The “new normal” has changed the relationship between businesses and customers, elevating the importance of customer service. If at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic it felt as though many businesses had literally taken the phone off the hook, it now appears brands have begun to realise their contact centres are at the heart of their relationship with customers.  

That’s why it is so important for businesses to provide customers with an empathetic service. Being proactive is a powerful way to accomplish this goal.

What is proactive customer service?

an image showing a young man and a young woman working in a proactive customer service centre.

Next year, businesses will need to shift from reactive to proactive when it comes to customer service. Opposed to reactive customer service, when customers with questions contact your company, proactive customer service is focused on identifying and resolving issues even before the customer seeks support.  

Terry Walls, former managing director of KPMG, stated that the future success of customer service organisations rests on their ability to continuously anticipate. As we look to 2022, businesses will be required to use AI and analytics to acquire insights and learn more about their customers before they even reach out. Knowing critical information will be the driving force for brands to better control the conversation – and have more meaningful interactions.  

Stop “spamming” customers 

Proactive doesn’t mean spamming. Far too often, we see businesses interpret being proactive as sending out mass messages to many customers with elements of personalisation. As we look to 2022, businesses must evolve and truly get to know their customers. This requires tools that can alert leaders to issues in the wider industry, help them manage customer impact on their business, and provide the information needed for rapid problem-solving.  

For instance, utilising AI for real-time reporting on emerging trends, allows customer service agents to quickly quash new problems by proactively reaching out to their customers via their preferred channel to check that everything is functioning. Proactive contact centres don’t wait for impacted customers to contact them, they act preventively, and customers will appreciate the proactiveness while inbound contacts are reduced. 

There is only one way forward 

By leveraging technology to be proactive, contact centres can engage with customers in a positive way, while benefitting from a series of outcomes. Being proactive will not only help businesses retain existing customers but also acquire new ones since leaders will be able to identify strategic opportunities to engage with prospective customers and anticipate what they might need. 

At the same time, by getting ahead of frustrating experiences, proactive customer service will allow companies to reduce further contact centre escalations easing agents’ workload and giving them the room to provide customers with a better and more empathetic experience. 

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