The employee is speaking to you. Do they have that look in the eyes like they’re hanging on your every word, like they’re processing, interpreting, and getting ready to quickly respond to your key points and questions? Or do they have the look of somebody in the 2nd hour of a 3-hour documentary on the origins of cardboard?
Passive people are often considered poor at customer service. Proactive people are generally better at customer service. Neither group is all bad or all good, but there are many more benefits of being proactive when you’re in the role of serving customers, developing relationships, and resolving issues.
Proactive people are better at perceiving their surroundings and the customer’s needs, because they make it a point to care enough to be aware; it’s hard to be proactive if you’re not aware something needs to be done.
Proactive people anticipate future customer needs and next steps; this helps needs to be met more quickly and often met in one communication or transaction (rather than multiple contacts with the same customer).
Proactive people are – by definition – action-oriented. They do things. They move things (decisions, resolution, fulfillment) forward. And proactive people tend to respond quickly, thereby helping customers feel important – that their issue/need does matter.
Passive people generally do not anticipate well, they are not as perceptive (because they don’t care to be that engaged), they lack action, and they lack responsiveness and speed.
If you want to be great at customer service, avoid the passive predicament. Use the power of being proactive.