You’ve probably heard this statement growing up. Your parents said, “Don’t assume, because it makes…you look bad.” Or something like that…
Recently my laptop screen died, and since it was an older laptop, I decided to go ahead and buy a new one instead of paying to have the screen replaced. Along with selling the new computer to me, the store did a data transfer from the old computer to the new computer over a weekend.
They assumed I didn’t want to check it in the store before I left, but I did. They assumed all the files were transferred from the older computer, but they weren’t. They assumed that my e-mail was setup through Exchange, but it wasn’t.
They made several other assumptions that led to mutual frustration and a negative end to what had (up to that point) been a positive experience. In this encounter, the employee was going down a path for me, and at each fork in the road she made an assumption (several times the wrong assumption), and she then had to backtrack.
Recently, CSS conducted mystery shops for a client, and this client was more concerned with asking questions than making assumptions.
They asked the shopper if we were a new business, and we were not new. They asked if we knew the URL to register for a particular beverage license, and we did not know. They asked whether we’d like to know the different ways we could submit the additional documentation needed, and we did want to know the options.
In this encounter, the employee was going down a path, and at each fork in the road, she asked the shopper a question to determine which direction to go next.
To provide a better customer experience, let the customer determine what to do at the fork in the road.
Don’t assume. Instead, ask.