Habits of Amazing People: Stay A Step Ahead
“Create a process that solves problems – before others even find out there was a problem.”
This step in being proactive is one of the most important if used correctly. What does being proactive mean? Webster’s dictionary defines it as acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes. So, to be proactive, this step is an absolute must. How can you be proactive if you are not thinking ahead and looking for the issues? Can you resolve them before they become an issue? Is it possible to fix a problem before it happens? Probably not, but you can at least stay a step ahead of your customers, getting on top of the issue before they call you and point it out to you. You can take steps so the issue does not happen again.
I use this step as I work on problems we find that might harm our customers. If the customer does not yet know there is an issue, how can we understand, resolve, and contact them with a resolution or inform them of the fix? After a crisis is averted, how can we take what we have learned and use this experience to stay a step ahead? These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself in your effort to stay ahead.
An example of staying ahead that we recently implemented came up because of COVID-19. We had always assumed that we were pre-approved for a certain number of hours for each support case for those clients on a support plan. With COVID, many of our clients had understandably become more budget aware and were asking us to get approval for any hours prior to working on a new case.
This was a critical change to our business environment that we needed to address to ensure we could continue to provide the services our clients needed while respecting their requirement to manage their case budget. To stay a step ahead, we emailed all customers on a support plan and asked if they would like to pre-approve a certain number of hours on any case. For those who did not elect to pre-approve hours, we adjusted the process to now send out an email immediately requesting approval when a new case is opened. By being proactive regarding this potential issue, we stayed a step ahead by creating and implementing a plan that allowed us to tailor our processes and keep all our support customers happy.
As this example illustrates, staying a step ahead does not necessarily center around a “big” problem or have to be a complicated solution. Taking even the smallest step can keep issues from becoming problems, even saving your customers time and money, and create a better customer experience with minimal interruption to your or their operations.
What are measures you can put in place to ensure you are staying ahead? How can you be more proactive across your organization–not just with customers? We invite you to share your thoughts with us and with your company; then call us to see how our customer service offerings can help you.
In Be Amazing or Go Home, Shep Hyken discusses the habits “Amazing People” share in common. Learn more about the habits we’ve reviewed previously: