14 Ways to Provide Proactive Customer Service

Nowadays, a proactive approach to customer support is crucial due to the active engagement of customers themselves. They actively seek solutions and reasons to upgrade to superior products or services. Proactive customer service offers a competitive edge in a dynamic market environment. But how do you do it? How can you provide proactive customer support to your customers? Let’s get into the details!

Zight | November 28, 2018 | 18 min read time

Article Last Updated: March 13, 2024

14 Ways to Provide Proactive Customer Service

Exceptional customer service happens when companies use available technology to adapt their support systems to go above and beyond for their customers. A growing trend in customer support is proactive customer service: reaching out to customers before issues occur.

In the past, most customer service was reactive—addressing customer issues only when customers call or message asking for help. But with the growing market, companies are better able to go above and beyond by proactively supporting customers.

Think about a retail website. Your customer is browsing your offerings but is having technical trouble placing items in their cart. In most of those cases, customers will simply abandon their cart, but what if a live chat pops up? Suddenly, customer service reaches out to your customer, who solves their problem quickly and finalizes their purchase. Proactive support can make a huge difference.

In fact, while using Zendesk products, Spartan Race used proactive support in their online store. After adding a live chat feature, Spartan Race’s retail sales increased by 27% and enjoyed a 97% customer satisfaction rating over chat. Satisfied customers are more likely to lead to higher retention rates, customer promotion to friends and family, and, overall, more sales.

Not only is proactive support great for engaging customers, leading to improved customer retention, but it can also be a cost saver from a business standpoint. In fact, it may reduce inbound customer service calls by 20-30% over a year. This can result in reducing operating costs by as much as 25%.

Proactive Customer Service: A Definition

Proactive customer service is the act of helping customers resolve issues before they occur. How can you resolve an issue before it even happens? By anticipating your customer’s problems and removing them from their path before they can experience them.

For instance, AT&T provides a video link to all new customers, which walks them through their first month’s bill charges. This simple message lessens “bill shock” and greatly reduces the amount of calls the AT&T support team fields from confused patrons.

The opposite of proactive customer service is reactive customer service, which attempts to solve issues already experienced by customers.

When you contact your internet provider because the service suddenly stops working, you generally end up talking to a customer service rep who apologizes for the inconvenience and does what they can to get you back online as quickly as possible. This is more reactive customer service in action.

There’s nothing wrong with reactive customer service. There’s also nothing special about it either because it’s what all customers expect to receive. Proactive customer service goes above and beyond the norm and has major benefits when done correctly. Let’s look at the differences in more detail:

Proactive Vs. Reactive Customer Service

While both approaches have their advantages, businesses need to understand the significant differences and strike a balance between the two proactive customer service strategies. For better visualization, we have come up with a comparison between proactive and reactive customer service approaches in the table below:

Category Proactive Approach Reactive Approach
Approach A forward-thinking approach where businesses anticipate customer needs and take preemptive actions to address them. Identifies potential customer pain points preemptively Aims to exceed customer expectations and build long-term relationships. Focuses on troubleshootingReactive customer service resolves may not always address the root cause of issues or prevent them from recurring in the future.
Contact Initiator Businesses make first contact with customers before they reach out with problems or inquiriesSends proactive notifications, personalized recommendations, or targeted marketing messages based on customer behaviour Customers initiate contact with the business seeking assistance or resolution for a problem Responds reactively to customer complaints, inquiries or feedback as they arise
Timing Occurs before customers experience issues or concerns Occurs in response to customer inquiries, complaints, or issues after they have been raised
Delivery Channels Various real-time support channels, including email, social media, phone calls, in-person interactions, or automated systems Responding to customer inquiries or complaints through the same channels used to initiate contact with the business
Customer Impact Positive impact on customers by anticipating needs and enhancing overall experience This may lead to frustration or dissatisfaction if not handled effectivelyEffective resolution can still leave a positive impression and build trust and loyalty
Business Impact Increased customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retentionDifferentiation from competitors, reduced support costs, and positive brand reputationActively reduces support tickets It is essential for resolving immediate issues and maintaining satisfactionOverreliance may result in higher support costs, lower satisfaction, and potential brand damage if problems are not addressed effectively

The Benefits of Proactive Customer Service

What’s the big deal with proactive customer service? Does your company really need to offer this to its customers? We can’t tell you what your company needs to do. But we can share with you three amazing benefits of proactive customer service:

1. Increased Customer Loyalty

When customers see that your company tries to solve their problems before they even happen, they’ll feel respected. They’ll realize that your organization values them and will offer you their loyalty in return. Why wouldn’t they? Your business treats them better than the competition.

