“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.”