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Reactive vs. Proactive Customer Service

Mariel M.

Reactive vs. Proactive Customer Service

Navigating customer service as an E-Commerce brand requires a nuanced understanding of both reactive and proactive approaches. 

If you look closely, you’ll likely find that some of your favorite and most well-known brands that offer the best customer service do so by striking the perfect balance between proactive and reactive customer service.  

To mimic their success method in a way that is most effective for your brand, it’s crucial to have systems, operations, and other processes set up ahead of time for each approach that makes customer service a breeze and strengthens your customer relationships.

After all, 65% of customers say that they would pay more money for excellent customer service, and during busy seasons like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, offering less-than-perfect customer service is the last risk you want your brand to take.

What Is The Difference Between Proactive And Reactive Customer Service?

Proactive and reactive support each has its place in a quality customer service strategy. 

The difference between the two is that whereas reactive customer service begins after a customer reaches out to a business, proactive customer service means that the business reaches out to the customer first to initiate contact.

Essentially, proactive customer support means that your business is taking the initiative to make a streamlined customer service experience by anticipating customers’ needs and preparing to handle them efficiently.

Take Old Navy, for example: let’s say you ordered matching holiday pajamas for the whole family during a clearance sale, and the pattern you selected was running low.

Instead of allowing you to wait around and guess when your order will arrive or if everyone’s PJs will show up at once, Old Navy takes a proactive approach by letting you know immediately via email that one item will arrive sooner than the others. 

Under “Helpful Information,” Old Navy also includes a return barcode in the email that you can show an in-store employee on your phone if you need to return an item altogether.

Not only does Old Navy’s proactive approach offer more transparency to customers and improve customer satisfaction, but it also saves their customer service team time and energy on inquiries that could be resolved with a simple automated email.

4 Ways To Implement Proactive Support Methods Into Your Customer Service Strategy

When brands take a proactive approach to customer service, the customer wins every time. In fact, according to a 2022 Gartner study, 54% of customer service leaders consider proactive customer service to be a priority in their businesses.

To better position your brand to serve customers proactively rather than just reactively as we approach Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we’ve got a few quick tips you can implement today in your customer service approach.

1. Offer & Maintain Your Self-Service Options 🤔

During the busy holiday shopping season, most customer service teams are strapped for time, and the last thing you or your customers want is long, digital queues filled with the same inquiries over and over. 

Plus, when it comes to basic requests like returns and exchanges, 51% of consumers will refuse to work with a brand that doesn’t offer a self-service option.

Do your team, your customers, and your bottom line a favor by creating a self-service portal that allows customers to easily return or exchange their items without the hassle.

2. Call Out & Take Responsibility For Your Mistakes 📣

Mistakes happen. At some point in your business, a system glitch or human error may cause an issue for one or many customers, such as a delivery delay, fulfillment problem, or a general bug in a product or service.

The best way to handle the situation is to take full responsibility and inform your customers via email or social media what you plan to do to resolve the issue. 

Let’s take Netflix, for example. This past spring, Netflix’s plan to livestream the reunion for the hit reality TV show, Love Is Blind, failed miserably when the streaming platform’s servers became overloaded with millions of viewers attempting to tune in to catch the latest tea.

Once the brand’s executives realized livestreaming wasn’t an option, they quickly found an alternative and shared a public apology on their Twitter account taking full responsibility for the mistake.

Though fans were disappointed that the live reunion couldn’t happen (including us – we’re total LIB fans for life), Netflix showed integrity and humility by owning up to their oversight.

3. Build A Knowledge Base 💭

For 73% of customers, your website is the first place they will go to find answers to their questions. 

Therefore, it’s absolutely critical that your brand is prepared with a knowledge base filled with FAQs, resources, and self-help articles that allow customers to find what they need independently.

Though an FAQ page is one of the best resources you can offer, blog posts or a video library with troubleshooting materials are also excellent ways to empower your customers with quick and helpful options outside of live chat and chatbots. 

4. Ask Your Customers For Feedback 📧

A customer experience survey conducted by a former Gartner analyst found that only 1 in 26 customers will voice their concerns about a business’s products, services, or practices. 

The problem in this statistic is that if only 1 in 26 customers are actively sharing their concerns, the feedback from the other 25 goes unheard by companies.

In our most recent post, we covered negative customer feedback and why negative feedback and reviews are just as important as positive ones. 

With that in mind, we encourage you to proactively reach out to your customers directly (and regularly) to ask for their feedback. Whether it’s good or bad, each customer has something valuable to contribute about their experience that can either be used for marketing purposes or to serve as an opportunity to improve systems and operations within your brand.

Elevate Your Customer Experience By Taking A Proactive Customer Service Approach

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically the busiest days of the year for E-Commerce brands. To ensure that your business is prepared to offer the best possible experience to build loyal, lasting relationships with customers, partner with TalentPop to stack your customer service team and take a proactive approach.

At TalentPop, we believe firmly in transparency, which is why we offer a seamless pricing model and pair every client with a dedicated Customer Success Manager to support you and your customer service agents.

With our simple solutions, now is the perfect time to partner with our team and onboard trained E-Commerce customer service agents in as little as 3 weeks. 

Schedule a call with us today to learn more about our process.

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