Happy to assist

I’ve regularly been hearing “I will be more than happy to assist you” said multiple times on a call to customer service across multiple companies.

The only problem? In many of these instances, they weren’t actually all that helpful. In a couple of instances, I got wrong information. In another couple, they didn’t tell me upfront that they wouldn’t be able to solve my problems. And, all of this took a lot of time.

Here’s an idea – instead of training everyone to say “I will be more than happy to assist you,” why don’t we just build help centers to focus entirely on solving the problem instead? Saying “happy to assist” three times doesn’t make the problem any better. And, my hypothesis is that needing to remember these lines often makes them forget the real issue.

Perhaps a better way to think about training would be to follow functional steps instead of specific phrases. The steps I’d follow would be a mix of questions and actions-
1. Have I understood the customer’s problem? (Repeat it to them if necessary)
2. Can I fix the problem on this call or will they have to go elsewhere? (If so, let them know now with an apology)
3. How long will it take me to fix it? (Let them know)
4. Fix it.
5. Do 1-4 with a smile no matter how irate or annoying the customer is.
6. Give the person sitting next to me a high five for a job well done.

This isn’t just a problem with corporations. It is tempting to fill our silences with customers with meaningless words and empty promises. So much better that we focus on solving problems and earning a well deserved reputation for getting the job done.

2 thoughts on “Happy to assist

  1. Undeniably true! I have even stated to the “customer service” rep that I know you cannot help me so will you please escalate to a person who can. And of course they continue to stay on script instead of actually listening and even making an attempt at helping. 80% of them should be called “Customer Frustration Magnifier” Reps!

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