Customer loyalty is important because customer acquisition can cost 5x more than retaining a current one. Offer your audience proactive customer service, boost customer loyalty, and enjoy increased profit margins.

2. Better Team Productivity

Proactive customer service approach doesn’t just benefit customers; it also benefits the companies that provide it in very tangible ways. For example, the less time your customer service team has to spend responding to customer complaints, the more time it will have to work on important business initiatives.

This boost in productivity will allow your organization to accomplish bigger goals in less time simply because its employees have the bandwidth to tackle them consistently.

3. Control of the Narrative

Lastly, proactive customer service enables companies to control the narrative that surrounds them. The internet has given every person on the planet a platform to express their thoughts and ideas. If they don’t like how a certain business treats them, they can take to social media, YouTube, a personal blog, etc. and share their opinions with millions worldwide.

For companies that don’t prioritize top-notch customer service, this could lead to major complications and a damaged reputation.

If your company can offer proactive service and reduce the amount of issues your customers experience, there’ll be a lot less for them to complain about online. Also, when your target market sees you interacting with customers on social media and other channels and actively working to remedy issues, they’ll be more inclined to do business with your company in the future.

The Customer Journey and Proactive Customer Support: 10 Ways

When thinking about how to offer proactive customer service, it can be quite helpful to take a good look at the five stages of the customer journey: awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy. Do most of your issues come up at specific times during the journey? Where do you need to put your focus?

Two of Forrester’s top customer service trends for 2018 include offering faster service through visual communication and other options for self-service, as well as putting AI and automation at the center of your customer service strategy. Proactive customer engagement fits within both of these trends, as it can provide faster service and companies can use automation for many of their proactive offerings.

Luckily, since most modern contact centers and customer service tools are well-suited for providing proactive support, it’s time to assemble your toolkit. Let’s look deeper at the proactive steps and how you can proactively resolve issues at each stage of the customer journey for your proactive customer service strategy.

A. Awareness

At this stage, customers may not be familiar with your brand yet but are seeking information to address this need and explore potential solutions.

Most of your traditional marketing attempts may come into play at this stage: radio or TV ads, mailers… But if you want to implement proactive customer service strategies, you can create a buzz for your upcoming products or services by emailing or calling existing customers so they know what is coming down the pipeline.

Instead of spending marketing dollars on radio ads, your customers will get excited and spread the word to friends, family, and coworkers, and hopefully on social media.

Other ways to resolve issues at the awareness stage could include:

1. Educational Content Creation

To create awareness, create informative content such as blog posts, videos, or webinars addressing common pain points or questions about your software or products. Provide practical solutions and tips to showcase your expertise and attract potential customers.

Some different types of videos you can create for your customers with the Zight screen recorder to help resolve issues faster include:

  • Detailed training videos and product demos to show customers your product or software functioning and make the complex features easier to understand
  • Create onboarding videos to guide new customers through your product’s setup and basic functions.
  • Explainers and how-to videos that tackle specific questions or features. These videos can help reduce customer frustration by providing clear instructions and information
  • Host webinars to explain product functionalities or updates in depth
  • Create engaging YouTube videos and Facebook video ads attracting and educating potential customers about your product

Also, thanks to Zight AI features for video descriptions and captions, you can make your content more accessible to a wider audience, including those with hearing impairments or language barriers.

2. Social Listening and Engagement

Another way is to actively monitor social media platforms and online forums to identify conversations related to your industry or product. Similar to how gossip spreads, company scandals can quickly become public knowledge on social media channels, exposing your weaknesses.

Failing to monitor customer feedback on social media means missing out on valuable insights into their perceptions of your brand. Therefore, it’s essential to stay vigilant across your social platforms and track mentions of your company.

Social listening allows you to monitor keywords and hashtags relevant to your business, enabling proactive customer support on social media. For example, if a customer tweets about a delayed delivery, discusses the pain points, or asks questions, offering helpful resources and guidance to establish trust and credibility.

