Twitter, Instagram, Facebook – yak, yak, yak. In the social media world, there’s an awful lot of talk that goes on and a lot of opinions shared. But sometimes those opinions are not based on any level of deep knowledge. Sometimes they are based on assumptions.
In the world of customer service, basing actions on assumptions is a risk we shouldn’t take, and it’s a risk we do not need to take either. Taking action is work. Taking action also requires a customer’s time and almost always has some kind of an impact on the customer. So before we take an action, let’s make sure we know what we need to know.
When responding to a customer need, briefly in your mind run through a mental checklist. Run through the 5 W’s: Do you know the Who, What, When, Where, and Why? If not, these are questions you can ask the customer to give you the information you need before you take action:
- Who – The name of the person with the need or those involved in the request.
- Can I get your name, please?
- Who needs this service?
- Can I get the name of the person needing this item?
- To whom am I speaking?
- What – A description of what they want done.
- Which service do you need?
- What would you like done?
- Which item are we discussing?
- When – A common understanding of timeframe – when it’s needed.
- By when do you need this done?
- When do you need to receive this item?
- What date are you considering?
- Where – The location where something needs to take place.
- Where does this need to be held?
- Where are you located?
- To where does this need to be delivered?
- Why – An understanding of the other person’s goal.
- What are you hoping to accomplish?
- What’s your ultimate goal?
- Can you help me understand the result you’re looking to achieve?
Before you take action for the customer, first know what you don’t know. Then get to know what you need to know to address the need right the first time.