Most people know that staying in touch with customers improves customer retention. What you may not know is that it’s much easier to retain a customer than it is to acquire a new one. Not only is it easier to keep existing customers, but it’s less expensive to do so, too. This is excellent for your company image and your budget. The key is to make your customers feel like part of your brand family. Everyone loves to feel special, and your customers are no different. So how do you stay in touch with customers efficiently? The answer is proactive support.
What Is Proactive Support?
There are two types of customer support: reactive and proactive. Reactive support is handling your customer’s problems as they come in – by phone call, e-mail, etc. Proactive support is addressing these problems from the beginning, with FAQ pages, instructional videos, and targeted e-mails. In essence, proactive support is an innate knowledge of your customers. You know them so well that you can anticipate their issues and address them before they arrive.
Proactive support has become somewhat of a buzzword in the past year. It’s becoming more and more important to treat your customers well and increase customer loyalty. A recent study found that proactive support can increase customer retention rates by 3-5%. It also helps to decrease the volume of support calls and puts you in control of customer communication.
How to Instill Value in Proactive Support Communication
Proactive support doesn’t mean calling and e-mailing your customers all day long. Whenever you make a call (or send an e-mail or other communication) to a customer, make sure you’re offering valuable information to them. For example:
Ideas that may be useful for his or her business or job Ways your customer can gain more business Information that will help your customer cut costs (business or personal) Ideas that help to resolve conflicts your customer may have Ways your product or service helps your customer simplify his or her daily life Most importantly, an entertaining and pleasant conversation.
By making each piece of communication count in a way that matters to your customer, you’re creating value and encouraging customer loyalty.
Staying in Touch With Your Customers Without Bothering Them
That being said, timing is still an important component of customer communication. How do you plan to reach your customers? Calling them at sunrise or during their lunch breaks certainly won’t inspire them to answer the phone. There’s a fine line between being proactive and being a nuisance. Keep the following in mind when reaching out to your customers:
Studies show that the best time to call customers is between the hours of 8-9 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. The worst times to call customers are lunch break hours, from 12-2 p.m. Furthermore, Thursdays seem to be the best days to reach customers, with Friday being the least favorable. If you’re not in the office during those times, virtual phone systems like TryBooth let you call customers from your cell phone with a masked number. The system will display your business phone, not your cell phone, so you can get in touch with customers anytime without giving away your personal information.
Offer plenty of proactive information from the first interaction. FAQ pages and product tutorials let your customers help themselves and give them a sense of empowerment. They also let your customer know that you understand their needs and are willing to address them. Lastly, it’ll cut down on customer service calls, which is always good for your customers and your employees. If an issue arises with one of your products or services, alert your customers and offer a walkthrough help guide or tutorial. The key is anticipating and addressing problems before they arise. This is one of the best ways to instill value in your communications and business.
Always make yourself available to customers. This is more than just displaying contact information on your website. You need to be available across all forms of communication, whether social media, e-mail, or your cell phone. Different consumer audiences will communicate with you in different ways, and you need to be available no matter how they decide to reach you. Again, a virtual receptionist system like TryBooth is excellent for this, too. You can have calls forwarded to your cell phone or other employees so your customers will always reach someone every time they call.
By practicing valuable, proactive support, your customers will feel respected and appreciated – and that’s always good for business.