Be careful what you ask for

Most of the interactions are happening on the Internet because of the pandemic. Supporting your customers properly is even more important. We don’t have the luxury of interacting in the same space. We should strive to minimize the back and forth.

When a customer reports a problem, you want to be aware of what you are asking them to do for you.

Here’s a story from my own experience:

My kid’s school kept sending updates to my personal email address about upcoming e-classes. One day I stopped receiving them. We learned by accident there was an upcoming e-class we hadn’t been notified for.

I contacted them to ask why they had not notified me. They said they decided to start sending those updates to a different email address on file. It was my spouse’s email address. We checked and we couldn’t find a notification. Clearly they messed up the communication.

I got a call from the school a few days later. They apologized and asked which email address I prefer to receive notifications at. I asked them to use my personal email address. I started spelling it to them, and they interrupted me asking me to email it to them instead. The justification was that spelling it on the phone might lead to a mistake.

Here are a few notes on the whole interaction so far:

  • They had the correct email address for ages. Not sure why they messed up in the first place. But things can go wrong, let’s not dwell on that.
  • They called me, which gives them one point for sure.
  • Instead of finding my personal email address from their records or listening to me spelling it on the phone, they asked me to email it to them. That removed one point.

They chose to not take the extra step and made me responsible for fixing their mistakes.

The example above is very simplistic of course. And the consequences of missing an e-class are not too grave. But excellence comes from paying attention to the details.

Imagine having more critical customer interactions. Imagine having a frustrated customer. Or a customer who can’t do their job because your service or product is blocking them.

Think before asking them to do something for you. They may be in panic mode and cannot think clearly. You can surprise and delight them by taking the extra step to do something for them. You should always be in a “don’t worry, leave it to me” mood.

Main points

  • Don’t ask your customer for information you can find out yourself
  • Be in a “don’t worry, leave it to me” mood

HeavyMelon is building Supportress. A simple and fast customer support tool at an unbeatable price. It helps you stay calm and productive. Subscribe to this blog, subscribe to our monthly HeavyMelon Newsletter, or ask us to add you to the private beta.

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Petros Amiridis View All →

Petros is a software writer since 1998, when he graduated from CITY College with a degree in Computer Science. He took a small break to work at GitHub Support for 9 years as a support engineer and a people manager. He quit GitHub to found HeavyMelon, a calm fully remote company. You can check what he is doing and where you can find him online now.

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