Proactive Customer Service: What It Is & How to Do It


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When you think about the best customer service experiences you’ve encountered, they’re likely the situations where you didn’t have to think about customer service at all. Think: the hotel you stayed in that already had extra pillows in the closet, the mechanic that emailed you in time for your vehicle inspection, or the software company that answered your question on its FAQ page.

This is what’s known as “proactive customer service,” when you’ve anticipated customers’ needs or wants before they realize them on their own.

Implementing proactive customer service requires foresight and preparation, but it’s worth it when current customers become loyal or repeat customers. Some key ways to integrate proactive customer service include being welcoming, acting transparently, and providing comprehensive and accurate information.

Let’s expand on these and more methods below.

Be welcoming
Whenever you’re onboarding a new customer, take the time to welcome them to your brand by sending a thoughtful email or giving them a call to answer any initial questions. This will help ease any sort of transition from one service to another, and let the customer know that you’re easily accessible and willing to listen to any questions or concerns that arise as your customer begins working with you.

Be transparent
Throughout your engagement with a customer, you should be sharing any relevant information with them that will make their experience smoother.

For example, inform the customer on what avenue is most efficient to get in touch directly, or how long it will take to get a response and why. Proactively provide them tips you’ve accumulated based on prior customers’ experiences, and let them know when their feedback is something you’re familiar with and working to improve.

By giving them insight on how your company operates and what you are currently working to improve, customers will feel more confident in what you are providing them now and how your long-term customer-business relationship will be

Provide accurate information
When working with customers it’s important to provide comprehensive information and responses at all times. They will remember how helpful your insight was when they needed it, especially if it was information you provided them before they even had a chance to request it from you.

Have you ever seen Miracle on 34th Street? There is a scene where Santa Claus is telling Cole’s store customers where they can find the season’s hottest toys for a lesser price. Despite going elsewhere for those toys, these customers still returned to Cole’s because they were impressed at how helpful its employees were.

That’s proactive customer service.

Make it easy
Offering assistance and information to customers is great, but getting it into the hands of your customers needs to be easy. They shouldn’t have to click around your website to find an answer on pricing or wait on hold to make a reservation. All the information they’ll need should be easily available to them, whether in a series of emails, in a quickly-found section of your website, or even when they’re standing in your brick-and-mortar location.

Listen to your customers
Being proactive and anticipating the needs of customers will only get you so far. As your business shifts each day, so do the expectations of your client base. By keeping an ear to the ground and keeping lines of communication open, you can grow your business based on the feedback you receive. This will allow you to continue to proactively serve new and repeat customers in the future.

By proactively providing customer support, you’ll engage and excite users by lessening the roadblocks they might hit as they begin to use your product or service. You’ll become not simply a company from which they made a purchase, but a partner with whom they’ll use your product or service to meet their goals.

Ian Landsman
Ian Landsman is the founder of HelpSpot, help desk software for customer service professionals. He writes a regular blog about the fundamentals of excellent customer service, titled The Delightenment Blog (


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