Some people are giving customer service a bad name. It’s fair enough that in a large organisation, we all start to form these silos of information where not everything is evident and transparent and some of the deeper knowledge becomes hidden within a team. It’s also the case that people across the organisation do not know which team looks after a specific function, that may also not sit in the team that looks like the best fit for servicing that function.
The issue is when people ask questions and they remain unanswered… or worse, the person asking the question feels scolded for asking the question in the first place.
I will paint you a picture of how a potential stake-holder might ask for help from a team that looks like they may be the correct team for the job. I will use a typical customer walking into a physical store to buy products as the basis for these stories to show you how funny these responses would be in comparison with another environment. Oh by the way, these examples are true.
A potential shopper, walks into a store. He has some things in mind that he wants to buy, but doesn’t know whether this is the right store.
“Get out!” Says the shop keeper, “You should not be contacting us directly”.
“So, who should I contact for information?” The shopper asks meekly.
“I don’t know, call the switch, or put in a remedy”.
When the shopper leaves, the shop keeper turns to his co-worker fuming.
“Can you believe the nerve of that guy, coming in here asking questions?”
In another example, the shopper walked into another store with a question.
“Hi, is this where I can get apples?”
“We have many apples here… we also have oranges and lemons, but you can’t purchase them from here, because we are level three. What you need to do is go down to level one, and they will ask us to then give you the ones you need according to your requirements.”
“Can I ask you some questions about the apples to help me with my requirements.”
“No, we don’t do requirements here, and we’re not authorised to give you any information…”
Mark walks in.
“Hey, is Samantha in? I’ve got a few questions about apples”.
“Sure buddy, just come right in, she’ll be up the back.”
The shop keeper turns to the first shopper.
“It’s really about who you know around here”. He says as he points to his nose.
I hope that these stories were entertaining and a little comical, but the reality is that when you are the shopper, this scenario is very frustrating.
If you are in a customer service position, don’t be scared to say you don’t know. Because that is the truth right? If it’s your job to know then talk to your manager about professional learning for your role, so you know how to do your job properly.