubSpot Service Hub includes a Knowledge Base tool you can use to quickly build up a valuable library of resources for your customers.
While multiple strategies and tips can assist with making the move toward proactive customer support, you’ll be in good shape if you remember one key factor. The overall emphasis is on putting your customers first. You want to not only give them what they need, but to also provide it before they even ask. Make them the stars of the show, and they’re likely to make you their go-to brand for years to come.