proactive conversations

Are you investing in proactive customer service?

Written by on February 20, 2018

Imagine waking up to an empty tube of toothpaste. We instantly grab it by its nozzle and choke it with all our might. And yet, nope no luck. It just won’t budge. Giving up on it, we frantically search our toiletries hoping to find at least a sampler, but in vain. Arghh! The joys of having perfect hindsight! Arghh! The pain of not being proactive enough!

As trivial as it may sound, we certainly can’t ignore the effect this bad start has on the rest of our day. And yet, we take small things like these for granted, failing to fathom the awful effect it has on us.

We’re often too busy focussing on cliched problems, that we let the more fundamental ones slip through the cracks.

Businesses are no exception to this. Their lack of proactiveness is one such fundamental issue that’s often not given enough importance. They’re too boxed up following processes and scheduling meetings that they forget to see what’s right under their nose.

Why be proactive in customer service?

Businesses seldom put in proactive efforts to improve the quality of their customer service as opposed to increasing their revenue.

Something as basic as taking the initiative to make a customer’s typical day at work a little better and different is in itself a good start.

Well, that just reminded me;

I’ve been frequenting a beer lounge for more than a couple of weekends now. And last weekend while ordering my beer — a pint of lager with a dollop of sour cream on the side – I was taken by surprise seeing the bartender already filling my glass with it. That too when I hadn’t even mentioned it. Given that the bartender remembered me and was proactive in serving me, I am sure to frequent this place more. It wouldn’t have been a grave mistake even if he hadn’t been proactive. However, by being proactive, the bartender ensured that I, as a customer had a memorable time.

The real charm is in doing business that brings a sense of warmth and comfort when least expected.

How to be a proactive customer service team?

It’s no big secret—spoil your customers with an overdose of care and an element of surprise when they least expect it, with a bit of foresight.

Doing what’s expected gives your customers solutions. But it’s the unexpected that makes memories.

Every such proactive refinement to your interaction with customers helps you score big. You’ll be a business of high quality and credibility.

In the section below, let’s see how proactive your customer service is. We want to highlight the importance of proactive customer service taking your phone conversations with your customers as an example.

At the end of each section, you can score yourself on a scale of 1 to 5. Finally, add up all the scores to check the current ‘proactivity’ score of your customer service out of a total of 30!

proactive score
Rate your business based on your proactive measures

Score yourself based on how well and to what extent you leverage your call center software in being proactive with your customer conversations.

Let the scoring begin!

Have you identified the communication gap between your teams that cause delays in customer service?

Delays in business processes are extremely damaging to the quality of service you provide and to the execution of your goals.

Let’s take the example of a logistics business. Sometimes it’s possible that a driver might want some assistance in confirming the delivery address. But when he calls the internal contact center for help, he gets a busy tone. And there is no alternate point of contact for this team. But in reality, there could’ve been other agents who were idle and ready to take calls.

How to fix it?

Proactively set up call routing and direct the calls to the available and free agents first. This way you can make the best use of your resources and reduce instances of missed calls and delays.

Benefits

Being proactive helps you ramp up in reaching your business goals and serving your customer without any unnecessary delays.

And, your proactivity score is?

If you already have a kick-ass call routing setup in place don’t forget to score yourself a 5.

Have you made efforts to reduce the instance of repetitive calls from customers for the same issue?

It’s common to find your customer-facing teams answering questions related to a specific issue repeatedly. It could either be an issue with your service or an issue due to a gap in your messaging. Let’s say your customer service agents are found repeatedly answering a specific issue related to the delivery fee for the food that you deliver. It could either mean that the fee is different from the norm or you’ve missed mentioning it on the packing label. Printing out detailed labels and invoices is something that can be planned for and thought through beforehand.

How to fix it?

Listen to your customers’ call recordings and note down the most frequently asked questions on a regular basis. Devise a way to clearly communicate it in the product or service that you are offering. In the above example, whenever a customer chooses the delivery charge option from your IVR, play a pre-recorded message. Let this message explain why they are charged for delivery—whether it’s because of the distance, tax or the restaurant they ordered from. Proactively step up and follow what’s working and what’s not working with your business.

