The nature of customer service is such that the majority of customer interactions are reactionary. The customer initiates the conversation based on their needs and we respond to their concerns to the best of our capabilities. This, however, is an extremely limited view of the potential that is available through our customer service teams.
Given the unfortunate complexity of many customer service systems, it is common for customers to ignore minor difficulties with products or services because the time required to address those concerns is not worth the reward to the customer. In these situations, customers may compile a laundry list of issues without ever providing your organization with the information and opportunity to resolve the issue.
Their is great opportunity to reinvent customer service into a prospective entity that anticipates customer needs and engages customers before they are ready to reach out to us. This type of customer outreach is more frequently used in service industries (when was the last time Samsung called you to ask if you have any questions regarding the television you just purchased); however, it is frequently an afterthought of the customer service team and the first initiative to be scrapped when constraints arise. While the specifics of implementation will vary across industries, it is not only possible but of high potential benefit to use customer service teams as a vehicle to outreach to customers.
Probably the most common form of proactive customer service currently in use is the follow-up telephone survey. While the data obtained from these endeavors may be beneficial to some extent, the activity provides little real value to the customer. The customer may have the opportunity to ask questions or voice concerns, but the feedback survey format is rarely presented in a way in which the customer feels encouraged to provide this type of feedback.
The type of solicitation I am advocating here is different than the traditional follow-up telephone survey. The primary questions that should be presented in these interactions are:
“Do you have any questions?” and “Is there anything else I can assist you with?”
From these initial questions, additional resources can be brought to bear to address any lingering needs. This is an exceptional form of customer service. The presentation this form of outreach is such that customers feel inclined to voice concerns or ask questions, however minor. Customers benefit by receiving additional support and feeling important to your organization. The organization benefits from probably decreases to future customer complaints and the generation of additional goodwill. This is a win-win situation for both customers and organizations.
What types of customer outreach to you see in your organization? Leave a comment below!