Maggie was irate. The gift she ordered needed to be received by the 20th of the month so she could give it to her cousin for his birthday. It was the 19th, and Maggie couldn’t find any shipping update online, so she called the company. The employee said “Oh! That item was backordered. The problem is that you ordered it online. If you would have placed your order over the phone, we would have been able to tell you that the color you selected wasn’t available.” While that response may have been technically correct, it made for a poor experience.
The small business owner was talking with a customer service representative at his internet service provider, and the customer told the employee that he had a question about his account. There was silence…for 1 minute…for 2 minutes….“Are you still there?” asked the customer. “Oh yes,” responded the representative. “It’s just taking a while to get into the system; it’s really slow today.” What the representative stated was technically correct, but the unexpected silence made it a poor experience.
The Robinson family had just been seated at the restaurant, and they began to look over their menus. As they were chatting, someone said “What would you like to drink?” A server had walked up, those were the first words out of his mouth, and the tone was flat as a pancake, but it was a question he needed to ask. He could have greeted the family, apologized for interrupting, stated his name, smiled, and spoken with an upbeat voice. What he did was technically correct (he asked the question he was supposed to ask), but it was a poor experience.
We can ask questions of the customer, share our knowledge with the customer, and provide facts to the customer. But sometimes the right answer or the accurate facts are delivered in the wrong way – leading to a bad experience despite the good information.
When the answer is right, make sure that the service is right, too.