Proactive customer service is a critical, and under-rated, component of your business model. Many companies aren’t aware of a problem until their customers alert them.
Making your customers your canary in the coal mine isn’t my idea of a business strategy that will grow, expand and sustain anyone’s business.
Your customers don’t see any value in that. They will move their business elsewhere.
Earlier this year, my husband and I toured New Zealand. We decided to engage a coach tour, a first for both of us. We booked the coach and accommodations for our 11-day tour, no tour guide included. We learn more that way. At each destination, we either chose a self-guided tour or we purchased one.
From the moment we began our trip (and it is one, long arduous schlep, trust me), we knew something was different. Very different.
We were constantly updated by the booking agency, who, in essence, functions as a broker for multiple tour and hotel services for New Zealand. The agency “saw us off” wishing us Bon Voyage. They tracked us across the Pacific Ocean as we flew to Oceania.
At each point along our path, they provided pre-arranged transport based on the type of tour package we contracted for. The driver knew our names and knew details about where we were headed.
Each sub-contractor acted as their own, and the agent’s, brand ambassador. It was obvious from the start that everyone collaborated with everyone else, for our benefit. How refreshing was this?
And then the fun stuff started. You see, there were hitches in the itinerary.
I can see you all cringing as you read this. Well, read on, because here’s where the proactive customer service really takes off.
We only found out about the hitches after the agency and sub-contractors had identified them. You see, everyone checked and double checked our travel details. Not only were these hitches discovered, they had been addressed – without a miscue or misstep on the agency’s part or the sub-contractor’s part.
Not only had these hitches been discovered and addressed, they weren’t covered up upon our arrival by any service provider. These professionals were completely up front with us about what had happened and the decisions they undertook on our behalf.
That’s proactive customer service.
Not only does this proactive customer service ethic say a lot about the company we chose to do business with. It also says a lot about the people of New Zealand. Thank you all.
These companies, and individuals, understood the critically important nature of seamless coordination of a lot of moving parts. They didn’t wait for stuff to happen and then react to it.
These companies always operated ahead of plan. On our behalf.
How many of you reading this post have a proactive customer service ethic? How many of you are willing to make some hard calls and necessary corrections on behalf of your customers? In advance?
Or do you wait to see if the customer notices something is wrong in the services they’ve contracted for?
The difference your customer service strategy makes is in how your customers perceive the value of your business output. That translates into your own business sustainability.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a business coach and management consultant. Her Workshops create Playbooks for startups and small to mid-size companies who want to grow, expand and sustain their businesses, but wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Playbook on leadership, business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.