Habits of Amazing People: Think Ahead
Be Amazing or Go Home, a book by Shep Hyken, discusses the habits “Amazing People” have in common. In this blog series, I have been sharing some of these habits, including:
- Show up every day ready to amaze
- Understand what it means to be amazing
- Always be "on stage"
- Always show up early (a.k.a., “Lombardi time”)
- Always act as if you’re “on the clock”, even when you’re not
- Create your own anti-NO zone
- Be proactive
In this post in the series, I talk about the habit of thinking ahead.
"Look around the corner. See what’s coming. Anticipate what’s next so you can stay a step ahead."
When I am in reactive mode, this step is tough for me to remember. In the past (and sometimes still today), I would ask myself these two questions over and over:
- How can I think ahead when I spend most of my day in a reactive mindset?
- If it has already happened, how can I think ahead?
Thinking ahead is not always about being in front of your problem, but the processes of using the information you have now to plan out the next best course of action. There are two instances where I find I use this mindset more often now that I take a couple of minutes to step back and make a plan of action.
The goal to avoid mistakes that we make over and over is the first area where we can use the thinking ahead technique—by creating awareness. While the types of issues we see on the customer service team seem pretty random, you can see patterns emerge. The Case Administrator and Dedicated Representative roles are critical in helping our team succeed in finding patterns, as they are the first people touching most of our cases.
Once the group sees a pattern, we can work together to take steps so the issue does not happen again and we avoid mistakes. This proactive approach is critical in creating the confidence in our team that will help us grow and maintain a long-standing relationship with our customers. Using a mistake to plan for the future can reduce client stress and improve overall customer relations.
The second area in which I am personally trying to implement this more regularly is the review of our current processes and offerings and asking, "What if?" as a way to try and promote growth. Looking ahead is critical for any company to maintain steady growth, and if we are lucky, create a jump in business.
By asking yourself, "What if?" several times each day, possible growth patterns emerge. Currently, I am looking at additional functionality for our support portal to determine if it makes sense to deploy, even though it could up our overhead. Why? Because I was talking to a group of "young ones," and they pointed out that my "old people" view was leaving their group out. So, I asked, "what if we added a communication technique that younger people are more comfortable with?" Would this update help our team and customers in the long run? I do not know yet, but by asking myself that straightforward question, I open the possibility for growth.
Thinking ahead is not just about the 5- or 10-year goal picture, but also about the next week and month. To provide your customers with the best service available, you must be thinking ahead, anticipating what could happen next. What is the best customer service today might not be what the customer expects tomorrow. A perfect example is that 15 years ago, people just wanted to have the issue fixed. Being friendly was a bonus, but they were generally happy as long as the issue was fixed the first time.
Today, people want you to fix the problem, but they expect a personal touch while you are doing it. The overall mindset of what AMAZING support is changed from "Let us get it fixed" to "Let us get it fixed with a smile." To stay ahead and keep your customers happy, you must be aware of what is happening and think ahead about how you are going to implement those changes.
In what ways can you put the thinking ahead approach into action to avoid mistakes or correct problems in your job or daily life--or throughout your company? Please share these ideas with us and your company, and then contact us to see how ArcherPoint's customer service offerings can help.
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