Customer Experience News & Trends

80% of customers want you to do this

About 80% of your customers are waiting for you to do something. Yet, many companies are falling short in this area.

Four out of five customers say they’d be impressed if a company reached out to them. But about 40% of companies say they rarely or never proactively contact customers, according to a recent study by Corvisa, a cloud communications provider.

“If customers aren’t calling in, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t benefit from some proactive outreach that could help them down the line,” said Covisa CEO Matt Lautz. “Proactive care is looking at the behavior of your customers, how they are using your product, how they are interacting with you and calling them when you see something could be better.”

Be helpful first, promotional second

In fact, customers don’t mind if you contact them with some kind of promotion — as long as it’s helpful, Corvisa researchers found. Your message needs to fit their needs now.

For instance, Paramount Carpet Care in northeastern Pennsylvania takes a grassroots approach to proactive customer service. They ask customers for permission to call between 18 and 24 months after they’ve had a service done. Then Paramount makes the call, reminding customers of the last time they had carpets cleaned and asking if they think they need it done again. No pressure. Just a reminder and an invitation.

4 other ways to be proactive

Here are more no-hassle ways you can provide excellent proactive customer experiences:

  1. Get ahead of mistakes. Perhaps the most important form of proactive service is letting customers know about your mistakes before they have to let you know about them. Owning up to errors, then explaining what’s gone wrong, and how you’ll fix it, helps customers work around the issue and builds goodwill. Example: Barefoot Wine found a bar code mistake that caused bottles to ring up at a lower price than intended. That could’ve resulted in a loss to the sellers. But Barefoot told its customers, the sellers, what happened and sent sales reps out with checks to cover the loss and the time spent dealing with the mistake.
  2. Be ready to chat. About two-thirds of customers say they’d be receptive if a customer service pro invited them to an online chat as they navigated a company’s website, according to the Live Chat Effectiveness Report, by the e-tailing group. For instance, you might want to trigger a chat invitation when a customer spends a certain amount of time on a checkout page or when they’ve clicked on to a page that has a high exit rate. Those are times customers likely need, and are most welcome to, help.
  3. Listen. Customers are talking on social media more than ever. You can monitor what’s said about your company and products easier than ever, too. (Social Mention is one free app, and you can find a list of 15 others here.) When you see complaints, apologize and offer a solution. If it’s an emotional or complex situation, offer to take it offline (perhaps a call or email) to fully resolve. If it’s a compliment, thank them on social media.
  4. Watch for trends. Regularly monitor the complaints and compliments that come in and watch for trends. A few complaints about a little issue could be an early indicator of a bigger problem. If you fix it now — and tell customers what you’ve done based on what you noticed — they’ll be impressed. Do the same with surveys. Tell customers what you hope to do with the feedback they give. Then, once you’ve gathered it and can act on it, reach out to customers, explaining the changes and improvements you’ve made based on their feedback.

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