Every year Customer Service Solutions custom-designs and delivers customer service training, and when I’m facilitating classes, I find myself saying a certain phrase more and more – “That’s true, but is that helpful?”
Usually we end up discussing this when we talk about how to deal with customer complaints, anxious customers, or the irate customer. Too often, we make these situations worse for the customer and ourselves when we simply make true statements such as “No, you can’t do that” or “That’s against policy” or “I don’t know” or “That’s not my job.” Each of these statements is often true, but it’s also NOT helpful.
If the customer “can’t do that,” what CAN they do? What’s an alternative?
If it’s against policy, then how can a customer achieve their end-goal by doing something within the policy?
If you don’t know, then who does know? How can you ensure a strong handoff to the other employee?
If that’s not your job, then whose responsibility is it?
Great customer service requires far more than being reactive, answering questions, and telling the truth – particularly in situations where you’re saying “No,” facing a complaint, dealing with a misdirected customer, or addressing emotions.
Go beyond the truth to always think of the next step. When customers feel like no options exist, like their idea won’t work, like they can’t be helped, then that’s when the anxiety rolls in; that’s when they feel like they lose control; that’s when anger and upset rise.
The next time you have to provide the response they don’t want, don’t stop the conversation. Lead them to a next step.
Provide more than the truth; be helpful.