I recently called a friend and colleague to ask a question about a mutual client company. She wasn’t available, so I asked her assistant to pass along my question and ask her to call me when she got a chance. When she returned my call later that evening (and missed me), she left a message saying, “Sorry I missed your call. I understand you have a question about [the company]. Give me a call and let me know how I can help.”
Apparently, her assistant had given her the message that I had called, as well as my phone number and the fact that I had a question, but not the actual question. Why not? If she had done so, my friend could have called me back AND left me a very easy and quick answer. Instead, the assistant had passed along only the most basic message, resulting in further telephone tag, lost time and energy to try to connect.
Proactive thinking and following “The 1-2-3’s of Doing More Than Appease,” could have created a WOW for all of us here, as follows:
- What can I do now? This first step, the basic minimum, was done: she took the message and correctly passed along my name, phone number and the nature of the call (I had a question)… but nothing more.
- What else can I do now? To do this step, the assistant would have included my actual question in the message, allowing her boss to call me and answer the question at the same time, saving time and frustration for both of us.
- What else can I do later – or for later? To really create a WOW, she could have asked her boss the question when they next spoke, gotten the answer and then called me back herself – making my wait time much shorter, and sparing her boss the necessity of making the call herself.
How valuable would this type of thinking be to Client Managers, Sales Managers and executives who deal directly with customers if their assistants helped create a WOW with customers, stockholders or other partners by performing this type of proactive action? How much time might we save ourselves and others if we begin to think more proactively about how we can do so, with very little time and effort expended on our part?
Proactive thinking and action on behalf of another is truly where WOW’s are created. Polish your critical thinking and proactive thinking skills – think it through, play it out in your mind. Ask yourself, “How can I make this easier, quicker, better for everyone involved?”
Practice this principle on a consistent basis… and watch the WOW’s roll in!
Do you have a great short story about how proactive thinking helped create a WOW? Please share it!