By Nancy Friedman, Telephone Doctor
There are many, many ways to sabotage your business. And, chances are, your staff is doing some of these now on the phone and in person. And worse yet, you’ve probably even heard some of this yourself (ouch!). That’s the bad news
The good news is we’re able to bring to you the top five sabotage practices and then show you how to neutralize the effects. So get ready. You and your staff are about to be in a much better position to handle the Five Simple Ways to Sabotage Your Business today:
1. I Have No Idea
This is normally used as an excuse more than anything else. It’s a sure sign that the employee has not been shown how to explain something to the customer. This phrase is used as something to say when the employee doesn’t know what to say.
When the customer hears “I have no idea” they immediately respond (usually silently) with, “you gotta be kidding me?” Interestingly enough, there normally is a certain blank stare accompanying this statement. Sad.
2. It’s Not My Department
Well, then whose is it? Let’s remember one of our Telephone Doctor mottos: Tell the customer what you do, not what you DON’T do. If you get a call and someone asks for something that you don’t handle, it’s far more effective to say, “I work in the paint department. Let me get you to someone in the area you need.”
This is far more effective than telling someone it’s not your department. And please don’t say, “YOU have the wrong department.” Take full responsibility with the “I” statement.
3. I Wasn’t Here That Day (or I was on vacation when that happened)
This one really makes me laugh. Does that excuse the company? I don’t remember asking them if they were there that day. Do you really think the customer cares if you weren’t there when their problem happened? Honestly, they don’t, so that’s not even an issue to discuss. Just tackle the problem head on. Apologize without telling them where you were…or weren’t. Remember, you ARE the company whether you were at work or on vacation when the issue occurred.
4. I’m New
SO? Okay, you’re new. Now what? Does being ‘new’ allow you to be anything but super to the customer? When the customer hears this sabotaging statement, do you really think they say, “Oh, so you’re new? So that’s why I’m getting bad service? Well, then that’s okay…you’re new. Now I understand.”
Yes, even if you are new, the customer honestly believes you should know everything about your job.
Here’s the Telephone Doctor answer on this one. Tell the customer, “Please bear with me, I’ve only been here a few weeks.” That will buy you time. And a bit of sympathy. For whatever reason, hearing the short length of time you are with the company means more to the customer than, “I’m new.” Again, I’m new is more of an “excuse.” Remember to state the length of time. It’s a creditability enhancement. “I’m new” is a creditability buster.
5. Silence on the Phone or a Blank Stare in Person
I called the doctor’s office the other day and asked to change my appointment. It went down like this:
“Hi, this is Nancy Friedman. I have a 9 a.m. appointment with Dr. Ring and I need to move it to later in the day.”
Then NOTHING for about 10 – 15 seconds. Zip/nada/zilch.
So I said, “Hello? Are you there?”
A very irritated voice came back with, “I’m checking.”
Wouldn’t it have been nice for her to tell me that? Ah, if the doctors only knew.
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Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a keynote speaker at association conferences, franchise and corporate meetings. She is the author of eight best selling books. Call Nancy at 314‑291‑1012 for more information or visit her on line at www.nancyfriedman.com.