Customer Service

The Art of Anticipation: Proactive Customer Service Strategies

Think back to the last great vacation you took. A smooth flight, easy landing, a warm welcome on some distant shore, with every small need taken care of. The hospitality beyond par, with the team almost seeming to anticipate every need of yours!

Now extend that thought to the realm of e-commerce, B2B customer success or almost any customer-facing operation in your organisation – proactive customer service operations have never been more important for business success. In fact, many people are of opinion that in the B2B SaaS space, with many competing platforms vying for eyeballs with almost the same features, out-of-the-world and proactive customer service strategies have become a competitive advantage for many frontrunners.

What are the ingredients in this secret sauce to success? Let’s parse through some of the leading customer service solutions that seem to make or break the company’s brand:

  1. Hyper-personalisation: When you receive an email with your name in the subject line, you’re more likely to click and open it. This is a fact that many marketers rely on to reach cold email prospects. The same principle applies across the entire lifecycle when a prospect converts to a customer. Building a digital persona of the customer’s needs, wants, interests and aptitudes helps customer success personnel build hyper-personalised touch points whether online or offline.
  2. Omnichannel experience: Customers now seek assistance 24X7. Issue redressal must happen in real-time, and it must be seamless. These are some of the first principles of the customer experience (CX) that executives running proactive customer service operations seek to build. For instance, when an airline passenger may interact with your product or service via an app, on the website, at information kiosks, or on the multimedia touch screen during the flight, ensuring an error-free experience where the system is always aware of the ‘state’ of the customer and serves up relevant information and options is critical. Technology such as interactive chatbots can be hugely relevant in this case. Advanced chatbots are now capable of gauging customer emotions and troubleshooting complex issues without a hitch.
  3. Pre-emptive issue resolution: Speaking of troubleshooting, resolving issues pre-emptively can be a gamechanger when delivering complex services to customers. How do you anticipate your customer’s needs? The trick lies in building the right ‘branching logic’ into your customer journey. Consider the global supply chain space, where billions of dollars of goods cross the oceans to reach markets worldwide. Tracking the goods and ensuring they are delivered seamlessly is a given. However, how customers are treated when goods are lost or damaged can be a crucial differentiating factor: when communicating with customers, if an issue number is pre-emptively provided, along with easy methods to track the lost goods, or a path laid out for resolution with contact information for damaged goods, customer satisfaction numbers may improve after the experience. Customer service outsourcing solutions from experienced providers who are adept at this art of pre-emptive issue resolution may be an option for businesses to explore.
  4. Making ‘white glove’ the norm: Traditionally, white glove service implied an elevated level of customer service for those who paid extra. However, technology has now made white glove services the norm. Going the extra mile to make your customers feel special need not be a time-consuming or costly affair, with AI-enabled digital communication channels open 24X7 to the customer’s every need. Think of network operating centres that silently report issues with a brand’s servers and download fixes before the customer is even aware of the issue. Think also of the AI-enabled contact centre that greets the customer by name and cuts to the chase about the intent of the call, based on previous interactions. This level of attention to detail and convenience, besides the emotional fulfilment at the end of the interaction, can truly differentiate your brand from every other brand out there.

Granted, this may be easier said than done. Consider, building a detailed and comprehensive profile of your customers is the first step in this journey. With the relevant information locked in siloed data storage across departments, unlocking the barriers to such data integration may indeed be the first step in the digital transformation journey of your organisation towards better CX.

In summary, anticipating customer needs and building an exhaustive customer journey that is designed to take care of every eventuality is the future of customer services. Business leaders planning proactive customer service strategies should look both inwards at data, processes, and technologies; and outwards at the latest customer service solutions, when designing CX, and incorporate the best the market has to offer in this space.

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