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How To Look Stupid To Customers In One Sentence

Updated on August 15, 2013
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest is just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learning & development professional.

Your words effect the level of your customer service
Your words effect the level of your customer service | Source

One sentence to ruin it all

It takes only one sentence to look stupid in front of clients. Along with it is poor customer service that can ruin the day of any client.

It pains me to say this but excellent customer service is still a rare occurrence in spite of all the hype it has gained. I’m bewildered at how customer representatives conduct themselves in front of customers. Worse, they don’t even know that their behavior is utterly gruesome. Here are some horrid encounters that will surely make any customer representative look stupid.

I don’t know

Erwin, a colleague of mine asked a store representative about a product on the shelf. It was a portable vacuum with a car and wall charger. All he wanted to know was the warranty of the product. To his surprise, the customer representative irritatingly uttered “I don’t know” with a perplexed and dismayed look. To make matters worse, the representative walked away shaking his head as if my friend asked something ridiculous. It was an unwarranted and callous behavior.

It took so much self-restrain not to throw the vacuum cleaner at the representative to know if it was also shockproof.

Sure no one has all the answers. But a basic question such as this is something he should have known. Even if he did not have the right response, he should have referred the client to someone who is more knowledgeable.

I’m new here

The sentence “I’m new here” is another gravely misused response to client queries. It’s so easy to say these words especially when you do not know the answer. But remember that once you represent the company, clients do not really care if you just started or if you’re a veteran in the business. Customers simply want proper service. As a new employee it is your responsibility to know.

Being new is not an excuse. Moreover, it should never be used to justify ignorance.

The box says…

I had an encounter with a customer service representative in a small computer store. I was looking for the right video card for my desktop computer. Since I love playing Call of Duty, Medal of Honor, Crusader and other similar video games, I had to upgrade up my system for the best gaming experience. But when I approached the store’s “technical expert” to ask about the video graphics card he started reading from the box!

Hey, dude, I can also read! I’ve been doing that even before I graduated from kindergarten. What I needed was his expert opinion based on my gaming needs. Unfortunately, the term “technical expert” did not come with actual expertise.

To provide excellent customer service, representatives need to learn their products. In fact, team leaders and supervisors should drill their sales staff in all their products. Otherwise, clients will consistently have a dismal experience.

In retrospect

Being a customer service representative means walking the extra mile to learn about the business, the products or service and of course about customers. Offering excellent customer service requires that the sales professional learns and masters the basics first. When customer representatives fail to give even the basic service, expect to get dissatisfied clients.


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    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      There's always time to change Topher. Most us don't realize what we are doing until someone actually points it out.

    • profile image

      Topher 5 years ago

      I actually find this funny. I think it's because I do most of these!

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      That's true BusinessTime. Unfortunately I've seen so many customer representatives who do not go the extra mile to do something for the customer. In many instances they simply end the customer experience with these words.

      I always insist that sales professionals and customer representatives to take responsibility even if they do not know the answer. Properly endorsing them to someone who knows more is always better than ending the statement "I don't know" with a blank stare.

      Likewise, it is imperative that before deploying customer service representative, they are trained to know the basics.

      I'm sure many customer representatives would like to entertain your needs as you have a huge heart to understand their limitations. Not all customers do .

    • BusinessTime profile image

      Sarah Kolb-Williams 5 years ago from Twin Cities

      This is an interesting perspective. However, I'd like to add that as a customer, I'm quite understanding when a representative says "I don't know" or "I'm new here and don't know the answer to that yet," as long as they follow that up with "but let me have you talk to someone who does" or "but I'll find out for you right away."

      I don't expect everyone to be a walking encyclopedia, and I'd rather someone admit what they don't know than casually tell me something without checking on them. And I understand that there's a learning curve for new hires. As a customer, I just want to know that I'm taken care of and that the representative values me enough to answer my questions correctly -- whether they've memorized the answer or whether they have to look it up for me.