Proactive Customer Service: 9 Tips for Anticipating Needs and Exceeding Expectations

17 min read
Vlad Kovalskiy
July 12, 2023
Last updated: February 9, 2024
Proactive Customer Service: 9 Tips for Anticipating Needs and Exceeding Expectations

With so much technology to make it simple, there’s no excuse not to have proactive customer service. Rather than running around putting out fires, you take the initiative and guide your customers by their hand before they even come across an issue. When put into practice correctly, you build strong client relationships, increase loyalty, and keep that customer churn to a minimum. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to provide proactive customer service that sets your brand apart from your competitors. With a clearer understanding of the best techniques and tools, you can get a serious advantage with very little investment of effort and money. 


1. Reach out to your customers directly

For our first tip on proactive customer service, we're going to rope in the help of our friends in the marketing department. The customer profiles they draw up in the early days of any business are gold dust for predicting how your customers behave and what they want. You can delve into your CRM for additional information, and if you've got CRM analytics, you can draw out crucial insights at the click of a button. 

But in the midst of all this complex technology, don't forget how useful a simple survey can be. Use a blend of multiple-choice questions to understand where your customers are coming from. You can work out their demographics which can influence how you speak to them. Similarly, you can ask open-ended questions to find out what they want in life. 

This information will help you anticipate what your customers are likely to contact you about, so you can either fix issues in advance, or prepare responses in advance. To keep things simple and organized, integrate your form with your CRM, and you'll have a neat stream of data without ever having to learn a line of Python. 


2. Make the most of your online community

Is a company really a company if it’s not on social media? It certainly feels like it isn’t. 

Social media allows you to learn both actively and passively from your users. Whereas customer feedback forms can be rigid and nudge people to answer in a certain way, social media users are free to talk about anything that comes to mind. Put simply, if you scan platforms for mentions of your company, you can uncover a range of original opinions. 

When it comes to reputation management, social media is a leader in proactive customer service. If you spot a trend of negative comments, you can intervene early and limit the damage. An apology and a sincere commitment to do better can solve the majority of minor problems, but even when you’re up against a crisis, it’s always better to act early.

You can, of course, use social media for customer engagement. Most platforms have a poll or a voting function so you can reach out to your clients and learn what direction they would like the company to head in. 

But be careful in the public sphere. You might get useful insights and good reach, but if you ask the wrong question, you could receive a lot of very public criticism. Therefore, avoid questions like “What could we do to improve?” and stick to lighter options such as a public vote on what new products you should include in your range.


3. Open up all your channels for customer feedback

In this section, we’re going to blur the line between proactive and reactive customer service. Yes, you have to react to incoming requests, but you can be proactive by making it easy for people to contact you. You can’t fix what you don’t know about, so get hold of a range of communication tools and start listening.

It’s all about accessibility. If you’ve only got a phone line, you’re unlikely to get any calls from deaf people — they may be more inclined to send an email. But you can also structure the feedback you receive by creating a web form that collects key data such as the first name, email address, and category of inquiry, which makes complaints much easier to deal with at a later date. 

Even aside from recognized accessibility strategies, everyone has their personal preferences. People on the go might want a quick phone call, but if there’s nobody at the other end of the line, their request will go unanswered. 


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4. Create a knowledge base for autonomous troubleshooting

A knowledge base is a perfect example of how to provide proactive customer service. It’s a one-stop shop for people to find solutions to problems, and if designed well, it can be a unique selling point for your brand. 

Your knowledge base should include a variety of resources that give information about your company, your products, and how your customers can achieve success. The best knowledge bases go beyond text-based articles and include FAQ sections, video tutorials, and step-by-step guides that provide an excellent customer experience. 

Take Bitrix24’s Helpdesk. We know that task dependencies are an extremely effective way of scheduling work, so we created a page dedicated to task dependencies in our Helpdesk. With clear screenshots and links to relevant materials, you get a full context of what you’re looking for. So whether you are having difficulties with dependencies or you’ve never even heard of them, the page offers a clear explanation of how to use dependencies to improve your workflows. 


5. Recommend useful products that improve customer success

In a similar spirit to your knowledge base, recommending other products is a form of proactive customer service that helps your clients get the best out of your service. In its simplest form, you take the guesswork out of your customer’s choices and guide them to the items that will improve their experience. 

Recommending useful products is also a great source of extra revenue. Rather than leaving your customer to find a complementary item from your competitors, your prediction keeps you one step ahead as you secure the next deal. 

Ecommerce website templates are an easy place to start. Instead of heading back to school to get qualified in JavaScript, you can use a drag-and-drop editor to create your side. Some plugins will use AI to predict the right product to recommend for each specific user. But you can also simplify the process by manually featuring logical recommendations on each page.


6. Use proactive customer service to keep your customers up to date

We’ve all been to a theater show, left our details, then received regular marketing emails about upcoming events. The same concept can be applied to literally any line of business. In construction? Advertise your local discounts. Selling software as a service? Share success stories from your clients who have used your premium service.

