We Want Knowledge

One of the worst things you can do in terms of customer service is keep secrets, or simply fail to share knowledge.

Sometimes just answering the question “why?” will give you an order of magnitude better customer service.

A couple of examples:

What’s the worst response from a doctor when a loved one is undergoing surgery or extensive diagnosis? “We don’t know.” “I can’t tell you.”

I think it’s even important to realize that “Get out of the way/room/whatever and let us do our job.” is, among other things, a way of hiding information. I’m not saying it’s improper, but I am saying it prevents someone from seeing what’s going on. It explicitly prevents knowledge.

Sometimes simply understanding why something is happening, or how things are going, in terms that are easily understood, is enough to, if not placate, at least reduce the tension in the room.

Less life threatening, I was in a retail outlet for my mobile phone provider earlier today. While I was waiting for various things related to my visit, I watched as another customer spent no less than half an hour, perhaps more, simply trying to get the sales reps to explain a charge to her.

Put another way, she was willing to invest over half an hour of her precious time, simply trying to understand the “why” of something. I have no idea if a sufficient explanation was ever discovered (I wasn’t listening that closely), and whether doing so changed her bill in anyway. But I can totally understand that with an understandable answer to her question – why? – it was entirely possible that she left entirely satisfied with an unchanged bill.

“Why” is powerful. Knowledge is powerful.

It’s a wonder that so many people and organizations hide so much of it, when instead they could be using it to their own benefit.