I’ve noticed a lot of discussion lately around proactive support. A host of technologies (analytics, alerts, mobile, etc.) are creating new ways for companies to better help customers with their problems. But the discussions often talk about “proactive support” as if it’s one thing.
Proactivity is not a single attribute; it’s actually on a spectrum. To make that clear, I’ve identified six different levels of proactive support.
Here’s an example of different levels of support, from the least to the most proactive, for a customer who’s flight was cancelled:
- Ignore: Customer gets to airport and finds that flight is canceled and can’t seem to find anyone who can help.
- React: At airport, someone successfully helps her get a new flight; consistent with Temkin Group’s C.A.R.E.S. model.
- Alert: Airline sends message to customer letting her know right away when the flight is cancelled; so she can make plans before going to airport.
- Self-heal: Airline sends message to customer letting her know right away when the flight is cancelled; and provides simple options for her to quickly find an alternative itinerary.
- Pre-empt: Airline sends message to customer letting her know right away when the flight is cancelled; and rebooks her on a couple of flights that make sense given her itinerary and her travel profile. If it requires an unexpected overnight stay, the airline also books a hotel room.
- Avoid: Airline finds way not to keep from canceling the flight.
Leading-edge companies should be aiming for the top three: avoid, pre-empt, and self-heal.
The bottom line: Simple proactive support is not good enough