Traditionally the approach to solving customer queries has been reactive. This means that companies sit tight till the customer raises an issue and then go about solving it. Cut to the age of AI, and customer service has transformed from being reactive to proactive. This means, now companies make the first move and take the initiative even before the customer asks for help.
Whenever Facebook rolls out new features, it introduces the “tours” of new features.
Before you know that your Netflix is not streaming, you receive an email notification about the outage and possible reasons.
Amazon tells you if your package delivery is delayed.
All of these are examples of proactive customer service.
The revolution of proactive customer service has arrived, given the rising nature of on-demand customer behavior. There is a lot of customer data lying around in systems, which can be processed and analyzed to dish out proactive customer service. The customers today are increasingly shifting loyalties to brands that can amaze and catch their attention. And here, proactive customer service can be the real game changer.
How does proactive customer service work?
Proactive customer service is all about transforming the ordinary customer service and making it extraordinary. This happens when companies can identify and resolve issues before the customers encounter them.
A reactive custom service approach kicks in when the customer has already approached a company with an issue. But what if the company can point out a problem for a customer before she has even realized it? Proactive customer service brings a new paradigm in serving customers without having them call in first.
More and more customers are loving this new approach. A new service model is underway where customers can sit back and relax while companies take care of keeping track of issues that need to be addressed. For companies, this translates to great customer experiences and more customer footfall coming their way.
The many benefits of proactive customer service
Rightly so, proactive customer service delivers several benefits, such as –
Improved customer perception
Customers like to be amazed and cared for. Customers are happy to hear from brands, especially if they are regular customers. With proactive customer service, companies are actually taking the initiative to help customers without them having asked for help. This enables customers to have more faith in the brand as they realize that the company is staying updated about the issues that need to be fixed. Proactive brand engagement can have a huge impact on the Customer Happiness Index.
Reduced customer calls
With proactive customer service, companies are able to solve issues even before the customer raises them. This also means that the incoming customer requests reduce significantly.
Over 12 months, proactive service can reduce call volumes by up to 20-30% annually and help in reducing the call center operating costs by as much as 25 percent.
Instead of spending a lot of time attending to phone calls or responding to social media complaints, companies can send preemptive email communication informing customers about potential updates or changes. For example, if the subscription pricing for a product has changed, it is better for companies to inform customers through an email beforehand rather than customers finding it last minute and making frantic calls to customer care.
Proactive customer service helps make your support system more robust and futuristic, which can help reduce the incoming load on the service agents.
When customers know what is going to happen in the future with respect to the product or service they are using, they are better prepared. And that’s what proactive customer service aims at doing. With proactive customer service, companies can share necessary and important information with their customers in advance. This helps avoid any last-minute confusion, anxiety, and allows customers to have better control over any situation.
How AI helps in delivering proactive customer service?
Proactive customer service can be provided if companies can work on the existing customer data to fine-tune it and use it to provide better service. That’s where AI can be of great help.
AI helps companies uncover the hidden patterns in historical customer data, and with machine learning algorithms, the customer service system can be made more dynamic and impactful.
In fact, a recent report found 62% of enterprises are considering or already implementing AI into their customer service strategy.
AI helps to automate workflows
The concept of push notifications works around AI automation. AI can help in automating basic workflows that can issue alerts to customers when needed. A simple example here would be if the customer was looking for a certain product on an eCommerce site and it was out of stock; the AI technology works on this data to send a push notification to the customer when the product is back in stock. The customer need not approach the company again looking for the same product. Once the product is in stock, the automated system sends an alert to the customer for the same. This saves a lot of effort and time on both sides.
AI helps in delivering personalized recommendations
With powerful AI algorithms running in the background, customer service teams can analyze all the incoming and past customer data. By analyzing customer’s behavioral patterns, companies can cross-sell or up-sell their products in line with customer expectations. Capturing customer data using AI technology also enables companies to curate informative FAQs that can help customers find relevant company information they are looking for.
AI makes self-service efficient
A lot of companies are now using chatbots or virtual assistants for the first line of communication on their website. AI further strengthens the self-service framework by making the bots more intelligent and aligned with potential customer queries. Based on the customer’s past case history, the virtual service agents can recommend solutions beforehand, as well as, raise any issues in advance. An AI enabled customer service system can also be trained with AI to prioritize customer requests that need urgent attention.
AI makes social listening easier
Customers are already on social media. They are using social platforms to share their experiences and express their opinions. Brands need to pay attention to what customers are saying about them online and use that information to reach out to those who mention or talk about them. Social listening allows them to preemptively address their customers’ needs or concerns and increase customer satisfaction.
Keeping AI at the Heart of Proactive Customer Service
With AI technology, organizations can map out customer journeys and delve deeper into critical customer behavior insights. These action-driven insights can help them tailor their responses or solutions based on the data at hand. From proactive, AI is helping customer service become more predictive, which amplifies its huge potential. Applying AI to improve CX can be a great differentiator for brands, giving them a competitive advantage in today’s crowded marketplace.