In the new normal, the idea of customer service is undergoing a major shift. Thinking two steps ahead can save your online brand’s time and money. While brands are looking to cut costs, customers judge their value in terms of problems solved and unique benefits. These factors play an important role in how long customers continue to buy from them. The question is: Are your customers able to get more done every time they interact with your team?
If your answer is no and the resolution your team provides is only partly effective, you risk losing them to a competitor. In a nutshell, you need to up their customer service to survive.
This is where the new paradigm of proactive customer service comes in. Research shows that customers have needs that sometimes they are not even aware of, i.e., until they experience the needs personally. What’s more, these unmet needs tend to change quickly over time. So, brands need to develop the fine art of anticipating customer needs and fulfilling them as quickly as possible.
For e-commerce brands, this means keeping customers informed about website downtime and sending alerts if a delivery is delayed. Responding to emails or following up on open tickets is now considered ‘reactive’ support. The goal now is to actively remove the need for customers to contact customer support at all.
How to Deliver Proactive Customer Support?
Many brands are taking different approaches to meet the latest standard of customer service. Some focus on creating better onboarding emails, while others are proactively calling customers every 30 days to check if they need any help with the products they order.
Until recently, most brands were satisfied with responding to customer emails and creating FAQ pages. Not anymore. Thanks to the data available at their fingertips, e-commerce companies can easily map the customer journey and identify their pain points accurately.
They are also using survey data to update policies or add new features, for example, extending return windows or adding new IVR options for escalation management.
Here are 4 different strategies being adopted by e-commerce brands to anticipate customer needs proactively:
1. Self-service options:
Studies show that 73% of customers prefer to find answers to product queries on their own. Self-service tools have evolved considerably with the arrival of AI technology. The latest ones allow customers to resolve the majority of problems without contacting an agent. This enables your agents to focus on cases that do need specialized attention. If you are a registered user, the tools can leverage previous order history to predict issues you are likely to face and present specific solutions.
The best part is that these tools are designed to resolve customer issues rather than provide basic troubleshooting tips and rout them back to an agent. They can be the perfect solution for customer support teams facing high volumes and long wait times during peak hours.
2. Optimize the post-purchase experience:
A smooth checkout process is great to have. However, a customer may have more questions about his purchase later on. For example, delivery time and date, return window, warranty, etc. Why stop at sending an order confirmation email when you can do so much more? Proactive customer service goes a step further by sending a post-purchase feedback email. This is further followed up with an invitation to join your referral program or a request for reviewing the product.
The aim is to keep the customer engaged by sharing product recommendations, exclusive offers, etc. The business case is clear: improved customer retention and customer lifetime value.
3. Follow-up on abandoned carts:
On average, 65.23% of all online orders are abandoned. This is an opportunity that can be addressed with the use of proactive customer service. There are three distinct phases around an instance of cart abandonment- pre-abandonment, abandonment, and post abandonment. By analyzing cart abandonment data, you can implement the following strategies at each stage:
- Personalized product recommendations and personalized offers can be used at the first stage to reduce the odds of cart abandonment.
- At Stage 2, you can leverage online surveys and live chat to understand the difficulties faced by customers at checkout.
- Finally, you can re-engage cart abandoners with personalized emails and special discounts.
There could be more than one reason why a customer did not confirm an order. He or she may have preferred to wait for the price to drop or because your checkout page was not user-friendly. It can take a good amount of testing and optimization to reduce your abandonment rate. However, you need a strong email strategy to overcome objections and close sales proactively.
Start with a reminder within 24 hours of the attempted purchase. Follow-up with a second email, offering a discount expiring in 36 hours. In case there is no response, send another reminder email.
4. Training and development
Increased customer loyalty, improved CSAT, and more sales can only result when you are willing to invest in training your agents. Proactively answering customer questions is a skill that takes time to develop. Brands need to evaluate agent performance for empathy and engagement continually. The focus should be on finding areas to improve based on CSAT survey data or customer reviews. Agents must be sensitized about the importance of online reviews and how they affect brand perception. This approach can also provide tangible improvements in terms of improving handle time and first contact resolution.
Proactively alerting customers about a delayed delivery or shipping address mismatch can turn a possible escalation into customer satisfaction. This approach can give your online store the edge in terms of customer loyalty and lifetime value. However, the cost is often a factor in streamlining customer support processes.
Outsourcing customer support to a strategic partner like Helplama can be a cost-effective alternative to doing everything in-house. We offer a wide range of services to suit the needs of businesses across multiple industries. We offer a full refund in case you are not satisfied with our services. We have also done away with contracts to give our customers maximum flexibility. Contact us today for more information.