Benefits

There will be a clear decrease in the number of customer calls on complaints and simple issues. Now your agents can channel their efforts on more pressing issues that are need personal assistance.

And, your proactivity score is?

Based on how well you use call recordings to take feedback and improve your business, score yourself anywhere between 1 to 5.

Have you identified the frequently contacted divisions of your business?

Your business might have a number of divisions that customers call the most. But, if you direct all your calls to one number and then transfer it to the respective divisions, it wastes your time and money as well as the customer’s patience and time.

How to fix it?

Proactively identify the most contacted divisions by pulling out the phone call reports across your organization. These reports help you identify the divisions that you need to list in your IVR and the order in which you can list them.

Benefits

Setting your IVR with the frequently contacted divisions saves time for your customers and money for your business. It helps streamline your calls better and cuts down on call wait times. This way your customers’ experience and your agents’ productivity can be improved.

And, your proactivity score is?

If you’ve proactively configured your IVR with the list of your most contacted teams, add 5 more points to your overall score.

Have you been able to supervise your customer service team’s calls and prevent agent burnout?

One common way of handling customer voicemails and missed calls is to go through the call logs and recordings. But a better approach is to proactively monitor calls that are in progress. Most of customer calls are time sensitive and need immediate attention. Ideally, you’d want your agents to attend and resolve every call that comes in. And to ensure this, you need to track ongoing calls and make sure to assign every agent with an equal number of calls.

How to fix it?

Having a live dashboard would give you a clear picture of ongoing calls, the agents currently attending them and the number of customers in queue per agent at a given point in time. Such a dashboard helps you organize your calls better. When you see one agent having five customers in line to get on call while another having just one waiting customer, move a couple of customers into the latter agent’s queue. If you see this happening as a pattern where certain agents get more customers in their queue when compared to others, it means that you need to update and modify your call queue rules. So be proactive and set up rules to escalate calls to different agents/groups or an external call center when your customers are unable to reach your agent immediately.

Benefits

Healthy distribution of calls and lesser instances of agent burnout. You can also attend to more calls through the day and reduce call wait times to a great extent.

And, your proactivity score is?

Don’t forget to score yourself a ‘5’, if your business is already using a live dashboard.

Have you made sure that no customer call is put on hold for longer than two minutes?

Your agents may not be able to answer every call that comes their way right away. They might need to refer or get help from their colleagues on certain queries. So, it’s okay to put a call on hold for some time. But there should obviously be a threshold to it. You can’t take forever to get back on a call.

How to fix it?

Closely watching the ongoing calls as a supervisor lets you check for hiccups like these. With the aid of a live dashboard, barge in and answer the customer calls that are on hold for a long time. You can also smartly escalate it to another agent.

Benefits

You can reevaluate the expertise of your agents. Give them proper guidance on improving in areas where they lack and help them get better at their work. It allows you to give them constructive feedback and give your customers a smooth experience.

And, your proactivity score is?

If you already keep track of your ongoing calls with a live dashboard, add another 5 points to your scoreboard.

Do you welcome your customers with the most relevant of messages?

A customer calling for plan renewal and the one calling for account deactivation are looking for entirely different responses.

How to fix it?

Set a customized welcome message that’s different for different IVR options and connect more relevantly with your customers.

Benefits

You’ll not sound like a boring business. Also setting the right tone and message would give them a better experience, helping your customer service agents build their conversation with ease.

And, your proactivity score is?

If you’ve already taken care of this aspect of your business, score yourself anything between 1 to 5.

So guys, what’s your total score? Was it anything close to what you had in mind? Let’s see where you currently stand as a proactive customer service team. Do let us know in the comments section below. Or if you’ve been proactive in ways other than these, we are eager to know. We love to experiment with new ideas. Do share it with us.

And just in case you want to discuss in detail on how to implement these scenarios case by case for your customer service or support teams, we are always around to help. Drop us an email at hello@freshcaller.com.

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