I define “Proactive” as initiating an action or a sharing of information. In the world of customer service, the initiation is done to benefit the customer. We’re not waiting for the customer to call or come in, to request or complain, to ask or convey. We’re taking the monkey off their back by starting the conversation and providing the solution, without even being asked.
If your way of looking at Proactive is different, let me know, but for the rest of this Tip, let’s use that definition to address how we really apply being “Proactive.”
The main question I’d like you ask yourself is this, “About WHAT could I be proactive?” Remember, we’re not reacting and responding; we’re identifying and acting. So what can you identify that you can act on?
For example, what issues are cropping up internally in your organization that you KNOW will impact your customer? How can you communicate those issues and solutions to customers? Maybe you’re part of a government entity, and you know that some tax refunds are going to be released later than anticipated. You work in a doctor’s office, and you just determined that a physician will be out of the office, and his patients scheduled for that day will now be seen by a nurse practitioner instead.
Think about the issues that you uncover which could impact customers; then don’t wait for them to find out on their own and come at you with the complaint and the emotion; be Proactive.
What new products, policies, procedures, processes, or people are coming up that will impact your customer? How can you tell them about it? You could be a pro sports team whose most experienced account representative left, and now his account holders will all have a new point person. You’re the school modifying the proof of residency documentation requirements for student placement. Maybe you work in a bank, and you just found out that fees are going up for certain types of accounts.
Think about the needs the customer has which will be impacted by changes in your people or internal operations; don’t wait for them to come in with one expectation and get something totally different; be Proactive.
Take a few minutes and identify the issues and needs you know today that the customer will find out tomorrow.
Adopt the Practice of Proactive.