My wife Janet needed a new rearview mirror for her car. We called the dealership to see about getting one. (You can probably imagine where this is going!) It was exorbitantly expensive. Even Stephen, the parts guy, was shocked when he found out how much it cost! He suggested that look into getting a used mirror instead of a new one. He recommended a possible supplier and gave us their contact information. We were delighted with our experience with Stephen and appreciated how he tried to help us. But, it gets better.

Proactivity Means You Anticipate Your Customer’s Needs

Shortly after we got off the phone from Stephen, he sent us an email with the part number we needed, a picture of the part, and a list of possible sources. Stephen had already made a positive impression during our phone conversation and then, using proactivity, he took it to the next level with his email to us. Stephen was being proactive by thinking beyond the confines of his job and considering the needs of his fellow human. In every survey I’ve conducted about the differences between good and bad customer service providers, proactivity is always mentioned as a characteristic of the good providers. It took him all of about five minutes to help us and his proactive investment of five minutes helped solidify our relationship with that dealer.

Proactivity means that you act ahead of time. You anticipate the needs of the people you’re working with, whether a customer or a co-worker and take action to fulfill their needs. Successful companies are proactive by creating and offering useful products and services before customers ask for them.

Put yourself in the position of your customer or your co-worker. What sort of additional gesture, a baker’s dozen if you will, can you make to take your relationships with your customers to the next level? In the near-future world of artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, and automation, your human-to-human relationships are what will make the difference between you or your company being seen as a valued partner or just another commodity.

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