Impromptu Customer Service

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What is the correct line to take when you find yourself thrown into a situation where you have to offer customer service but you don’t normally? This article is designed to give some pointers for how to handle this sort of situation.

It can happen in any business, very rarely will you find a business that can operate without the one department being customer facing and companies cannot operate at all if all of their departments are not willing to work together when they need to. The absolute first golden rule of any company has to be, answer the phone. It doesn’t matter whether it’s your phone or your department even, if there is an unmanned phone ringing it needs answering.

This is largely because there is a customer or supplier on the other end of that phone and if you don’t answer it and speak with that person they will most likely take a bad impression from the company, which is of course bad for you. Unmanned phones ringing is also the time you are most likely to be thrust into a situation wherein you are offering customer service without being prepared.

How do you handle this situation then? Basically you have to buy time and keep the customer informed, in a nutshell. It is absolutely imperative that you don’t give away anything that would give the company a bad name or at least would perhaps not fill the customer with confidence. Many companies are much smaller than they appear but small companies do not instil confidence in their customers because they are not able to support a large staff and so on. Therefore, if you have answered the phone because you are covering, keep covering! They have not gone out to lunch or nipped to the toilet, they are on the other line or with a customer.

This then leads you on to be able to take a message and get your colleague to call them back. This is the buying time bit – there is a natural end to your interaction with them when you take a message because you have made it clear that there is nothing you can do other than pass the message on.

It is also important also to be very apologetic for your lack of knowledge, only maybe not in so many words! You shouldn’t let on that you know absolutely nothing but making sure that you do apologise for not being able to be of any more assistance to them is important, it shows that you care about the company and the customers.

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