Customer Service: What Not to Do When You Don’t Know


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Bad Answer is Bad Service - Low ResCommon Sense

Recently I had a question about my international calling plan for my mobile phone. I was preparing for several overseas trips. My assistant was tasked with finding the best plan our carrier had to offer. One might think this would be an easy project; just get the information and sign up for the program. But, one might be wrong.

Without boring you with the details, my assistant came back with information that didn’t seem to make sense. She was told when my monthly bill renewed, my international plan would start over because the plan ended in the middle of my trip. In other words, even though I was only gone for a week, we would be charged for two months of the international calling plan. I asked her to call back for clarification.

So she called back and was given a completely different answer. Something about a pro-rated plan through the end of the first billing cycle. While it made more sense, it still didn’t seem right.

Well, it seems the third time was a charm. When she called back she was connected to a knowledgeable customer service support person who told her what to do, and it made complete sense.

My assistant asked, “So, who should we believe?”

I said, “The person who gave us the best answer.” In other words, the one that we liked the most, regardless of it being right or wrong.

Here’s the problem. We really don’t know which answer was the correct answer. Each of the three customer service reps acted with confidence, as if they had the correct answer. But, at least two, if not all three are incorrect. We’ll find out when we receive our monthly bill.

People inherently don’t want to show ignorance, and they will sometimes give an answer that seems like common sense, even if the answer is wrong. Even with the best intentions, this is bad customer service.

So, what’s a good customer service rep to do? People will always appreciate an honest response, even if you have to say, “That’s a great question. I want to give you the correct answer, and I have to check with someone. Can you hold or can I call you back?” And then you do.

By the way, this applies to everyone. You don’t have to be in the customer service department. Your colleagues, customers, suppliers – everyone – will appreciate that whatever answer you give them is the correct answer.

Don’t make assumptions, even if it seems like common sense. If you don’t know, don’t guess. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to every question. Just know where to go, or who to go to, to get the correct answer. Now, that’s common sense!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Shep Hyken
Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations. As a customer service speaker and expert, Shep works with companies who want to build loyal relationships with their customers and employees. He is a hall of fame speaker (National Speakers Association) and a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author.


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