We all know that good customer service is the cornerstone of all successful small businesses. Good customer service keeps your customers loyal so that they come back again and again. These happy customers are also more likely to personally recommend your small business to their friends and family. And this word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective marketing tools a small business has at its disposal.
But all too often, small businesses focus all their customer service efforts on responding to customer requests. But to succeed, you need to go further. You need to anticipate their needs before they ask them. This proactive customer service makes the customer experience so smooth, it reduces barriers between them and the small business.
What is proactive customer service?
A simple example of proactive customer service is those multi-storey car parks that guide you to vacant parking spots. You might come in and see a sign saying there are 5 vacant spaces out of three hundred. Good luck finding them! But now imagine the sign telling you “proceed to level four for a vacant space”. Then, when you get to level four, there’s a light indicating where the vacant spot is. How much happier are you then in the original scenario?
How small businesses can be more proactive
Start by listing all the problems that your customers might have.
- What are the common questions they ask?
- What pages on the web site cause problems?
- What issues with your products or services are raised on social media?
- If you get returns, why do you get them?
When you have your list, start thinking of ways to address those problems before they occur. For example:
- Can a FAQ page on your website provide the solution to a common query?
- How about writing a `How-to’ guide, blog article or ebook?
Every time you help a customer avoid making the wrong choice you reduce the number of your returns.