Proactive Care: Know how to fix the problem? Tell your customers!

In a recent article on B/OSS World, Tim McElligott declares that service providers have failed their customer in provider quality customer care. But is it really because service providers don’t recognize the importance of care? A typical service provider faces the 20/20/20 problem – their call center agents are 20 years old, have 20 weeks of experience, and are paid $20 k per year. As a result, the customer experience is dictated by the agent’s (limited) call center experience and (limited) knowledge of the offerings.

Service providers also face another challenge. Customers have more power than ever before, and can churn and post nasty things about their experience on social media. This is one factor that has led service providers to focus harder on providing a superior customer experience (while, of course, still trying to keep costs low). Sprint is a shining example of this effort and recently has won several accolades for improving customer experience.

So can anything be done to improve customer satisfaction when the customer encounters a problem? Realistically, if they are dealing with a problem, they are already unhappy. Can service providers really delight them by just resolving the problem? Better not have a problem in the first place! But that’s not always possible. Unless…you can anticipate and solve the problem before the customer is even aware of it. The same survey that reported 75% of consumers would rather use online self-help than call a call center also found that customers expect care to be proactive.

frustrated customer

If you know there's a problem, why don't you just fix it?

Most customers expect that if their service providers are aware of a problem, and know how to fix it or notify customer about it, why don’t they do it already? A whopping 96% of customers expect their service providers to proactively notify them about actions being taken—or even better—the solution to an impending problem. Why? So that they don’t have to spend time trying to work out the problem, or have to call the call center in the first place!

How do customers want to be notified, one might ask? Well, email leads the pack, followed by text message and then social media channels. But sending notification to all the customers might be perceived as a nuisance, so service providers will have to selectively target which notifications to send to which customers, and when. And if they can do it right, this may actually move the needle on improving customer experience while reducing costs!

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