Be proactive and boost the bottomline. Part 1 of 2

I hope everyone had a nice July 4th. As promised, Service Untitled is back in business.

I would say that one of the best big picture ways to becoming a great customer service organization is to provide customer service that is proactive (as opposed to reactive). It is something I’ve talked about before and believe will get more and more important as time goes on.

Like I described in the previously linked to post, wouldn’t it be neat (albeit somewhat creepy) if a Dell or HP tech called you and said your hard drive was about to die and that you should backup your files, or if you couldn’t figure out how to use a certain feature and you got a call or an email offering help or pointing you in the right direction. That is what proactive customer service is all about.

Some possible scenarios in addition to the ones described above:

  1. Lexus notices that your car is taking much longer to accelerate than usual. They call you or send something in the mail (or email) asking if you want to schedule a service visit.
  2. Your web hosting company notices that the software you are using has been using a lot more resources than average for an installation of your size. Or they notice that resource usage has gone way up while your traffic hasn’t. They email you and ask if you are aware of it.
  3. Your email hosting (or wireless type provider like BlackBerry) company notices you haven’t gotten email in the last 3 days whereas you usually get 100 messages a day. They contact you and ask if there are any problems.
  4. The software you use or are evaluating notices you are getting a lot of error messages and experimenting a lot with a certain feature. The company’s tech support sends you a link to a knowledge base article.
  5. A hosted software company can tell that a customer hasn’t really utilized any of the more powerful features of their software that make it really useful.

These do have a bit of a Big Brother element to them. It goes along with super proactive customer service. However, I think more customers than not will appreciate it. Plus, if they are freaked out, your company can offer a way to opt out of proactive monitoring.

Alarm companies are proactive. They call you if they notice a problem. They don’t wait for you to call them if something is wrong. That is the way that more and more companies should operate.

There are hundreds of other ways to be proactive besides the 5 listed above. As you can see, being proactive isn’t just limited to the alarm or software industries. I will say (with a fair amount of confidence) that any company in any industry can be proactive in one way or another when it comes to helping their customers.

So how does being proactive boost the bottomline? It sounds really costly and time consuming. Not quite. And that is the subject of tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned (er, subscribed).

One Response to “Be proactive and boost the bottomline. Part 1 of 2”

  1. Ankit said:

    Jul 09, 07 at 4:50 am

    One simple reason you can give is that you found this information based on automatic reports that do not look into the exact account and so it generates this based on resource usage and logs created by the system. Most people don’t question it beyond that and I tell them that if they don’t like this, I can disable their account from being checked, but that this is what sets your company apart from others because you help others make sure they’re getting what they paid for.

    Make them realize that they’re paying for “all of it” and so you’re just helping them use it all. That gets some people because otherwise they’ll think they’re paying for 100% of a product, but only using 20%, and tossing the rest of the money at your business for free.