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Reactive Vs. Proactive

Reactive vs. Proactive

Proactive service work is defined as work that doesn’t have to be done today – but if it were done today, then the benefits of less stress, improved customer relations and increased employee morale would ensue. A manager with vision sees how future trouble can be averted, then hangs tough and drive the proactive work to completion.

There was a major blizzard in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast last week.  Many HVAC contractors were proactive in minimizing unnecessary inbound “my furnace stopped working” customer complaint calls.

Unfortunately, some contractors had to endure the reactive outcome of inbound call clusters from unhappy customers complaining about their furnaces.

For service managers, being proactive or reactive is a choice.

The blizzard brought 12 inches of snow to my region with heavy winds.  When the snow drifts exceed two and three feet, then the home owners with direct-vent furnaces must keep the area around their vent pipes clear, otherwise the furnace will not ignite.

Thankfully, my HVAC contractor sent a reminder e-mail to their customers prior to the blizzard.

This proactive gesture saved them time and money and it kept their customers warm and comfortable.

But what about the contractors who were not proactive?

What happened when their customers called to complain that “my furnace stopped working” on a Saturday?

You can imagine the extra expense, wasted time and tense customer relations that ensued.  And what would it have cost to be proactive?  Pennies.

My vents after clearing 30 inches of snow.

Proactive customer service work is defined as work that doesn’t have to be done today.

There are similarities between the reactive and proactive model in comparison to the pain versus gain model.  Reactive service usually includes pain in the form of dissatisfied customers, incoming call peak times and system breakdowns.  The human reaction to pain is to end it as soon as possible – hence there is little time reserved for any proactive work.  The proactive service model includes gain in the form of efficiency, follow up and enhanced customer relationships – but only if the manager chooses to allocate enough resources.

The best managers stay one step ahead of potential problems with a proactive stance.

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Steve Coscia

The road from professional musician to thirty-year customer service veteran to best-selling author and speaker is not a typical career path, but Steve Coscia may have started a new trend.

Coscia is one of the most widely published and quoted authorities in the customer service industry. He has published more than 200 articles, four books and a series of training DVDs. His college curriculum is taught at institutions of higher learning throughout the United States and Canada.

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