3. Proactive Customer Education

Also, you can choose free resources on your website, such as eBooks, whitepapers, or guides that delve deeper into specific topics relevant to our audience’s needs.

These resources should address your target audience’s specific pain points or challenges. If you’re in the healthcare industry, create a guide on managing common health conditions or staying healthy during flu season.

B. Consideration

This is the stage customers are reading reviews, social media posts, and talking to friends while they decide which products or services to purchase. They compare features, prices, and reviews to determine the best solution. Therefore, the solutions should make it easy for them to choose.

Some ways include:

4. Live Chat Support

One way to resolve issues while implementing your proactive customer support strategy is integrating live chat support on the website to engage with visitors in real time and offer assistance.

You can use chatbots to initiate conversations with users based on their browsing behavior, offering to answer questions or provide product recommendations for both software and products. This can help in guiding customers through their decision-making process.

5. FAQs and Knowledge Base Optimization

This is where automation also comes in because you can send an automated email with short product guides or other marketing materials to prospects looking at products on your website.

A great way to build up a trove of support materials is by using Zight’s tools to create short videos or GIFs on how to use your products or write blogs on how your products and services work.

Some popular knowledge bases include:

Continuously update and optimize FAQs and knowledge base with detailed answers to common questions and concerns.

For example, Zight’s knowledge base includes sections on getting started, FAQs, tutorials, integrations, and much more – as you can see below:

Also, expand the FAQ section with answers to common software or product-related queries based on customer feedback and inquiries.

You can also create video tutorials by recording your webcam and audio along with your screen. Zight makes it easy to upload the video and quickly paste it to email, chat, or support materials.

6. Personalized Recommendations

Utilize data analytics to analyze user behavior and provide personalized product recommendations.

Implement recommendation algorithms on the website to suggest relevant software features or product options based on user preferences and browsing history.

Instead of your customers searching for new products, you are already informing them on what they should consider purchasing. This will be beneficial in helping potential customers to navigate through their decision-making process more effectively.

C. Purchase

At this stage, customers may encounter obstacles during checkout or have questions about product features or pricing.

The purchasing stage can be one where many customers give up. Don’t let them!

7. Clear Communication

Ensure transparency of pricing, shipping policies, and return process to prevent misunderstandings or frustrations. Address potential concerns by providing clear explanations and options.

Offer live chat, send follow-up emails if they have abandoned their cart, and provide FAQ pages that answer their questions easily so they don’t feel like they have to waste their time and call customer service for help.

Some companies even offer a discount to people who have abandoned their carts. Reach out to them; your customers will be more likely to follow through on a purchase.

8. Order Tracking and Updates

Offer your customers order tracking and updates to keep them informed about the status of their purchases. Provide a tracking link for software licenses or product shipments in the order confirmation email.

Also, ensure you notify customers of delays or issues with their orders and provide alternative solutions or compensation if necessary.

9. Instant Support Channels

Provide instant support channels such as live chat or phone support during checkout. Ensure you assist customers who may encounter technical difficulties or have questions about the payment process, ensuring a smooth transaction.

Display a prominent support button on your checkout page that allows customers to access assistance if they encounter any issues easily. In addition, train your customer support team to engage with customers and offer guidance throughout checkout.

D. Retention

After customers buy your product, your relationship should not end there. Follow up with shipping notifications, onboarding materials, and training assistance. This will lead to satisfied, happy customers.

Onboarding and training assistance is another area where technology can help out.

Using visual communication tools can make onboarding much faster and simpler for customers. Zight offers many tools for visual communication, including:

If any issues arise with a particular product, don’t wait for customer calls to come flooding in. In fact, 87% of U.S. adults want to be contacted proactively by a company, 51% of customers want to be contacted with questions about an order they placed, and 62% of those who had a positive experience with an incoming call from a business have taken an action as a result of that call.

10. Customer Feedback Surveys and Analysis

Obtaining consumer feedback is crucial for enhancing your proactive customer service.

Regularly solicit feedback from customers through:

  • A Survey or feedback form. Proactively analyze feedback data to identify trends, pain points, and areas for improvement.
  • Utilizing questionnaires enables you to gather customer insights regarding areas for improvement within your business. Questions such as “What additional services would you have liked us to provide?” or “How could we have enhanced your shopping experience?” can provide valuable insights for proactive measures with future customers.
  • Reviewing past support tickets to identify commonly recurring queries or phrases.
  • Survey tools, like Net Promoter Score, are invaluable for collecting this feedback as they capture both qualitative and quantitative customer data.

