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Newsletter #938: The “Anticipate It” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Customer service isn’t just about fixing problems after they happen — it’s also about proactively making sure your customers are happy. Sometimes, that means anticipating what could go wrong, preparing to surprise and delight, or showing you understand even the smallest part of their experience.

Here are three ways to give your customers a great reason to talk about you:

1. When they’ll be delayed
2. When they’re going to forget
3. When they’re celebrating
4. Check it out: Tip of My Tongue

1. When they’ll be delayed

When one Southwest Airlines customer saw a forecast for a blizzard the day of his flight, he looked up his flight number with Southwest and a warning box for the storm appeared. Because the flight would most likely be cancelled or delayed, they offered to let him change his flight ahead of time at no extra charge. Southwest could have let him come to the airport, wait to hear that his flight was cancelled, and battle the crowds to book a different one. Instead, they anticipated their customers’ needs and made sure they had a better experience lined up for him.

The lesson: If you know you can’t offer your customer the best, anticipate ways you can make it better.

2. When they’re going to forget

Forgetting where you parked your car is even more inconvenient when you’ve left it in a huge parking garage. But if you visit the Frost Bank Tower in Austin, you’ll be sure to remember where you parked. Next to the button of each elevator in their garage, Frost Bank places business cards with their address and the floor you’re on. That’s not only a great way to show your visitors you care, it also lets them know you understand their experience.

The lesson: How can you proactively make things more convenient for your customer?

3. When they’re celebrating

Disney Parks are known for going out of their way to show people a good time. And they earn a lot of word of mouth from their stellar customer service. One way they do it is by asking what you’re celebrating when you book your tickets. When you arrive, not only is your occasion in a database every time you check-in somewhere, they’ll also give you a pin to wear that signifies to any employee in the park your personal celebration.

The lesson: By asking what you’re celebrating, Disney Parks can anticipate ways to surprise and delight in more personal (and buzzworthy) ways.

4. Check it out: Tip of My Tongue

It’s always frustrating when you can’t think of the word you want to say. But if you can remember little details like what letter it starts with, the meaning of the word, or what it sounds like, this search engine developed by Chirag Mehta may be able to help.

Check it out: Chir.ag

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