Before the age of social media, the strategy to reduce customer service call volumes involved finding ways to reach customers before they called in. This preemptive approach was in fact successful in reducing calls, allowing companies to save both time and money, and, more importantly, to increase customer retention by 2%.

Now that there is a wide variety of social media channels available for communication, proactive customer service is becoming increasingly important and easier to implement than ever. Research shows that 37% of all tweets are related to customer service.

Identifying and resolving customer service issues before they turn into problems is a time and money saver for brands.

So why adopt a preemptive strategy for customer service?

Benefits of Proactive Customer Service

Social media is your business’ gateway for reaching new customers and retaining existing ones. In addition to Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is another great social media platform to provide proactive customer service since brands can follow specific audiences based on geo locations and relevant hashtags. It’s an excellent way to join the conversation.

How Do You Implement a Proactive Customer Service Strategy?

1. Social Listening; Keep an eye on mentions and tags about you and your company on social media platforms. This will provide your business with great opportunities to reach out to your customers and solve issues that may not even be directly related to your brand.

This tweet illustrates the beauty of proactive customer service. Scanning social media platforms for brand-related mentions allowed Hertz to read this tweet by a frustrated customer, who had booked a car with their competitor (Avis). Hertz rose to the occasion and offered assistance, seizing an opportunity to gain a new customer.

2. Be available on multiple channels; Rather than only providing a contact phone number, be available on Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and email. Even create a hashtag for your business.

This gives customers a sense of control in that they can get in touch on the platform of their choice. In fact, Facebook Messenger recently released guidelines to help brands create usernames and profiles that are easily discoverable, making it easier than ever to be available on more than one channels.

3. Create FAQs and Knowledge Bases; With careful consideration you can predict what information people are likely to ask for, allowing them to have a place where they can retrieve the information they need before getting in touch to complain.

Odeon for example, offers a range of questions according to category, and even provides a link at the end of their FAQs to contact them in case your question hasn’t been answered.

4. Announce problems or mistakes as early as possible; Alaska Airlines did exactly that with this recent tweet informing travellers of possible delays due to a hurricane.

It’ll work in your favour: if customers find out about problems directly from you instead of encountering them themselves than reaching the problems themselves, they are less likely to become frustrated and blast out a complaint.

5. Ask for feedback; Asking customers what they want allows your business to identify what your clients need. Get the information about the things that are important to them before they become a problem. Use e-mail questionnaires, online surveys, or simply leave a comments box at the bottom of your website.

Companies can now send a standardised CSAT survey to their customers through Twitter. The question is sent automatically immediately following a service interaction and the customer can privately rate their interaction and experience on a scale of 1 to 5.

6. Offer rewards; One of the best ways for companies to ensure loyalty and foster trust is by rewarding customers.

This post by the Dollar Shave Club shows a presence on twitter and also encourages others to
engage with the brand, using free T-shirts as an incentive.

Following these steps will allow you to provide the best customer service that will foster trust, loyalty, and increase brand awareness, ultimately driving tangible results.

Use the list above of as a starting point for your business’ strategy to ensure proactive customer service. You will soon notice that when customers are happy, they act as advocates for your brand.