This is a famous Henry Ford quote, and the quote is all about self-belief, all about confidence.
We’ve often spoken about the need to be confident and how to gain confidence, because that confidence – or the lack thereof – is imparted on the customer.
But how does a customer tell if you’re confident? And why is that important?
As a customer, I’ve been in a situation far too many times when I’m seeking guidance or input. I’m trying to understand the process or I’m trying to understand a deadline. If I know the process and the deadline, if I know how they’re going to get to the answer or how they’re going to fix this product issue, my expectations get set. I have a game plan. And where there is no game plan, often there is anxiety or worry.
You don’t want your customers feeling anxiety or worry. And if that anxiety or worry comes from you, then it is attached to your company, and the perception of you and the company is lessened.
As a customer, when I sense that lack of confidence, I’m sensing it because there are long unexplained pauses before answers. Because there’s a lot of “I don’t know” without a lot of “I’ll find out.” Because they never say that they can answer that for me or help me with that. Because I’m put on hold without being told why or am transferred without being told to whom. Because the voice wavers and there’s a lot of “ummm” and “hmmm.”
So much of that perceived lack of confidence comes from things employees do that they should simply eliminate.
Eliminate the long pauses – keep the conversation going. Don’t say “I don’t know” unless you follow that up with “I’ll find out.” If you want to help, don’t avoid saying that you want to or you can help. Don’t put people on hold or transfer them without letting them know to whom and why. Don’t provide the unnecessary “ummm” and “hmmm.”
Sometimes saying less conveys more confidence.
Convey your self-belief – your confidence – to your customer.