Anticipatory Customer Service is the Future

You are probably not sure exactly how to predict what it is your customers want unless you have some type of magical spell. While there is no exact science coming to the rescue here to 100% accurately read your customer’s mind (though perhaps with the speed at which technology has advanced in recent years, we’re not that far off), a careful study of customer statistics, surveys and actions might help businesses be able to make an educated guess.

Learning how to analyze your customers will help you reach what they want based on their demographics and other factors. Once you know what it is they are looking for, you can offer it to them and focus on what they need and want. Anticipatory customer service is the way of the future and, if done properly, it will help increase revenues, boost customer loyalty, and raise customer satisfaction.

When you surprise your customers and give them something more or better than what they expected, they will stay with you. It is important to realize though that just offering one great service is not enough to keep your customers around anymore. When you offer them other services coupled with exceptional customer service, you have a better chance of retaining those customers.

So how can you anticipate what it is your customers want? It really is not too hard or difficult to do. To begin the process, follow the steps below.

Empathy – Put Yourself in the Customer’s Place

This is one of the first things you will need to do when you are trying to anticipate what it is your customers want. You will need to put yourself in their place to be able to see things from a different view. Every customer has different needs and these needs can be unusual. You can identify when a customer has needs based on their body language and also facial expressions. Learn how to recognize these and you can help them before they even need to ask you for help.

Simply do not ignore these cues that are given off by your customer and simply ask them if there is anything else you can help them find, or the like.

Or sometimes anticipatory customer service is about common sense. An unexpected cancellation of a train route or flight can be compensated with free alternatives to be provided, before you are asked to supply them.

Accept the Fact That Some Customers Have Unusual Needs

Some of your customers are going to have unusual needs or they are going to need help with something that the normal customer may not. It is important to be receptive of these needs and help the customer the best way you can. If you can accommodate the needs, this is great. If you are unable to accommodate their needs, let them know and offer some suggestions. This will go a long way and customers who appreciate your help will advertise your company and gloat about you.

Do Some Research

Treating customers with respect often means not underestimating them. In the internet age of 2014 – with price comparison websites, open and fast communication via social media, and more – research what your competitors are offering customers, and beat their offers. Study customer behavior, study technology trends, study which direction customer service is heading, and try to beat them there. They’ll most likely thank you later.

Always Make Sure You Are Friendly and Accommodating

Always be friendly to the customer and never act like they are putting you out by asking you a question. Always take your time to answer their questions and help them out the best way you can. If you are not able to help them, offer to find someone who can. This applies to both traditional phone or face-to-face settings, and online interactions as well.

Accommodating your customers’ means going the extra mile for them. If you see that they have a handful of clothes to try on, open the fitting room door for them or ask if they need anything in a different size. Your customers will appreciate this.

These are just some of the ways that you can be anticipatory of what your customers need. It is important to make sure that you are doing your job with a smile and offering a helping hand whenever you can. It is important for businesses to establish repeat customers and you cannot do that without going the extra mile for your customers. Making sure to provide stellar customer service and anticipating the needs of your customers will help boost your revenue and customer loyalty.

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Amy Clark is the Lead Author & Editor of IWantItNow Blog. Amy established the Customer Engagement blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to customer service, support and engagement.
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