proactive customer service

How to Develop "ESP" For Proactive Customer Service


‘Radar’ O’Reilly from the movie and television series MASH always seemed to have ESP (extra-sensory perception), appearing at his commander's side before being called and finishing his sentences. He also had exceptionally good hearing, able to hear helicopters before anyone else, and to tell from the rotor sounds if they were coming in loaded or not. It was these abilities that earned him the nickname "Radar".

The character was inspired by a real person--company clerk Don Shaffer, who also was nicknamed "Radar" by his compatriots who served alongside him in Korea.  In an interview, he dismissed the notion that he had some mysterious ability, but rather attributed his skill to paying attention to details that others just ignored.

What if your customers felt that you anticipated their needs in the same way that Radar met his commander’s needs?  Many businesses and organizations are making great strides in shifting from reactive to proactive customer service.  Consider Amazon, with their suggested items that others bought when viewing an item or their list of recommendations they have picked for you.

Recently, Amazon obtained a patent for what they call Anticipatory Shipping, which is designed to cut delivery times by shipping your product before you even order it.  Target was in the news for exposing a teen girl’s pregnancy to her father, by determining her future needs by analyzing her past purchases, they determined that this girl was pregnant and could predict with amazing accuracy her probable due date, which allowed them to send coupons at timely intervals during the pregnancy.

So, how do you develop ESP for proactive customer service?  It starts with paying attention to the details and identifying the patterns within the data.  All consumers leave a trail of clues to their current lifestyle.  A pattern can be identified, consumers can be grouped into classes that have similar interests and, if observed and analyzed, can identify when the customer might be available for a phone call or even identify those that are likely to accept the offer.

This can reduce the annoying experience of repeatedly attempting to reach a customer when they are habitually not available to answer their phone, which makes your campaigns less efficient and increases the likelihood of your customer requesting to be added to your Do Not Call list.  This can be extended to an identification of preferred contact channels, such as texting or email rather than a phone call, or used as an invite to call back in – which can improve the likelihood of successfully completing the desired interaction.

Map out the journey a typical customer has with your organization.  What is the reason they might need or want to interact with your company?  Can the customer be addressed in a single interaction?  If multiple interactions are needed, are these passive, meaning you are waiting on the customer to take action to initiate the interaction?  Would the customer appreciate a proactive outreach to preemptively address their next step in the journey?  This approach can greatly improve customer satisfaction scores and allow you to use your staff more efficiently.  Understanding the steps in the journey and tracking when customers disengage can identify the areas where you can focus your proactive efforts.

Here are the 8 steps to creating proactive customer service in your contact center:

  1. Use analytics to predict the best time to contact your customers.
  2. Identify which channel the customer prefers to use when interacting with your company.
  3. Determine what offers they are likely to respond to.
  4. Empower your agents with the customer’s interaction history.
  5. Identify the steps in the Customer Journey and where each customer is along the way.
  6. Develop proactive customer retention campaigns, to "save" the customer - even before they need saving.
  7. Streamline the Customer Journey – preemptively remove barriers to successful interactions.
  8. Mystery Shopper – frequently experience the process yourself from the customer’s point of view.

Are you looking to build a more proactive customer service strategy in 2017? Contact us to learn more about our cloud contact center solutions or watch our video to learn how Personal Connection™ can help make your team more proactive!