Proactive Customer Service and Support


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You’ve heard of First Contact Resolution, right? Hopefully, you’re taking concrete steps to resolve as many issues on the first contact as possible. Following right on the tail of first contact resolution is proactive service. Also called proactive support or next issue avoidance, it’s a trend worth focusing on.

What is proactive service?

When customer service and support reps offer proactive service, they anticipate and preempt additional contact. Here’s an example:

Mrs. Pedowitz calls her insurance company to get a copy of the contract that explains her health insurance benefits. Knowing that members often call back for help understanding the complex contract, the CSR, Jesse, offers to answer questions about services Mrs. Pedowitz frequently uses. At the end of the call, Jesse offers to e-mail her a link to a summary booklet that is written in easy-to-understand language.

Should you follow the proactive service trend?

According to Enkata, a leader in cloud-based customer experience analytics, proactive customer service has been shown to reduce call volumes by 20-30% in 12 months, cut operating costs by up to 25%, and improve customer retention by 3-5%.

Sound good? Of course! So what’s involved?

How to get started with proactive service:

  1. Create a map of issues showing their relationship—for example, ordering a contract and answering questions on the phone or sending a follow-up link.
  2. Determine how often customers call back. If they only call back 1-2% of the time, it’s probably not worth addressing. If customers call back 20-25% of the time, there will be cost-savings that are definitely worth pursuing.
  3. Train your staff. Provide issues maps as job aids to help your staff determine what to do when a customer has a particular issue. Be sure to include role plays so employees get lots of practice introducing the proactive service measure into the call.

Is it really that easy?

It would be except for the fact that contact centers are often focused on short-term profitability metrics like average handle time (AHT). And first contact resolution or next issue avoidance are diametrically opposed to lower AHT. While customers want calls to be short, imagine how much time they would save (and you too) if they didn’t have to call back for something that could have been proactively handled on the first call.

Just think! If you could prevent 20% of the calls currently coming into your center, your reps would have more time to spend with customers in order to guarantee their satisfaction with the level of service and support provided by your company. Sound like a winning strategy? We think so.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


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