I was reading an interesting article by psychologist Dr. Jeremy Dean on PsyBlog (The Simple Mindset That Makes Everyone Happier, All Around The World) recently. The article, drawing on academic research done by Fleeson et al., 2002 and Ching et al., 2014, suggests that:
“Acting like an extrovert — even if you are an introvert — makes people all around the world feel happier.”
It goes on to say that, even across cultures, there are real advantages and benefits to acting in an extrovert manner. Now, this doesn’t mean that we should expect to seeing people jumping around, whooping and high-fiving everyone they see to get their boost of happiness. Not at all. In fact, the article suggests that acting like an extrovert could be as simple as:
“smiling at a stranger or calling an old friend and feeling the difference.”
Reading the article made me wonder if there was an organisational dimension to this and whether this could be applied to the subject of proactive customer service, something I’ve written about here before.
For example, could employee happiness be given a boost if firms anticipated their customers’ needs and planned outreach strategies, i.e. proactively contacting their customers by picking up the phone, say, to check that everything was OK with their purchase or planned trip or to find out if there was anything that they needed help with?
We know that customers value this type of service, as proven by the research conducted by inContact last year. Their research examined how customers reacted when contacted ‘proactively’ by companies and they found that:
- 87% said they wanted to be contacted proactively by a businesses they have dealt with; and
- 73% of those who had been contacted proactively and had a good experience said that their perception of the business calling them had improved.
But, the benefits are not limited to improvements in customer relationships. Aspect, a leading fully integrated contact center management software provider, in a recent whitepaper, articulates four reasons why a proactive customer service strategy makes good and complete business sense:
- Customers respond with greater loyalty and long term value;
- Customer retention costs lower;
- Contact centre efficiency improves and reduces call volumes; and
- Customer support representative satisfaction and retention increases, whilst turnover costs decrease.
So, why don’t more organisations adopt this type of strategy and why are many still stuck in reactive customer service mode?
Is it that some businesses struggle with anticipating their customers’ needs? Is it that the culture of the organisation is introvert?
Regardless of the challenges, we know that customers want and value anticipatory or proactive customer service. We also know that helping your employees to be more extrovert can help them be happier.
In light of this new research, doesn’t it add more evidence to the case for a proactive customer service strategy? One that helps employees be more extrovert and helps them get a happiness boost. But also one that, in turn, makes the business’s customers happier, more valuable and more loyal too.
Sounds like a real win-win.
Why wouldn’t you do it? Too shy?
This post was originally published on my Forbes.com column here.