Focus on proactive customer service with Lessonly

Lessonly's powerfully simple training software helps support teams learn, practice, and do Better Work.

laptop screen
topic card
sales card

Proactive Customer Service

The proactive customer service definition is different from that of traditional customer service. With a proactive approach, employees aren’t waiting for someone to call with a problem. Companies aren’t ignoring customers until they cancel their subscription. If there’s a default with a product or a flaw in services, the company addresses it immediately, so there’s no confusion about a company’s priorities.

The expectations of consumers today have risen dramatically. If a customer service team member is only able to answer a question when a customer calls in, it’s unlikely to leave them with a lasting impression. On the other hand, if a customer service member calls a customer with a solution to their problem before they even have it, that customer has every reason to feel valued by the company they chose to work with.

Proactive meaning and examples will vary for different companies, but its core principles remain the same regardless of the entity in question. See how a proactive service management style can make the difference between satisfaction and severance.

Proactive Customer Service Examples vs. Reactive Service

Imagine someone calls a customer service team member and asks the employee if they can order pizza for them. This team member is at first a bit confused because they don’t work for a pizza delivery service — they work for a shoe company. But instead of telling the caller what should be an obvious fact, they instead remember that the caller on the other line asked for help — help that they were perfectly capable of providing.

This story was an actual anecdote told by the founder of Zappos, and it’s a memorable one if you’re looking for examples of proactive customer service. CEO Tony Hsieh knew that his company stood for customer satisfaction, and he was not at all surprised when the employee went out of their way to satisfy his pizza craving.

Everyone who’s ever dealt with a company has their own experiences with proactive and reactive examples. When a person has to explain the same story to three different people at a company, this is an example of reactive customer service. The employees are only able to engage with the customer based on their feedback, and they’re actively making more work for the customer by forcing the customer to repeat the problem.

Now consider the case of a customer who rented a movie from Amazon for less than $3. After experiencing problems with the downloading platform, an Amazon employee took note of the hold-up. Rather than waiting for the customer to reach out and ask for their money back, the employee just went ahead and refunded the money on their own. Proactive customer service examples don’t have to be sensational. They can be as simple as one person paying attention to another.

Product Mockup

Onboard new agents in half the time.

See How

Why Proactive Customer Service is So Important

Proactive customer engagement is (and should be) the wave of the future. People today want personalized service, and they’re willing to put their money where their mouth is. Companies like Zappos have exploded in part due to efficiency and valuable products, but there’s more to it than that. Their customers feel as though they know the people behind the organization. They may feel like, to a certain extent, the company knows them too.

These principles are reflected in the general statistics. Great customer service statistics 2018 shows that 79% of customers want to engage with companies who understand and care about them. On the opposite end of the spectrum, only 1 in 26 customers will take the time to make a complaint, according to poor customer service statistics 2018. The rest will find a different company to work with. Poor customer service statistics 2019 show that 33% of people will consider switching companies after just one bad experience.

Think about how valuable company loyalty can be when an industry hits a slump or the economy takes a turn, and how devastating customer churn can be under the same circumstances. Proactive customer service is an investment in a company, one that can pay off in dividends. The company controls communication when leaders implement proactive customer service, which can drastically cut down on customer support calls and overall company interactions.

How to Shift from Reactive to Proactive Customer Service

Switching your strategy will certainly take some effort, but the time spent to banish reactive customer service will be well worth it.

Here are a few ways to get companies started:

  • Ask for feedback: Customers will tell companies what they think if they believe their answers matter. Rather than having them take a survey and using it for internal purposes only, why not have a real conversation with them about how they liked a product or service? This conversation can certainly be started through electronic communication but finished with a more personal touch.
  • Reward loyalty: Customers want to know that they’re being seen by the companies they buy from without having to jump through a lot of hoops. A loyalty program that’s generous and proactive will give them a reason to keep coming back. Proactive strategy examples in business start with understanding what’s at the heart of the customer’s sustained loyalty to the company.
  • Create a knowledge base: Many customers will try to solve their problem on their own before they call a company. If a company has a comprehensive enough knowledge base for a customer to access, this can make a huge difference in the customer’s experience.
  • Offer training opportunities: Proactive customer service ideas can come from anywhere, and leaders might be surprised at just how creative their team can be. By offering more training opportunities, everyone has a chance to come together and learn new tools and concepts, as well as discuss possible proactive customer service strategies.

When a company is paying attention to customers’ requirements, it’s not difficult for them to start crafting a strategy that meets the needs of both employees and customers. Proactive examples aren’t there to make more work for the company. When implemented correctly, they can drastically cut down on not only the man-hours needed to provide customer service, but also the overall stress levels of employees. When the customers are pleased with a company’s performance, employees don’t have to fear picking up the phone. Proactive customer service statistics are irrefutable proof that customers will only continue to expect more in the future. The time to make the change from reactive to proactive is right now. Lessonly can help you get started—get a demo and see how.