Let’s face it: These days, customer satisfaction and loyalty are hard-won. With the click of a mouse, customers can change brands and products, cancel warranties and contracts, and decline technician service calls.
Customer service used to be the last part of a business that was invested in. It was considered less important than getting the other front-office areas of the business up and running. After all, if you are successful at marketing, sales and commerce, you won’t need to worry about customer service, right?
No, not quite.
Times have changed. If you expect your business to thrive, customer service needs to be ready and available from the very beginning of the buying journey. Even before a customer has decided to make a purchase or become an account with your company, customer service must be ready and proactive.
Proactive customer service is the new black. It is required and it is desired.
However, meeting the real-time demands of customers requires far more insight than human agents or other customers can provide. Informed by data, machine learning, and predictive forecasting, service entities can meet the smarter, more sophisticated customer wherever and whenever she asks for help and before she knows there’s a problem.
With smarter technology and ready access to fast and effective customer service, the Maytag repairman is lonelier than ever. The old way of providing customer service is gone (or should be). To create a high-quality customer experience, companies need to move away from preventive and reactive maintenance to a proactive model. Tell a customer they need service before their warranty expires, and you’ve built loyalty and increased satisfaction. You have taken one worry off of their plate before they had a chance to consider it.
Shifting to a proactive rather than a reactive customer service model requires the right technology that can scale and respond to shifts in customer needs and the marketplace.
3 ways companies can provide proactive, rather than reactive, customer service
1. Leverage the Internet of Things (IoT)
We are coming to the time where anything that can be connected will be connected. Machines are now being built to have “minds” of their own. A customer service strategy that utilizes real-time machine data can prevent unplanned downtime by monitoring equipment and giving automated feedback to service centers, which can then deploy field service technicians with little to no human interaction. Problems are therefore addressed before they become full stoppages and service agents’ time can be utilized elsewhere.
2. Increase customer satisfaction by ensuring service levels are met
Customer satisfaction is correlated with up time. Therefore the ability of service organizations to identify trends based on fix rates and problem patterns is a critical component of proactive service. Operational improvements across the organization enable proactive problem-solving, department/organizational collaboration, and teamwork. This helps identify bottlenecks, redistribute work, and continue to offer effective customer service.
3. Use machine learning to provide more contextual and effective customer service
Machine learning provides contextual predictions and recommendations that allow agents to be more effective and efficient. Automate everyday tasks that take up agents’ time to ignite quick resolutions. As tickets are submitted, an email or service request can be automatically categorized and the right service, part, or information can be passed along to the customer swiftly.
A proactive customer service program ultimately saves the customer time and money. Companies that leverage the right technology can provide responsive customer service that anticipates needs before they rise to equipment malfunction levels. Insights into customer service request patterns, product performance trends, and language recognition power a top-notch customer service organization that builds stronger customer loyalty.
SAP Hybris Service Cloud Portfolio has proactive customer service built into its DNA. To find out more about how to build customer satisfaction and transform your service organization, go here.