Once you are familiar with your customers’ most common pain points, you will have a better idea of the types of messages that will help them overcome issues, navigate tricky features, and ultimately, achieve success with your product or service.
Regardless of your business type and customer needs, there are four powerful proactive messages your team should set up:
1. Onboard new customers
There’s nothing more exciting than when a new customer signs up for your product or service. But, of course, new customers will often experience a steep learning curve. This is especially true if your product or service is a little more complex. While new customers are learning the ropes they can require quite a bit of hand-holding. Their questions are often directed at your busy support team, which can clog up your support queue.
“Giving customers proactive guidance from the outset not only increases customer satisfaction and retention, it also helps keep them out of the inbox”
An overflowing inbox doesn’t have to be the status quo. You can set up a Product Tour or Mobile Carousel to automatically walk new customers through setting up and configuring your product, getting value upfront, and navigating known pain points. Giving customers proactive guidance from the outset not only increases customer satisfaction and retention, it also helps keep them out of the inbox.
2. Address common stumbling blocks
When customers are browsing your website or using your product, they may encounter a stumbling block, like a processing error or not being able to find the details they need on how to use a specific feature. They will have questions like: “Why isn’t my data saving?” or “What are your shipping times?”
By proactively identifying these stumbling blocks ahead of time, you could save your customers time writing into your support team. For example, if a customer is trying to purchase an item on your e-commerce store, but their payment fails, you can trigger an automated message to pop up at that exact moment, providing helpful troubleshooting tips.
3. Educate customers on new features
Even when customers have been using your product or service for a while, when you release new features or add-ons, they are bound to have questions. Usually your team will brace for a large tsunami of queries on launch week. If you can anticipate your customers’ questions ahead of time you’ll be able to reduce the tide of incoming queries. For example, you can automatically send a message to customers once they add your new feature and prompt them to check out your FAQs. This will empower them to answer their own questions in their own time.
4. Alert customers to known issues
No matter how diligent your business is, day-to-day issues can occur with your product or service that can affect your customers. Think product outages, website downtime, bugs, delays with delivery – all those mission critical issues that can frustrate your customers and wipe out your team’s entire day. Instead of waiting for a flood of issues to come rushing in for your team to address, you can proactively send an outbound message to flag the issue and provide help upfront.
For example, if you have recently experienced a vulnerability with your premium product, you could message your premium customers who logged in within the last 10 days.
Metrics for championing and improving proactive support
Proactive support helps you elevate the support function within your company, so your team can go from drowning in reactive conversations to carving out more time to become strategic, revenue-generating business partners.
One of the best ways to position support as a key value driver is to get buy-in from other teams and to co-own support efficiency and bottom-line metrics together. Having a clear, collective goal and measurable metrics to work towards will inspire you to band together and help each other succeed. If you can draw a direct correlation to boosting your business’ bottom line, even better. Here are some key metrics to measure:
- Rate of Automated Resolution (ROAR). By adopting a proactive approach at Intercom we’re currently hovering at around a 5 per cent Rate of Automated Resolution (ROAR), which means 4.5 per cent of all customer issues are resolved without a human being involved. This translates to about $400,000 saved per year.
- Conversations closed by articles. If someone reads one of our help center articles linked to from a proactive message, they will be prompted to let us know whether it answered their question. If they indicate the question is resolved by giving it a thumbs up we’ll track that as part of our “conversations closed by articles” rate.
- Customer retention. Retention is one of the most important bottom-line metrics for any SaaS or subscription-based business to measure. At Intercom, this is the Holy Grail metric we use to measure the impact of our customer training, webinars, and more, which are all a key part of our proactive support strategy.
- Product engagement metrics. Our Product Education team measures the activation rate for important features we know are more likely to retain customers. If we send an Outbound Message encouraging customers to use a feature for the first time, for example, we can track whether they’ve taken that action or not.
Learn, iterate, improve!
Support metrics on their own are just numbers on a dashboard. They only become meaningful when you dig deeper, start looking for underlying trends and themes, and use those insights to take the next step toward providing a world-class customer experience. For example, you’ll want to:
- Measure how your proactive messages are performing. Are they engaging customers and resolving issues effectively? If there’s a message that’s underperforming, try tweaking the copy or filters to improve performance.
- If you’re an Intercom customer, you can view Conversation Topics to see the exact topics customers are asking about most. This can help you identify the most helpful proactive messages to create next.
Get the full strategy for delivering fast, personal support at scale
Proactive support is incredibly powerful, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle for delivering efficient, personal support to your customers at the scale your business needs. Get the Ultimate Guide to Conversational Support to learn how to combine proactive, self-serve, and human support to achieve world-class support – without burning out your team or budget.