The technology is out there to make email marketing a piece of cake. Drag and drop different kinds of media like blogs, links to social media, how-to videos, and anything else your clients will love.

Using simple parameters, you can automatically include the right names from your customer database in your newsletters to personalize the experience. Furthermore, you can segment your database to send more relevant messages to different groups. With tailored messages, you’re far more likely to inspire a purchase, subscription, or upgrade. 

These newsletters are also a simple way to right a wrong. If you’re receiving a wave of similar complaints, don’t wait for your entire customer list to get upset. Send out an email linking to a page in your knowledge base that solves the issue before it gets out of hand. 


7. Leverage a loyalty program to understand your customers

How can you take a proactive approach to customer service if you don’t have any customers in the first place? Exciting loyalty programs are a great way of generating fear of missing out (FOMO) among those who aren’t in the club and attract untapped demographics. 

However, all customer success teams know that there is more value in retaining customers and loyalty programs excel here too. Aside from securing repeat business, they often turn into ambassadors for your brand and happily assume a marketing role for you. Therefore, create a loyalty program that shows appreciation and rewards your top customers. 

As time goes on, you build connections that can be a real boost in implementing proactive customer service. Through a loyalty program, you can offer discounts to users who give you customer insights. As your leading customers, they’re in the best place to tell you if your delivery service is unreliable or if your product guidebook isn’t up to muster. 


8. Earn a reputation for speed (without skimping on quality!)

One of the key outcomes of opening up your communications channels is that you can reply in a timely manner. All customers want their requests to be dealt with efficiently, and there are plenty of ways that you can further enhance your processes. 

Implement a series of KPIs that you can measure and use to improve your performance. Smart examples include establishing a maximum response time and a service level agreement on the period between opening and closing a case. 

After some analysis, you’ll need to troubleshoot. If customers keep cutting off text chats early, try implementing instant notifications that alert your team as soon as a message comes in. Enhance your approach with automations to channel requests directly to the right department and cut out the admin confusion that can result from an inefficient system. Then you can create a bank of template responses for high-frequency queries so you don’t have to write fresh content every time. 

Combining automations and templates, you can use chat widget tech to send automated responses for common questions and implement artificial intelligence so your team can handle a vast array of requests at the same time. 


9. Keep your eyes open for the latest innovation in proactive customer service

In recent years, the world of customer service has absorbed a huge amount of new tools and techniques. Any company resisting these changes has been left behind.

Chat widgets transformed the landscape by allowing workers to deal with multiple queries simultaneously, rather than focusing on a single phone call. Social media’s potential for businesses exploded with knowledge panels, fresh events, and live chat. 

It’s a lesson as old as time that those who embrace new technologies go on to succeed, and artificial intelligence is the next step. AI chatbots have the potential to take care of an unlimited amount of requests at the same time and will use iteration to learn what responses and approaches lead to the best results.

This far-reaching technology is set to be very exciting for customer service teams. Observe the development of how AI learns to predict your customers’ next moves. This is proactive customer service in action, and its potential is huge. With an enormous stack of information to draw upon, AI apps will soon be able to make connections between previously separate data points and even suggest smart business strategies to adopt in the future. 


Bitrix24: Your control center for proactive customer service

So there you have it — nine tips to offer seamless customer service and keep your clients happy long into the future. 

But how are you going to implement them? With Bitrix24, it’s not hard at all. 

Bitrix24 is an all-in-one business platform with the exact tools you need for proactive customer service:

  • An integrated CRM system

  • Multichannel communication for support

  • Analytics and AI

  • A knowledge base builder

  • Amazing automations to speed up all your processes

Still not sure? Sign up for Bitrix24 today and see how you can take your customer service to the next level.


FAQ

What is proactive customer service?

Proactive customer service is all about anticipating customer needs and providing a solution before they even notice the problem. To be effective, proactive customer service requires a deep understanding of your customers and smart use of strategies and tools. 

What is an example of reactive and proactive customer service?

An example of reactive service is a response to a customer complaint about a product or service. In the same context, proactive service would alert customers and provide a solution before the issue had even taken place.

How to be proactive in customer service?

To be proactive, customer service teams need to combine the following strategies:

  • Reach out to customers to understand them
  • Monitor traffic on social media for mentions of problems
  • Create smooth workflows with time savers like automations and templates
  • Use analytics and artificial intelligence in predicting potential issues

How can you take a proactive approach to customer service?

A proactive approach to customer service requires a shift in mentality to accommodate the following elements:

  • A desire to get to know your customers
  • An awareness of where to find your customers
  • A dedication to speed and quality
  • An openness to the use of new technologies

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Table of Content
1. Reach out to your customers directly 1. Reach out to your customers directly 2. Make the most of your online community 3. Open up all your channels for customer feedback 4. Create a knowledge base 5. Recommend useful products 6. Use proactive customer service 7. Leverage a loyalty program 8. Earn a reputation for speed 9. Keep your eyes open for the latest innovation Bitrix24 FAQ What is proactive customer service? What is an example of reactive and proactive customer service? How to be proactive in customer service? How can you take a proactive approach to customer service?
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