When answering a customer support enquiry, when replying a reporter’s email or a fan’s request, when simply sending out a sales offer, anticipating the next move you need to make to help the customer is the secret to your impressive success. You need to be able to predict what their next question will be and reply to it before they actually ask it.
Let’s consider a few examples to better support my statement: anticipating questions is a PR superpower and by extension a business superpower.
A customer asks if he has the option to do a certain something when using your product or service. While you might be tempted to send a quick yes or no reply, stop for a minute and think: his next question to a positive response will be “how?” and to a negative one “what other options do I have?”. Why not take the time to answer the questions you’ve anticipated? It will save your customer save time and he will feel like you can really understand his or her needs.
Someone send an email to your sales team asking about a certain product or service. You might also be offering one or two alternatives to it, maybe one that’s more affordable, or another that’s provides some needed extra features. If based on their requirements you feel the initial product or service of interest might not be what they need, why risk forcing them to realize it on their own? They might send a second email explaining what they need and asking if you have something that suits them, or they might go straight to the competition.
Let’s say a journalists contacts your PR rep asking if it’s possible to interview someone on a certain issue. Why would they want to reply with a simple yes, when they journalist will obviously need to know who they should interview and when they are available?
Doesn’t sound like rocket science, does it? It just takes a bit of information on your customers, their needs, and your own experience dealing with similar issues. Anticipating the next question in media relations, customer care, sales, internal communications translates into going the extra mile. Putting in a little more effort to provide a great solution instead of a simple answer to a question you know will generate more.