Customer Service

How to turn reactive customer experience into proactive

The key touch points of a business that influence customer experience (CX) lie in its marketing, commerce, and customer service. More often than not the three departments in a business operate independently making the customer experience inconsistent. However, industry research indicates that 85 per cent of customers, not surprisingly, expect consistent experiences across departments. Progressive businesses are aware of this and worldwide, many are tagging customer experience at the top of their priority list. In fact, investing in customer experience has become a necessity in this era of economic uncertainty.

However, it is no longer enough to have a reactive approach to customer experience. Businesses must, and many are, increasingly implementing proactive measures to ensure customer experience enhancement. Businesses are trying to anticipate customer needs and exceed expectations instead of addressing issues only when they arise. 

Understanding reactive vs. proactive customer experience

Proactive and reactive customer experience is all about who makes the first move. In reactive customer service, the business responds to customer inquiries, complaints or issues after they have occurred. While this is essential, it often falls short of delivering an outstanding customer experience. On the other hand, proactive customer service is about anticipating customer needs and resolving potential issues before they escalate. This shift from reacting to predicting is the cornerstone of a successful proactive customer experience strategy. It deepens connections, optimises customer journeys and reflects transparency and accountability.

Instances of proactive customer experience include:

  1. Anticipating and resolving issues before they crop up
  2. Immediately informing customers about issues such as delays in shipping or service interruptions
  3. Early announcements about upcoming product renewals or features
  4. Reminding customers about details that need to be updated or fixed
  5. Eliminating all pain points that make the customer journey unpleasant
  6. Making processes simple so that it becomes easier to do business with the brand

The ultimate objective is to make customers realise that the business has such a deep understanding of their needs that they do not need to be voiced. Such a strategy, when implemented well, can take the customer experience from reactionary to visionary.

Benefits of a proactive customer experience

  1. Industry research indicates that 89 per cent of customers consider proactive customer service to be a positive experience and it increases chances of repeat business.
  2. Customer loyalty and satisfaction increase, sales grow and the pressure on support teams decreases.
  3. When businesses address customer issues proactively, the need for customers to reach out for assistance can be almost eliminated. This creates positive experiences for both customers and businesses.
  4. Support teams are left with more time to focus on resolving complex issues. They are less stressed and perform better.   

The path from a reactive to a proactive customer experience

The transition to a proactive CX requires a considerable shift from a reactive mindset and involves changes in the daily practices within a business. If in-house expertise or infrastructure is not enough, businesses can seek help from customer service outsourcing enterprises to make an effective transition from a reactive to a proactive customer experience.

The various steps involved in the transition include:

  • Customer journey mapping
  • To become proactive, an organisation must first gather a deep understanding of its customers and their journey with the brand. Customer journey mapping involves identifying touchpoints and understanding the emotions and expectations at each stage. Organisations can then identify potential pain points and opportunities for proactive intervention.

    For instance, if a customer frequently contacts support after a specific interaction, a proactive approach might involve sending follow-up resources or personalised assistance to address potential concerns before they arise.

  • Data-driven insights
  • Organisations can harness the power of data analytics to gain valuable insights into customer behaviour. Customer data can help organisations identify patterns, preferences and potential pain points. Analysis of past interactions can help foresee future needs, which in turn can be used to create personalised customer experiences.

    By implementing AI-powered tools, organisations can streamline the process and analyse vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently. The insights gathered enable organisations to tailor their products, services, and communications to meet customer expectations, ultimately fostering a proactive CX.

  • Implement predictive analytics
  • Predictive analytics takes data analysis a step further by using statistical algorithms and machine learning to forecast future trends and behaviours. By leveraging predictive analytics, businesses can anticipate customer needs, identify potential issues, and implement pre-emptive solutions. Promotions related to customer needs and preferences can be effectively customised by harnessing predictive analytics.

    A well-known brand that has used predictive analytics to further its proactive CX strategy is Amazon, which makes personalised recommendations based on browsing and purchase history. 

  • Embrace automation
  • Automation is a key component of proactive CX. By implementing chatbots, automated emails and other AI-driven solutions, businesses can provide immediate assistance and information to customers, even before they reach out. This not only saves time but also addresses issues proactively.

    E-commerce platforms use automation to notify customers about order shipments, provide tracking information and offer relevant product recommendations based on their purchase history.

  • Proactive communication
  • Communication is at the heart of proactive CX. Businesses can keep customers informed about changes, updates and relevant information before they ask. This could include proactive notifications about service disruptions, new features, or upcoming promotions. Customers also appreciate businesses that are upfront about security breaches and their repercussions. This not only prepares customers for any disruptions but also demonstrates transparency and a commitment to customer satisfaction.

  • Continuous improvement
  • A proactive CX strategy is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to improvement. Businesses need to gather customer feedback regularly, analyse performance metrics and adapt strategies accordingly. Such a step ensures that proactive initiatives align with evolving customer expectations. By staying attuned to customer sentiment and preferences, businesses can continuously enhance their proactive strategies.

    Not quite there yet

    Undoubtedly, turning a reactive customer experience into a proactive one is essential for building lasting customer relationships and staying ahead of the curve. By creating a proactive CX strategy that sets them apart in the eyes of their customers, a business can enjoy increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and a thriving business in an age of customer-centricity.

    However, only a few businesses have been able to achieve 100 per cent customer-centricity. As per a report from Harvard Business Review Analytical Services (HBRAS), only about 16 per cent of CX-driven businesses have a well-rounded 360-degree view of customers. There are still miles to go.

    How can Infosys BPM help?

    It’s time to harness the power of our customer services practice to ensure your customers not only stay with you but also thrive in your ecosystem. Explore end-to-end customer service outsourcing that delivers a single holistic omnichannel experience with Infosys BPM.

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