Reaching out to dissatisfied customers helps to address their concerns and prevent churn to ensure the best possible experience with your brand.

11. Proactive Account Management

Assign dedicated account managers or customer success representatives to monitor customer accounts. Contact customers to check their satisfaction levels and offer assistance or additional resources as needed to demonstrate your commitment to customer success.

12. Anticipatory Service

Use data analytics and predictive modeling to anticipate potential issues or needs. Address these concerns before they escalate, demonstrating your commitment to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

E. Advocacy

The advocacy stage provides another opportunity for proactive customer engagement. You should be active on social media and ask for customer feedback. Make a spreadsheet and pay attention to patterns.

While looking at the patterns, you can close the loop by looking for even more ways to support your customers at all steps of their journey proactively.

13. Rewarding Advocacy

Earning a customer’s long-term commitment requires significant effort, so it’s essential to acknowledge and celebrate each lifetime customer you acquire. However, it is equally important to express gratitude to loyal customers for their dedication and trust in your brand.

Recognize and reward loyal customers who advocate for your brand. Thank them for their support and offer exclusive perks or incentives to encourage continued advocacy.

One way to do this is by implementing loyalty programs, which is an effective method of demonstrating appreciation, as they reward customers for their continued support. These programs provide proactive measures by providing exclusive offers and discounts that enrich and complement the customer service experience.

14. Customer Appreciation Events

Host exclusive events or webinars for your most loyal customers. Engage with advocates to gather constructive feedback, address concerns, and strengthen relationships.

How to Shift From Reactive to Proactive Customer Service

Now that we understand the significant differences between reactive and proactive customer service, we can now learn how to make the shift.

Proactive customer service leads to increased customer loyalty, better team productivity, and greater control over the narrative that surrounds your brand. But the question remains: how do you make the shift from reactive to proactive customer service?

The following six steps will help you:

1. Understand the Customer Journey

When attempting to implement a proactive customer service strategy, it can be helpful to look at the five stages of the customer journey: awareness, consideration, purchase, retention, and advocacy, and evaluate which contains the most customer service issues.

  • Awareness: The customer journey starts with awareness. This is when a potential customer first realizes they have a specific pain point or need.
  • Consideration: Next comes consideration, the part of the customer journey when a potential customer begins researching ways to cure their pain or fulfill their need.
  • Purchase: The potential customer then moves to the next stage in the customer journey: purchase. At this point, they evaluate their options by opening their wallets and purchasing products and/or services.
  • Retention: Most companies stop at the purchase phase. They converted a potential customer into a paying one. Job done, game over, right? Not for smart organizations! This is when the real work begins because they must try to keep their customers happy. Proactive customer support pays dividends at this stage.
  • Advocacy: Lastly, we have advocacy. If your customers reach this phase, they not only pay for your company’s products/services but also encourage others to do the same. This is the highest level of customer and offering proactive customer service will help your company secure more patrons who advocate for your brand.

Every customer goes through these five steps in some form or fashion. You can improve your proactive customer service efforts by analyzing the journeys your customers take and asking yourself if there are common stages that trip them up.

2. Talk to Your Customers

Here’s a crazy idea: talk to your customers and ask them how your company can offer more proactive service. The information you receive will be pure gold!

When you understand the areas of your business that regularly frustrate customers, you can work to resolve them before they become mass-scale issues. Brooks Brothers exemplifies this proactive customer support strategy perfectly. When a customer checks into one of its stores through Twitter, the company automatically contacts them on the social network and asks how they can improve.

By talking with customers regularly like this, Brooks Brothers prove to their customers that they value their business and learn about potential issues before they become business-crushing problems.

3. Be Honest With Your Customers

Modern consumers value brand transparency more than ever before. They will NOT purchase from organizations they feel lie to them or hide the truth in any way. That’s why it’s important to be honest with your customers and announce mistakes and/or issues to your community before they stumble upon them for themselves. Doing so will build customer trust and loyalty.

Netflix is a perfect example of this proactive customer service approach. When users cannot use Netflix, the streaming giant is quick to respond. They generally release a statement notifying customers that they are aware of the issue and apologizing for any inconvenience the outage might be causing.

