(no internet so no pics and formatting today – see below for a complete understanding :o)
This afternoon my office was Starbucks! Woo Hoo! Thank goodness for the invention of “internet cafes”. Turns out our internet provider misunderstood their internal order/directions and cancelled both the internet we did request be cancelled and the active internet we were assured would not be affected during this process. Walter and I spent the better part of this morning chatting with technical support and customer service. What I found most interesting is the first person – who confirmed we indeed had no active internet (LOL) and opened a ticket with their “provisioning department” – did not give us the full information. It took a newby service technician, who admitted to still learning the ropes, to get the detail and provide us with the clear picture of what was going on.
While observing how each of the technicians dealt with the situation I noticed some interesting things. Firstly – after introducing themselves (good) they both asked how they could be of service to us today (very good).
After we explained our situation and the challenge we were having, both of their first response was “I apologize for _ (fill in the blank)____”. I’ve noticed this with a number of customer service teams lately. Why do customer service personnel apologize for something they did not do? It makes as much sense to me as my mechanic saying “I apologize for your car breaking down.” Is the mechanic at fault?
When I used to train customer service staff I suggested they only apologize if they did something. Apologizing in any other situation has you personally taking responsibility for something you did not do AND now allows the person at the other end to (consciously or subconsciously) perceive you as being at fault – even if they know you did not do it. Definitely NOT a win / win for anyone on the call.
Alternately: Recognize the person’s situation; Repeat it back to them in your own words so they know you understood; Then verbally empathize – in whatever way is appropriate – that you will do your best to work with the customer until resolution.
Another aspect I observed was the first technician did not share the straight details – even when asked specific questions – they avoided and gave responses which did not give any definite answer or resolution but opened the door for further concern. Hence why we called a second time.
The second technician had less knowledge and less experience (and admitted it) but was honest and sincere in his verbiage. He assured us he would do his best even though he did not know the answer. When we acknowledged he was doing his best and we also totally understood he may not have the ability or the authority to ascertain the answers we were looking for – suggesting he reach out to his supervisor – he took the suggestion and ensured this was brought to his supervisor’s attention. This technique can be found in “Winning Without Intimidation” – Bob Burg.
Personally I always prefer to have someone admit they don’t know and then find out – then to have someone dance around the issue and not give any answer at all.
Our second technician did a great job and even called us (as he promised) before the end of his work day, to update us on the status of our situation. Now this is GREAT customer service. We still don’t have internet but I have had the opportunity to witness what works and what does not. I will embrace patience and look forward to resolution!