3 Levels of Pause and Ask in Customer Service


Share on LinkedIn

6407802211_a90aabe595_zI thought I bought the correct train ticket from a kiosk. It is for an hour out and that meant waiting around in the east coast August heat at a train station with no A/C. Yeeuuuccckkk! With my previous experience of NJ Transit agents, I’m better off not asking for help. But, desperate times call for desperate measures and I’m willing to give it another shot.

I approach the customer service window and the agent is smiling. He genuinely asks me how my day is and how he can help. I’m already thrown off by this unexpected level of service. I tell him how I purchased my ticket at the kiosk but the train doesn’t come for an hour. Can their possibly be another route I can take that will be sooner than later?

He asks for the ticket and I slide it through the window slot. He shakes his head and looks down, then says:

I wish you would have bought the ticket from me because I could just exchange it. I can’t exchange these darn tickets. But hold on, we need to get you where you are going. Let me see what I can do.

He steps up from his seat and asks a supervisor sitting at the booth next to him if he can exchange the ticket, even though it’s from the kiosk. It took less than 30 seconds and he’s already back at the window with me, saying that he CAN exchange it and that I just owe 75 cents, which is the difference for the quicker route.

He then tells me exactly where I need to go, including details about track 1 being further down and having to enter down track 2 to get there. He includes a map for my three train transit journey and circles exactly what I need to be aware of. I thank him about 10 times and run over to my train.

While on the train, I begin to think back to Jeremy’s most recent post, Perfecting The Customer Service Pause and Ask and realize that in this industry, there will always be pause and ask opportunities. However, there are three different levels of this:

3 Levels of Pause and Ask in Customer Service

1. The “No Hesitation” Pause and Ask

In this scenario, the agent is empowered to make decisions for the customer. They may pause to brainstorm the proper route to take, but there is absolutely no hesitation and the resolution is swift.

2.  The “Let Me Ask My Supervisor” Pause and Ask

It may be a new situation or one that goes completely against policy. But, the customer service representative still asks for approval or other options that may be available.

3. The “Put Up a Fight” Pause and Ask

The representative may not feel empowered to make decisions or may not want to take the extra time to ask for approval. Either way, they’ll fight with their customer for quite a while before pausing then asking. They may see this as “giving in” and try to avoid “losing” to their customer.

I urge you watch, the next time you are out and about, as a customer somewhere in the world, what kind of “pause and ask” do you see happening?

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jenny Dempsey
Jenny is Consumer Experience Manager for Apeel Sciences and FruitStand with more than 15 years of customer service experience. She is co-founder and a regular contributor on CustomerServiceLife.com.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here