NoHeader

Posts tagged "Proactive Customer Service"

I recently had the good fortune to meet Frankie Saucier, the former director of social media customer service (also known as social care) for a major cable company. When the cable goes out, upset customers call, email, tweet, post on Facebook, etc. her cable company for two reasons. One, they want to express their complaint and anger. Two, they want to know when their cable TV will be fixed.

So, Frankie sat down with her team to brainstorm how to handle a tweet that a customer posted asking how long it would be before their cable TV was restored. She asked them, “What would be the best response?” Continue reading

Customer-Focused

In the past I’ve written about proactive customer service. The example I always like to use is when a server in a restaurant notices that the guest’s water glass is about half full, the server refills the glass before the guest drinks it all and has to ask for more. Being proactive raises the perceived value of what you offer. Your customers feel you’ve really are paying attention and focused on them and their needs. Continue reading

Abused CustomerCustomer Service Strategy

Years ago, when I was just starting to speak and consult on customer service, my friend Dr. Larry Baker shared this concept with me. Now the word abused may be a bit strong, but his point was well taken. For some customers, the pre-purchase experience is better than the post-purchase experience. Continue reading

Proactive service has always been a good strategy – providing great service before you are asked to do so.  (The waiter that fills the glass of water before the guest asks for it.) This made me think about three possible scenarios.

One, most people are reactive in that once something comes their way, a problem, complaint, etc., they deal with it.  And if we are lucky, they deal with it well.

Second, proactive behavior would be if someone sees a problem coming and heads it off – before it becomes a problem.  Or even better, spots an opportunity to make something better and takes the initiative to make it happen.  (See the difference between one and two?)

Then there is a third scenario.  This is the person that ends up having to deal with a complaint, problem, etc., and doesn’t react.  This only escalates the problem to something bigger, and guess what?  They don’t react to that either.  You keep trying to give them chance after chance to make good, and they just keep blowing it.  I know, this has happened to all of us, and it is so frustrating!

So here is the way to look at the third situation, hence today’s lesson.  Complaints are gifts. Problems are opportunities.  Tell me there is a problem and give me the chance to show you how good I can be.  Let me show you how much I care.  If you give me the chance to help you, I will.  If you don’t tell me, I can’t help you.

Reread that last sentence.  There is one problem with it.  Many times people won’t tell you if there is a problem.  Which brings us back to being proactive.  You have to know.  The way to know is to listen to peoples’ comments and ask them questions.

Some people have the ability to head off problems before they happen – best.  Some people have the ability to deal with problems after they happen – good.  And unfortunately some people just don’t have a clue – I hope they don’t work for me!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

Recently I was on an evening airline flight, and they had a pretty nice dinner – as far as airplane food goes. The flight attendant was serving warm chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  I made the comment, “I love it when they serve these cookies.  It’s too bad they have just one per passenger.” A few minutes later she came back with two more for me to enjoy.

So, this doesn’t seem like a big deal.  So, she listened, had a few cookies left over and thought she would take care of one of her passengers.  So, what is so special about this?

Everything!  Here is why.  I make the same comment to every flight attendant that serves me the cookies.  You may or may not know that I fly a lot – at least once or twice a week.  That is a lot of opportunities to eat cookies!  Do you know that this is the first time a flight attendant has ever offered me an extra cookie?  Most of the time there are extra cookies.  I know because I see the flight attendants throw them away at the end of the flight.

The point here is that part of delivering great service is paying attention.  Be proactive.  You shouldn’t wait until a customer asks for something.  If possible, do it before they ask.  Wasn’t my comment about the cookies enough to make the flight attendants think that I might want another one?  Perhaps I should have been more direct and said, “Since you usually have leftover cookies that you usually throw away, would you mind if I had a second one?” Enough said.

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”
— Milton Berle (A very funny and smart man!)

Speaking of opportunity, here is an idea that will give you the opportunity to look like a star. You’ve heard of a Customer Service department.  How about a Proactive Service department?

This idea is not really new.  Companies and people have been doing this all along.  It may not be an official department.  As a matter of fact, it is common sense.  Here are several examples of what I am referring to:

The waiter who fills a customer’s water glass before the customer has to ask.

The shipping department that follows up with a customer to insure the package arrived.  If it didn’t arrive, they start the tracking process or reship the package.

The sales person that sells a video player/recorder to a customer and calls the customer the next day to make sure he/she was able to connect it to the television.  If the customer couldn’t, the sales person walks the customer through the process, step by step.

As mentioned above, the idea of proactive service is not new.  But a formal process to provide this type of  “thinking ahead” is not usually the norm.  It is usually an individual’s effort, within a company, that provides this level of service.

Proactive service is an opportunity to show how good you are.  A customer decides to do business with you because they trust you enough to deliver “the goods.”  Proactive service reinforces the decision the customer made.  It helps to build respect and loyalty.  Why leave this powerful concept to chance.  Make it a normal procedure as part of the sales and follow-up process and watch your customers say, “Wow!”

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, professional  speaker and New York Times   bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or http://www.hyken.com. For information on The  Customer  Focus™ customer service training programs go to http://www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)