Proactive vs. Reactive Customer Service

Ken Yarmosh, a web strategy consultant from Viget Labs, presents an interesting perspective on how companies can create more proactive customer service environments online by paying close attention to design and analytics.  A few pointers from Ken include:

1) Analyze your online purchasing process, online purchasing data, and purchasing related web analytics.
What sort of yearly/monthly/weekly trends do you see? Are visitors abandoning their shopping carts during a certain part of the checkout process? Is most of your business through one-time purchases or do you have significant repeat business?

2) Identify areas for improvement.
Based on your analysis, find the problems or places you think you can add more value to your customers experience.

3) Prioritize your changes.
Maybe you only have a couple of areas you need to re-work. But in the case of a laundry list of necessary changes, prioritize your changes. Criteria for prioritization might include eliminating what’s most frustrating to your customers or tackling the item where you are losing most of your potential sales.

Ken’s last point is also dead-on…companies should strive to "wow" their customers.  From our point of view, this means giving them consistent experiences (across channels) which they expect. When dealing with your brand, customers do not want different treatment online than they’d get offline.