Netflix doesn’t try to hide from the issue or blame others. They’re very transparent, and their customers respect them a great deal for it.

The next time you discover an issue with your product or service, take the Netflix route and notify your customers. Then, say you’re sorry and assure them that you’re doing everything within your power to remedy the situation.

4. Reward Customer Loyalty

Remember what we said earlier? It’s much more expensive to generate new customers than it is to keep old ones. Plus, happy customers tend to tell others about the companies they love, boosting word-of-mouth marketing.

To help make more happy customers consider rewarding your patrons for their loyalty. You can do this by offering special discounts and/or free upgrades.

When it comes to customer loyalty programs, few companies offer the level of service that Starbucks does. The entire program is run through a mobile app, which was completely revolutionary when it was first released.

Every time a Starbucks customer buys a coffee, scone, or other offering, they win stars, which can be redeemed for free food and beverages in the future.

Your company might not have the funds to create an app. But any business can reward its loyal customers. It’s a great proactive customer service strategy!

5. Strengthen Your Content Library

No matter how proactive your company is about solving problems before customers experience them, some issues will slip through unnoticed. Many customers prefer to solve minor problems themselves rather than having to call or email customer support. Make sure your website contains enough content for them to do so!

Not only will an extensive content library help satisfy customers who want information quickly, but it will also reduce the strain put on your support team and improve sales numbers. In fact, Forrester discovered that 53% of consumers will decide not to purchase a product if finding an answer to their question requires too much effort.

So, create an FAQ page on your company’s website. Talk with your customers and determine what issues they have. Then, write articles explaining the details and add them to your website’s knowledge base or blog archive. You may even consider shooting videos or webinars.

Facebook has an excellent content library that allows its users to solve problems for themselves rather than contacting the Facebook customer support team.

The social media giant’s content library includes frequently asked questions, product explainer videos, detailed documentation, new feature tours, and more. It’s an excellent collection of self-help tools that nail proactive customer service right on the head.‍

6. Invest in Technology

Finally, technology can help you implement your company’s effective proactive customer service strategy. Here are a few recommended tools:

a). Chat Software

Chat software like LiveChat will allow your customer service team to interact with potential and paying customers in real time. If they have questions while browsing your website, they can simply jump on a chat and get answers to them. It’s incredibly convenient and sure to boost customer satisfaction and loyalty.

b). Survey Software 

You need to talk with your customers to provide the best proactive customer support. They can tell you which aspects of your company’s products work well and which don’t, the parts of your website that frustrate them, and so much more.

One of the easiest ways to get customer information is to send out a survey with SurveyMonkey or a similar tool. Just know that you may have to offer an incentive to get enough responses. Don’t worry; the information you acquire will be worth it!

c). Email Marketing Software

Most people think email marketing software is only useful to marketing teams, but it’s not.

Your company can offer Grade-A proactive customer support by using a mass email program to send out company updates, notify patrons about potential issues they may face, educate customers on product use, and ask for feedback on specific product features.

If your company doesn’t currently have an email marketing software, try MailChimp or MailerLite. Both are reputable brands and offer free plans for companies just starting with email.

d). Visual Communication Software


Visual communication software like Zight is the most engaging way to interact with your customers.

By downloading Zight for Mac, Windows, or Google Chrome, you can benefit from:

  • The tool’s screen and webcam recording features will allow you to quickly answer customer questions in hyper-personal ways.
  • The screen snippets and screenshot tool will enable you to clearly explain processes and point out specific details.

That’s why major brands like Uber, Salesforce, and Adobe use the solution regularly.

The right technology will make it much easier for your company to offer incredibly proactive customer service. Take a closer look at the options we just mentioned and choose one or two (or all!) of them to invest in ASAP.

Conclusion of Proactive Customer Service

The bottom line is that proactive support offers many benefits over-reactive customer support. By reaching customers proactively, you create customer promoters, retain existing customers, acquire new customers, and prevent customer issues from escalating.

Understanding your customers’ actions before they seek assistance can help you anticipate their needs and have the necessary tools and resources ready to provide timely help.

So, if you haven’t already, start thinking about how to reach your customers…before a problem starts.

Learn more about Zight for Customer Support here.

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