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)