The Modern Customer Service Culture Series – Who knows better?

One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to customer service is when the adviser has Untitled design (7)that ‘rolling eyes’ type of expectation that the customer should know better.

Quite simply this is not the case. Let us assume that I have just bought a laptop. Does that mean I am suddenly a Microsoft qualified engineer? I think not. Or let’s assume (with strong likelihood) that I occasionally buy a bottle of wine. Does this mean I understand the ins and outs of how it’s made? Not on your nelly.

When things don’t go to plan for a customer whether it be through a fault, disappointment in a service or a query they will contact you. When they do this should be encouraged and they should be greeted by a person that understands the product or service as well as the company policies and procedures. Whether this is face to face or at the end of a call/email, in fact now it could even be through live chat.

You should be able to discuss your customers concerns, never assume that they know the ins and outs of your business. It’s your business, not theirs.

It is NOT your customers’ responsibility to know everything, it is yours. Being a top notch customer service team does not rely on giving every customer what they want. It is about being in a position to pro-actively and compassionately support and educate your customer.

Many of the most unnecessary complaints I have managed in my career are those that refer to customers feeling like they were given a condescending script in response to a query.

The feedback in instances such as these is often along the lines of “I just didn’t know that ‘such and such’ was the case. I didn’t feel like it had been clear enough before I bought it but when ‘so and so’ said that to me, the way he said it made me feel like an idiot”

Now, let’s face it there are often times when you feel frustrated with a particular customer for whatever reason, we all experience that feeling from time to time whether you’re a brilliant customer service exec or not. The difference between the two is the ability to shelve that frustration for the duration of your communications.

Assume then that every customer you speak to only knows they purchased. Ask them to explain the issue to you (then let them speak) and then reiterate it to them. Right now you are no further forward in a resolution but you are building trust and you are also better able to assess the scale of the issue.

If you have a resolution that’s great – offer it. Even if it’s something they could have dealt with themselves or you believe that they should know better. Don’t say something like:

“Mr Smith, if you’d just looked on our website you’d have seen that this is on our trouble shooting page, I’ll go through it with you this time but you really should check there first, it does say that on the receipt” Even reading that in my head the tone of voice it conjures is poor.

It’s a negative response and screams ‘I can’t be bothered’ or ‘I’ve no idea how to do this myself’ It also assumes that the customer hasn’t already tried this or that they have the access or ability to do this. By all means you can raise this with the customer but you can do it in a non-threatening, non-assumptive and positively supportive way.

I’d recommend something more like “I see what the issue may be and I would love to help you with that right now if that’s ok? I’m going to do x, y and z and that should resolve the problem, do let me know if that’s not the case. Oh, Mr Smith, I know how busy you are so thought I’d mention that we have a great trouble shooting guide on our website that’s available 24 hours a day, I wasn’t sure that you were aware but a lot of customers have mentioned it’s been helpful to them. Would you like me to email you the link in case you want to check it out?”

Same resolution, different customer experience.

Be the great kind of customer service team.

The less you can be bothered the less positive your interactions with your customers will be.


Thanks for reading,

A x




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