Passive income comes from money that flows in when you are not actively working. It comes to you through things like automated online product sales, book royalties or rent checks. Did you know there are passive ways to give great customer service? You can gain a wealth of happy customers by putting passive customer care strategies to work for you.

I experienced a great example of passive customer service recently. My coauthor and I were lining up interviews with companies that excel at customer service for our upcoming book. When I called to set up an interview with Steve Ramsey at ISCO Industries, his answering machine picked up the call. When I heard his message, I knew he deserved his great title of “Director of Customer Care.”

Anticipating what his customers might feel when they get a recorded message, he crafted his message to bring relief and reassurance. ”I check my phone messages frequently throughout the day,” he said in his outgoing voice mail recording. I knew Steve was someone who would get back with me soon. Sure enough, ten minutes later, he returned my call.

I was inspired by this skillful action, as even when he isn’t available to answer his telephone personally, he knows that customers appreciate responsiveness. It had me thinking about those automatic response emails we all get from time to time when a colleague is away from the office. They’re most helpful when they inform us of the person’s expected return date and offer another contact person for immediate service.

After my call with Steve, I immediately changed my phone message to include, “. . . I check my phone messages frequently throughout the day . . .” Soon afterward, I played back my messages and was delighted to hear, “Marilyn, I simply love your answering machine message. It feels so good!” Adding a line of reassurance is a subtle difference that shows you’ll be responsive. The stream of good feelings that it generates will help you create happy, loyal customers.

What do you think? What systems will you put in place today to provide emotional reassurance and support when you are not actively working with customers?

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Suttle is the President of Suttle Enterprises a training firm that strengthens relationships with customers, colleagues, coworkers, and even your children. She is coauthor of the soon to be released book, "Who's Your Gladys? How to Turn Even the Most Difficult Customer into Your Biggest Fan. Email her at or visit