Avoid the Aggravation; Confirm the Key Point – 3/14/23

In this age of instant information and auto-completion of texts or e-mails, we are quick to get one thing done and move on to the next thing.  Technology often helps us to complete our work more quickly.  Yes, there’s even AI technology that’s starting to wreak havoc on the internet because it does work for people.

But with speed and automation come basic risks.  The risks I’m referring to are those in-the-moment risks when you’re engaged with the customer – the risk that we’re going so quickly that we don’t get the right information. Therefore, we take a wrong step.  Therefore, there’s unnecessary work done.  Therefore, there are delays or rework or frustration.

It helps to confirm key points to avoid unnecessary aggravation.  Check out these 3 true scenarios:

Scenario #1 – The Wrong Number: During a call, the customer gave a phone number for the employee to contact.  The employee thanked the customer but did not confirm they heard the phone number correctly.  The employee called the line and didn’t get a hold of anyone.  It turns out that the employee wrote down the wrong number.  They didn’t call the customer back; they just assumed nobody was available at the number given.  There was a delay and frustration, all because the employee didn’t confirm what she heard.

Scenario #2 – The Self-imposed Deadline: The employee was very conscientious.  He wanted to get things done as quickly as possible.  He got the request from the customer and thought he could get it done by the next day.  So, he put other things on hold and rushed to make this customer request a priority.  Little did the employee know that the customer didn’t need the request addressed for a week.  The employee self-imposed a deadline because he didn’t ask the customer.  The employee put other projects on hold and worked late unnecessarily.

Scenario #3 – Paying for What?: The employee asked the customer for a payment in advance of recurring monthly services.  The customer wrote the check, and one month later the customer received an invoice for service provided.  The customer wondered why they were being billed if they paid up front.  After calling the business, the employee noted that the upfront payment was a security deposit, and the customer would be billed for the services received immediately thereafter.  The customer was not happy that they thought they were paying for services in advance, but instead they were just giving a deposit that they might not get back for months or years.

Sometimes the employee and the customer can avoid the aggravation if the employee is patient enough to confirm their understanding or to confirm that the customer understands.  Information given is sometimes assumed to be received correctly.  But that’s an assumption that can cause downstream issues.

Avoid the aggravation. Confirm the key point.

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Posted on in Customer Service Tip of the Week

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