Support

Digital Transformation for Customer Support Part 4: Shifting from Reactive to Proactive Support

By January 22, 2019 No Comments
7 min read

Welcome to part four of our Digital Transformation for Customer Support series! If you missed any of our earlier installments, check them out here: Driving Digital Channel Adoption, Optimizing Internal Knowledge Operations, and Adopting Self-Service as a Strategy.

When your customers encounter support issue, they want the fastest resolutions delivered in the most convenient way possible.

The question is: how can you resolve support issues more efficiently and minimize the effort required of your customers?

The only way to eliminate customer efforts in communicating support issues would be to fix the problem before users reach out for help. That means your support agents need to be able to resolve issues that customers might not even know about.

So, what if you could identify and resolve customer problems before they contacted your support team? Or, better yet, what if you could provide solutions before customers even realized something was wrong?

You don’t need psychic abilities to predict future support issues – all you need is a proactive approach to customer support.

What is Proactive Support?

Proactive support is all about providing customers with help they don’t even know they need yet. It minimizes customer effort in resolving support issues by fixing things before they realize they’re broken.

With proactive support tools like network and technology monitoring, certain issues can go completely unnoticed. The result is seamless customer experience, quick resolutions, and uninterrupted service.

Reactive vs. Proactive Customer Support

When your support team responds to incoming customer requests and questions, they’re practicing reactive support. This is the traditional support model that waits for customers to report issues before taking steps to remedy them.

Proactive support, on the other hand, uses technology and practices that empower your team to identify and resolve customer issues before they turn into real problems or disrupt customer usage. For example, technology monitoring tools like Relay allow your support agents to identify and resolve support issues before customers even notice there’s a problem. This not only makes life easier for your support agents by giving them more insight into customer issues and reducing the number of incoming support tickets, but it also leads to amazing customer experiences.

For instance, proactive support can also involve optimizing your customer onboarding procedures, offering self-service support resources, and looking for ways to eliminate the need for support altogether. This might include optimizing your onboarding processing to prevent certain issues from arising in the first place or making it easier for customers to access self-service support resources.

Reactive Proactive Process

The Benefits of Shifting to a Proactive Support Strategy

The benefits of switching from reactive support to proactive support include:

  • Shorter Wait Times: No one likes to wait on hold when they’re trying to get a quick solution to a support issue. Proactive support means fewer customers calling in for support, which can cut down on wait times significantly. In fact, a recent Enkata report found that pre-emptive service can reduce call volume by as much as 30 percent
  • Faster Service: Because proactive support technology alerts you to issues before a customer reports them, your agents are able to find and implement solutions before a customer calls for help. So, not only will you receive fewer incoming support tickets, but all of your agents will be better prepared to handle incoming inquiries – which means faster service for all of your customers, whether they call in for support or not.
  • Greater Customer Loyalty: Research by Enkata also found that proactive support can improve customer retention by 3-5%. Proactive support improves customer experiences, which helps build strong customer relationships and leads to long-lasting customer loyalty. An added benefit of this is that loyal customers are more likely to provide viable referrals and spread the good word about your amazing customer service.

How to Make the Shift from Reactive to Proactive Support

1. Talk to Your Team

When it comes to finding out how to improve your customer experiences, your frontline agents are one of your best resources. They know exactly what customers are asking, the most common issues reported, and which support requests would be best handled by proactive support. Have your agents track which issues are brought up most often by new and long-term customers, and then take steps to minimize calls regarding those issues.

For instance, if the majority of customers request help during implementation, you may want to rethink how you onboard new users. That could mean updating your FAQs to include relevant information customers can access themselves or providing more in-depth onboarding procedures so customers can get started without contacting support for guidance.

2. Listen to What Customers are Saying Online

You can learn a lot by paying attention to customer conversations online. Dedicate some time to social listening and follow what customers are saying about your business on social media.

That is, tune in to what customers are saying about your products and customer service online.
This gives you a chance to uncover insights into the customer experience, which you can use to fuel decisions about how to improve your support operations. Social listening can also lead you to customers in need of support before they contact you directly.

3. Check in with Your Customers on a Regular Basis

It’s important for support teams to check in with customers to see how things are going – even if everything appears to be running smoothly. Why? Because one of the keys to proactive support is learning as much as you can about your customers’ expectations and experiences with your product or service.

Use these check-in calls or emails as a chance to collect feedback about customer experiences and what can be improved. Some of your customers might tell you about a potential issue that’s been starting to create minor problems, but that they didn’t feel was worth contacting support about just yet.

4. Use 24/7 Technology Monitoring and Network Health Checks

Use 24/7 Technology Monitoring and Network Health Checks

One of the best ways to stay on top of support issues before customers report them is to invest in network monitoring technology. By using an intelligent solution like Sense to track and record data, your support agents can stay in the loop on everything related to usage and performance. In addition to monitoring the network 24/7, you can also use this technology to conduct regular health checks and receive alerts about potential issues before customers report them.

4. Own Up to Mistakes and Fix Them ASAP

A survey by inContact found that 87% of customers want businesses to contact them proactively about support issues. Plus, customers respect and trust companies that can admit when they’ve made a mistake.

So, if there is a known issue or bug that’s likely to affect your customers, take responsibility for the problem. Rather than waiting for a customer to call you out on a service issue, take the initiative to reach out to affected customers, apologize, and let them know you’re already aware of the situation. You should take the opportunity reassure them by explaining the steps you’re taking to prevent the issue from recurring.

6. Use Relay for Auto Ticket Creation

Another benefit of network monitoring is that you can use it to automatically generate new support tickets when an issue is detected. For instance, a system like Relay can create a support ticket as soon as a critical device goes offline. This gives your agents an instant heads-up that the issue needs their attention, so your team can start working on a solution before the customer realizes there is a problem.

7. Transform Your Support Strategy from the Ground Up

There are different levels of proactive support, and your digital transformation doesn’t need to happen all at once. You can ease into a more proactive strategy by incrementally introducing self-service support resources, technology monitoring tools, and optimized onboarding procedures.

Transform Your Support Strategy from the Ground Up

As soon as you begin the transformation process, you’re on your way to delivering better customer experiences, reducing your ticket volume, and empowering agents to provide amazing customer support.

Get Proactive About Providing Better Customer Experiences

Thanks to modern technology and intelligent support solutions, it’s easier than ever to provide effortless customer support – without compromising speed or efficiency.

With the help of network monitoring, an automated ticketing system, and improved low-touch support channels (like self-service resources and chatbots), you can shift your customer support process from reactive to proactive.

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