Are you a brush off?

Photo courtesy of Geoff Ward (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Geoff Ward (Creative Commons)

“Sorry, I don’t know.” “That’s not my job.” “I don’t know anything about that.”

It’s easy to get the runaround. People are busy and they don’t want to be bothered. No one is communicating, so only a few people know the details and they aren’t available – and they didn’t leave word. People seem eager to just brush off a question and make no effort to help find an answer.

But what a surprise it would be if you said, “I’m sorry I don’t know anything about that, but let’s see if we can figure something out.”

In a world where many seem too quick to place blame, shift responsibility and let someone else take care of it, people seem to appreciate when you take the extra effort to find a solution.

When I go into a store, I will walk out empty handed if I ask a question, and get shifted off to this person or that person and told over and over, “I don’t know.” I will be a loyal customer of that salesperson who admits they don’t know but searches out the right person to get my answer.

Ever call a customer service line and sit on hold forever only to be told that the person you are finally talking to has no idea about what you need? Yeah, me too. That situation is enough to make me change service providers. But when I call and get someone who says, let’s find the right answer for you – and they stay on the line until my problem is solved, then they just gained a loyal customer who will share with others how great the service is.

Even in the office it only takes a little effort to keep people from being frustrated. Whether it’s changing the toner in the copier or getting an answer to where a phone call should be directed, all it takes is a few minutes of digging, and a willingness to be accountable to the person struggling to find the solution. Then once you find the answer, find a way to post or communicate that so if it happens again, there’s no question.

Next time you feel tempted to tell someone, “sorry I don’t know,” add on those few little words that might make all the difference in that person’s day – “but let’s see if we can figure it out.”

2 thoughts on “Are you a brush off?

  1. What continues to surprise me is how little people know when we live in the “information age”. I despise being sent to a website by someone who supposed to know a product or be a service representative. If I call, it is because I don’t have access to a computer, because I want a more immediate answer without digging through FAQ pages, or because I couldn’t find the answer. DO NOT tell me to go to your flippin’ website, especially if I am on hold and being forced to listen to a robot. And I’m with you on leaving stores empty-handed!

    Just reread this – I don’t mean small people, I mean little amounts of information. 😎

    • Wow – this really hit a nerve with you, didn’t it Jana? I totally agree – if I’m calling you, it’s likely because I did not get my answer online – so don’t send me back there! Thanks for stopping by.

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