Proactive Customer Service in Online Shops

proactive customer service
Author: Haydar Yuece // 8min

Most customers who are dissatisfied with a product or service only get in touch when displeasure and anger already exist. In the worst case, they are even gone without any contact with the service and are welcomed by the competition with open arms and proactive customer service. Customer frustration and dissatisfaction are the biggest challenges in the customer service of many online shops. But how can these really be overcome?

Proactive customer engagement ensures that online shops increase customer satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and reduce complaints and enquiries. This relieves the burden on customer service and gives them control over communication. In the long term, sales increase thanks to happy customers.

What is proactive customer service?

Proactive customer support ensures that the customer’s needs, challenges, questions and concerns are identified in advance and satisfied with appropriate measures at an early stage, without the customer having to explicitly ask for them. Within the framework of a proactive service, for example, FAQs are written, explanatory videos are provided, automated e-mails are sent and helpful exit intent popups are activated – but only when the customer really needs them.

The basic prerequisite for proactive customer support is a strategy that strikes a balance between offering customers the right level of support without annoying them. Because if a customer feels annoyed, proactive customer support quickly becomes counterproductive.

Reactive vs. Proactive Customer Service

Most online shops currently still operate a reactive customer service. Compared to proactive customer support, reactive customer support only reacts when the customer actively contacts them. It only responds to enquiries that have already been made. However, these are already a sign that the customer has a problem. This makes it particularly difficult to restore satisfaction, win new customers or convert customers into regular customers. Nevertheless, reactive support is an important element of overall customer service and accessibility on different channels is immensely important. There will always be people with questions and problems to which a company can only respond.

proactive customer service online shop

Advantages of proactive customer service in online shops

A major advantage of proactive customer service is that the customer is usually not only more satisfied, but also positively surprised by the good service provided. If expectations are exceeded at the outset by proactively identifying and meeting needs, the likelihood increases that this customer will become a regular customer who is also happy to share their positive experiences with others. In this way, online shops simultaneously strengthen their own image. Customers are clearly more loyal.

At the same time, this reduces the amount of work, enquiries and complaints, so that capacities are freed up for other services. Especially with the support of automated tools like uptain, proactive customer service in the online shop is even more efficient.

Furthermore, with a proactive service, a company gains control over such situations and thus the possibility to manage them.

Customer needs: The key to proactive customer service

In bricks-and-mortar retail, trained staff recognise when to approach a customer and what problems might exist. In online retail, it is the appropriate software that recognises the needs, problems and challenges of the customers. The software proceeds in 3 steps:


Determine customer characteristics

Shop visitors leave behind a wide variety of data. Among other things, this includes information that influences shopping cart abandonment and purchase decisions, such as age, affinity for technology and online purchasing experience. If a customer uses a Gmail account, for example, it speaks for a young age. On the other hand, a visitor with a T-Online email address and a pre-installed browser is likely to be older and more likely to be non-tech-savvy.


Identifying the reason for abandonment

From this data, the reasons for abandonment and the needs of the visitor can be determined. A distinction is made here, for example, between customers who need service and those who are price-sensitive. Price sensitivity is indicated when a younger visitor comes from a price comparison portal and has been in the online shop for a while. Service neediness, on the other hand, can be present if a visitor has no affinity for technology and is somewhat older.


Personalised message

The content and communication type of the message should be based on the identified reasons for abandonment and according needs. In this way, shop operators create individualised content that addresses the problems of the person who abandoned the purchase and provides solution-oriented support. Depending on the reason for abandonment, a distinction is made between a simple shopping cart reminder and telephone, WhatsApp and e-mail services. For customers who are particularly price-sensitive, it is also possible to display individual vouchers depending on the amount in the shopping cart.

Use uptain for proactive customer service.

Right Timing: When do online shoppers need service?

On the one hand, customers appreciate proactive efforts by online shops, but on the other hand, this can also quickly lead to them becoming annoyed. Therefore, the right moment as well as the right environment is the be-all and end-all of efficient customer support. Here the question arises: When is the decisive moment?

When entering a website, the prospective customer first needs sufficient time to be able to explore the site independently and discover the offer. However, this time window should not be kept open endlessly, because once dissatisfaction sets in, it is already too late. The solution to this is a tool that automatically recognises when a customer really needs help.

The uptain® ALGORITHM recognises when and, above all, what help the customer needs. At the same time, it adapts the type of communication to the preferred approach and plays a personal and individual exit intent popup. In this way, online shop operators pick up visitors at the right time, surprise positively with a proactive service, create real added value and avoid “annoying”.

Are you interested in exit intent popups? Read the blog post Exit Intent Popups: More conversions for Online Shops.

Proactive customer support offsite

In addition to the playout of individual exit intent pop-ups, which support a purchase decision shortly before the conclusion of the purchase, there is the possibility of proactive customer support outside of one’s own online shop.

Abandoned cart e-mails, which are addressed to the recipient in terms of content and style, offer the opportunity to bring back shopping cart abandoners through proactive service. In doing so, the uptain® ALGORITHMUS considers the right arguments in terms of proactive customer service, which help the shopping cart abandoner in the best possible way and convince him to buy. Proactive support for shopping cart abandoners ensures more sales and strengthens customer loyalty in the long term.

For example, the uptain tool recognises price-sensitive customers and offers a voucher or identifies customers in need of service who would like to be informed about a service offer. Depending on the analysis result of the uptain® ALGORITHM, the preferred contact value such as WhatsApp, telephone and e-mail service is offered. Of course, this is only ever the case if availability is guaranteed.

This is what successful abandoned cart emails look like.

Proactive customer support as state of the service

Service more than ever and customers have high expectations of online shops. Don’t wait until customers approach you with wishes, needs and questions. Proactive service satisfies potential customers in advance, creating moments of surprise that increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Likewise, proactive support shows appreciation towards the prospect, creating a lasting positive image. With intelligent tools, it is easier than ever to establish an attractive and solution-oriented customer service in the online shop.

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