You care about your customers and want to keep them satisfied. How can you guarantee, though, that you’re offering exceptional customer service every time you interact with a customer? The key lies in understanding the difference between reactive and proactive customer service.
If you’re not sure you know why a proactive approach is the best path towards stellar customer service, consider the last time you yourself had a problem with a product or service. You likely took the product into the store where you purchased it or called the manufacturer for assistance. Maybe you needed to return the item or just seek additional insight into how it worked. While you probably got your questions answered and your problem solved, it’s rare to leave such a customer service experience feeling delighted by the conversation.
Why? Because the store, manufacturer or company behind the product was responding reactively. When we wait for customers to come to us with problems, we risk our good name and reputation for client satisfaction. Even when we answer questions thoroughly and solve problems as completely as possible, waiting for the customer to come to you puts the burden on them. To bring a more proactive approach to your business, give these four tips a try:
Ask for Customer Feedback
Don’t wait for customers to call and complain. Meet them more than halfway by offering up survey opportunities as soon as they’ve checked out or shortly after they’ve had a chance to experience your product/service. This proactive approach gives the customer power, but it also sets you up as an eager participant in the conversation, willing to really listen and make real changes. Even better, these kinds of surveys allow you to spot red flag customers you may have inadvertently annoyed. By carefully monitoring customer responses to such surveys, you can quickly nip problems in the bud. Why wait for a complaint when you can address it the moment the problem crops up?
Be Honest About Mistakes
Realizing a product or service isn’t what you expected it to be can be tough. Even worse, though, is when you feel betrayed by the company behind the product. The quickest way to sabotage a customer’s loyalty to your business is to withhold knowledge of a mistake or glitch from them. The reality is that everyone messes up from time to time; customers may even find your accidents endearing and understandable as long as you go about confessing it in the right way. Be transparent with your clients and you’ll be rewarded with their continued business and an improved reputation for being honest.
Check Out Your Online Reputation
What your customers say to you in person or over the phone is one thing, but what they say to their friends, family and fellow shoppers is another. Pay close attention to your online reputation. In an increasingly global society, customer feedback rarely stops when your business closes for the day. Work with a social media or reputation manager to ensure your good name is protected online.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you should delete bad reviews or argue with customers who are voicing their opinions online. Instead, be proactive by quickly responding to criticisms and work to make things right. When possible, try to bring these conversations out of the spotlight of the internet and over the phone or email instead. Finding solutions to common customer woes is much easier without the rest of the web chiming in!
Always Be Available
Whether your clients are from the local area or from across the globe, it pays to be available around the clock. Even when you’re not struggling to communicate across time zones, having a friendly, resourceful voice on the end of the line can earn you serious points with customers. There’s nothing more frustrating than reaching a company’s voicemail when you need help immediately. Thankfully, 24-hour call centers are more common than ever and can provide you and your team the break you need to go home and relax at night. With a virtual receptionist on the job, you needn’t worry about sending callers to a voicemail box or missing any important customer service opportunities.
Consider, too, that not every employee will want to chat over the phone. Offer multiple ways to get in touch, like chat, email and social media messaging. Allowing customers to contact you in the way that is best for them sets you up for a win before the conversation even starts.
How Failing to be Proactive Can Hurt
Fail to adopt the tips above and you could find your business suffering because of it. Working reactively is a fast way to put out fires, but you’ll struggle to establish positive rapport with your customers. While you might solve immediate problems, you’ll risk your reputation for excellent customer service in the process. You may need to occasionally slip into reactive mode when encountering unexpected problems, but working proactively every day can mitigate these kinds of scenarios.
If you require additional administrative support to ensure you’re delivering the most proactive customer service possible, consider partnering with a call center like MAP Communications. Get a preview our passion for customer satisfaction by signing up for a free trial of our live answering service. We know you and your customers will be pleased!