Don’t Wait For Your Customers To Come To You for Help. Be Proactive.

Why do customers file support tickets?

You might think that there are a million reasons. But at the core, the vast majority of the time there’s one culprit behind a customer service ticket: a lack of communication between the brand and the customer.

The miscommunication can be as simple as a customer not being able to locate tracking information, or as complex as a system-wide technical failure that caused 100 customers to lose data. In both situations, the impact of the problem is not just dependent on the issue itself, but largely the failure of the company to proactively communicate a solution.

Provide Answers Before There’s A Question

Companies are oftentimes already aware of the product issues that are the source of many customer inquiries. Say there’s an interface issue with tracking an international order, and 50 percent of incoming tickets are due to shipping delays at customs. The company knows this is occurring, and is actively working on finding a solution — but that doesn’t mitigate the pain for the customers who are filing tickets related to the issue at hand.

To reduce ticket backlog, brands can start proactively communicating with their user base. For example, after a specified time interval or trigger — say five days from purchase (the average time it takes customers to reach out if they haven’t received their order) — the company can send a message via a push notification that says “Where’s Your Package? We Want To Keep You Updated”. The message will then direct the customer to a knowledge base page with an explanation and assurance that their tracking information will be updated shortly, and that the package is on its way.

This proactive message does two things: it intercepts any mounting frustration or unease the customer may be feeling through attentiveness and transparency, and it reduces the likelihood that the customer will contact customer service — thereby reducing backlog so agents have more time to focus on higher level requests.

By starting the conversation, you demonstrate that you care about your customers even after the sale, which instills customer loyalty too.

How to Know When You Should Reach Out

All companies mess up from time to time, from Series A startups to The Big Five. What’s important is how they respond to mistakes — and waiting for customers to complain is not the best response.

There are three key potential areas of friction that can benefit from proactive customer service:

  1. Drop-off points: Points at which customers either leave your app or typically contact customer service, such as the aforementioned “five day after purchase” shipping point, are great use cases for proactive service. Think of these points at “ticket hurdles” that your customers can overcome by themselves if given the right tools.
  2. New feature releases: Don’t expect your customers to intuitively understand a new feature. While some will adapt quickly, others will react to change negatively. Proactively direct users to new feature tutorials or knowledge base articles to help get them up to speed.
  3. System-wide mistakes: Sometimes things break; it happens to the best of us. The difference between companies that bounce back and companies that don’t is not just a matter of fixing the problem. It’s also about contacting customers, apologizing, and assuring them that whatever is broken will be fixed.

Conversations Are About Giving and Taking

In order to have a productive and lasting relationship with your customers, you need to not just react to their messages, but also reach out. Nobody likes being in a one-sided relationship — and that goes for the relationship between a brand and a customer, too. Sometimes, you need to start the conversation.

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