While many businesses strive to offer exceptional experiences, the reality is, many follow a reactive business model.
This model focuses on resolving immediate issues rather than considering long-term effects. And although in the moment, this may prove to be helpful, taking a reactive stance can actually negatively affect your customer experience.
So how can a business refrain from becoming reactive?
It starts with shifting your mindset to becoming proactive.
Offering a proactive customer experience means being able to identify issues and take action before they come to fruition. It’s a level of understanding the customer experience as a whole, in order to deliver a seamless journey and deter complaints or unsatisfactory experiences.
While the very nature of proactive customer experience involves analytics and studying customers, a larger part of being proactive comes from a shift in mindset. The desire to identify opportunities and have a sense of urgency in improving the experience as a whole.
In order to help you make the shift, in this blog post, we’re unraveling common reactive responses that most businesses practice (that you might identify with), and how you can shift to a more proactive and sustainable customer experience.
A Proactive Customer Experience VS a Reactive Customer Experience
Reactive: Addressing A Complaint/Praise With A Single Change
When it comes to complaints or praises of service, you’d be surprised how many businesses follow a reactive model; making changes in the moment but not understanding the root of the problem, to prevent future occurrences.
Although fixing the “in-moment” solution can provide immediate relief, it’s the drive to consistently understand the experience that makes any change sustainable.
Let’s take a look at an example; A customer goes out of their way to complain about slow service. A reactive response would be making a change but not considering the long-term effects or how to continue to evolve service moving forward. Talking to employees and telling them to hurry up or asking an employee to come in just this once to help out, only partially solves the issue.
Proactive: Listening To The Customer And Identifying Future Trends
Providing a great customer experience is about listening to the customer, learning from their behaviours, and modifying your business to better meet their needs. It’s not just a one-and-done.
You want your business to continue to flourish and understanding the root of the customer concern provides this.
Let’s take that same example of slow service but with a proactive mindset. In this instance, you’d listen to the customer’s complaint and then evaluate your operations. It requires thoughtful probing such as; Was the establishment busy when the customer complained? What times and days throughout the week are busiest? Is there always a specific number of staff working at all times? Would service be more speedy if during those busy times 1-2 more staff members were present? How many other customers have complained about slow service?
By considering these questions and trends within service, you can better allocate employees throughout the week during rush hours, not just at the time that the customer complained. This deters future complaints or unsatisfactory experiences.
Reactive: Available Solely To Resolve Issues
For many offering a single line of communication is commonplace.
Consider the number of businesses that offer a general email at the bottom of a website or a single contact number on Facebook. Although you have an open line, that doesn’t mean it’s the most effective in delivering a great customer experience. On the contrary, it can have the reverse effect if you aren’t responding in real-time or taking action on the issue.
Proactive: Always Available For Conversation
Rather than having a single line of communication, offer multiple, customer-preferred channels. If being proactive means understanding the customer then offering multiple avenues for conversation is the vehicle to get you there.
Communication shouldn’t be limited to addressing issues, but also getting to know customers and their interests. Uncovering more about customers can provide you with the tools to continuously evolve the experience in a way that drives repeat visits and more direct business.
Reactive: Focused Solely on Customer Service
While customer service and customer experience are two completely different entities, the way in which they work together, shouldn’t be ignored.
Customer service is a reactive approach to business – it’s a response to a customer’s queries. In most instances, businesses will have an entire team dedicated to communicating with customers and trained to resolve issues. While resolving service and product issues is a key function of businesses, it’s learning from the issues that drive success.
Proactive: Understanding the Holistic Customer Experience
A proactive take on customer service would be understanding the holistic journey; Knowing when the issue happened, how frequently it happens, and how you can adjust the product/service to deter more complaints.
A great way to gather this insight is by sending a customer experience survey after the purchase or experience. Instead of waiting for a customer to come to you, get proactive and send a survey looking for comments and conversations. Using the data pulled from surveys, you can take action before the customer has time to leave with a dissatisfied feeling, (A report found that taking initiative in your support could increase customer retention rates by 3-5%).
Adjusting To A More Proactive Approach
While moving toward a more proactive customer experience may seem like a lot of manual data collection – there are tools available today that can help streamline your shift towards proactive experiences.
For example, using a customer experience solution, like the Loop Experience Platform, you can better understand your customer and ease operations on the backend. One of the most powerful tools of the Loop Platform is its suite of analytics. Customizable to your specific business goals, you can understand multiple aspects of your experience including direct customer sentiment, employee performance, time to serve, key trends, and more. Create custom dashboards that provide insights the minute you log on and take them with you on the go via your mobile device. Using Loop’s analytics you can obtain a comprehensive understanding of customer motivations.
In addition, the Loop Experience Platform provides real-time messaging capabilities on a range of customer-preferred channels. Send surveys immediately after an experience and recover any negative sentiment while a customer is still on the property. With Loop, customers don’t have to sit with their negative experiences and wait for you to react. Rather, you can be well prepared to deal with issues head on and reduce future issues substantially.