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What’s better than reacting instantly to customer needs? Anticipating those needs in advance. And today’s top service teams are proving it.

Our 2015 State of Service report – which brings together insights from over 1,900 industry leaders, from countries across the world – suggests the majority of top performing service teams can predict customer service needs more than 80% of the time.

This emerging, proactive approach offers service teams a double-win, since it enables both better service experiences and more efficient service delivery, with, for example:

  • Smarter pairing of issues and service agents
  • More efficient call routing
  • Faster case history access
  • Greater service personalisation

Proactive Customer Service in the UK

Here in the UK, four in every five leading service teams say they can predict customer service needs at least 60% of the time – and that’s in contrast to just one in every ten of their underperforming peers.

Another area in which service leaders are really outstripping the service laggards is the collection and analysis of prospect and customer feedback through multichannel surveys and social listening.

None of the lowest performing teams rated themselves as outstanding in this area, versus 39 percent of UK service leaders.

Proactive customer service in practice – SureFlap

One UK company that’s passionate about using feedback to drive proactive service is SureFlap.

The purrr-veyor of smart cat flaps – flaps capable of recognising the microchip in your resident feline, and ensuring they’re the only ones granted access to your house – sends out around 300 customer satisfaction surveys every week, helping it stay firmly ahead of customer needs.

As Sarah Metcalfe, SureFlap’s Customer Service Manager explains, ““If a satisfaction survey comes back with a score lower than nine out of 10, Service Cloud notifies us so we can follow up with individual customers”.

This commitment to service is showing clear results. One month after purchase, SureFlap’s product Net Promoter Score is 91 percent – a figure which climbs to 96 percent after contact with its customer service team.

Getting proactive with predictive analytics

2015’s top service teams are over three-and-a-half times more likely than underperformers to use emerging technologies to help them provide proactive customer service.

In the UK 43 percent of top teams are already using predictive analytics or next-best-action tools, with a further 25 percent either piloting the tech, or planning to implement it within the next 12-18 months.

Proactive customer service in practice – Extreme Networks

On the other side of the pond, networking company Extreme Networks provides an excellent example of how advanced predictive analytics can support next-level customer service. As Mike Lytle, Director of Global Technology Services & Operations explains:

“Using a weighted sum algorithm based on customer contact, type of contact, customer satisfaction scores, and more, we can predict customer temperature and alert the appropriate management team to take proactive measures.”

The result has been a great leap in service agent productivity, with increased visibility into service levels, and new power to drive down the cost of service logistics.

The proactive service gap

Proactive service isn’t just about taking full advantage of feedback, or predictive analytics; ultimately, it relies on a host of individual service capabilities. Capabilities that the UK’s service leaders have been ahead of the curve in embracing. Here’s just a couple of examples to illustrate the size of the proactive service gap:

  1. Gathering insights across the entire customer lifecycle – 43 percent of UK service leaders say they’re outstanding at this. Only 10 percent of UK laggards make the same claim.
  2. Using intelligence to predict customer needs and activity based on monitoring tools – A sizable 43 percent of UK leaders see themselves as outstanding here. Zero percent of UK underperformers do. 

The summary

Today’s most successful service teams aren’t cooling their heels when it comes to keeping customers happy.

Compared to their less successful counterparts, they’re much more likely to be embracing emerging technologies and get truly proactive about service delivery – improving both customer experience and operational efficiency along the way.

Want to learn more about what’s setting today’s service winners apart? Just download your free copy of the complete 2015 State of Service report.