TIP 25: Say to Your Customers, “I Don’t Know” or Just Make-Up Something.

It’s just easier this way.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned with Long Nose

“If someone asks me a question and I don’t know the answer, I’m perfectly willing to say, ‘I don’t know.’ I’m just being honest! (Although, sometimes, I guess at the answer so they don’t think I’m dumb — or I take the product from the customer and read the label.) If she keeps pushing for an answer, I say, ‘That’s not my job.’ Oh sure, I could probably hunt up the manager and ask her, but she’d probably be annoyed if I did. And my co-workers are all in the break-room texting one another. If the customer doesn’t like it, she can always go somewhere else.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“If you hear the same complaints, frustrations and inconveniences again and again, make a list of them. Then, create solutions for each one. You and your teammates can probably come up with some amazing solutions.

People are delighted when we spontaneously solve their problems. When customer service reps solve a problem on the spot, instead of passing it on to someone else and making the customer wait, that customer’s satisfaction increases significantly.

According to the Technical Assistance Research Project of the White House Council on Consumer Affairs, between 54% and 70% of unhappy customers will do business with you again if their complaints are handled properly. That figure jumps to an amazing 95% if their complaint is handled properly and quickly.

If it’s not illegal, immoral, or unethical, comply with the request—or find someone who can. If you truly do not know the answer, or what to do, tell the customer you’ll find someone who can help them, but ‘bridge’ the transfer. Make sure the customer’s new rep is fully aware of the situation and is willing to help the customer immediately.”

A Real World Example

Janis Badarau’s Story

(Owner & Designer, www.CrafTeaDesigns.com)

“I discovered recently a company called PetFlow, where you can sign up to receive regular shipments of pet food. We have a houseful of critters so I wanted to give it a try. The first shipment arrived fine, but the second shipment included four cans that were so badly dented I couldn’t open them. The brand we buy comes in 12-oz., solid-top (not flip-top) cans that can’t be opened from the bottom.

I contacted PetFlow and told them about the problem. They were very cordial and apologetic, and advised me that they had just sent me a replacement case (12 cans). They also asked me to send them a photo of the damaged cans so they could trace the source. I did, and even double-checked the shipping carton for signs of damage because they were so nice. They wrote back, again being very cordial and apologetic, and thanked me profusely for helping them to figure out where the damaged cans came from.

I told them that I would have been happy with a credit or with four extra cans in my next order, but they said that sending a replacement case immediately was the least they could do for all my trouble! They definitely have my business.”

Moral to the story: Solving problems for customers causes them to bark your praises from the “woof” top!

Strategies to Turn This Around

Make it your business to find a solution  – quickly.

  1. If you don’t know the answer, let your customer know. But, make sure the issue is resolved.
  2. Or, go get someone who does know the answer.
  3. Perform steps one and two with friendliness, caring and speed.


Remember: People are delighted when you solve their problems spontaneously and quickly.

“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.” 

— John W. Holt, Jr.

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

4 Responses to “TIP 25: Say to Your Customers, “I Don’t Know” or Just Make-Up Something.”

  1. 1 http://www.filmmetro.com/ January 26, 2013 at 1:12 am

    I really like it when folks come together and share thoughts.
    Great website, stick with it!

  2. 3 xerox 8560dn printer May 8, 2013 at 11:41 am

    I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with
    the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme
    or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a great blog like this one nowadays.

    • 4 bnkhozam May 8, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Hi Emmett, thanks for your positive comment. The theme is something my web lady set up for me. I think she took one of the standard themes then modified it. I hope that helps.

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