All companies are guilty of their front-line employees oversharing with the
customer. When problems arise, your only job, as an employee, is to make things right immediately. The customer does not need to know how and why it happened or even that it almost happened. The customer just wants the experience he was expecting. Have you ever been on a flight where the pilot suddenly announced on the intercom, “Holy cow, we almost crashed!” None of us needs to know that. Unless we are going down, it is best to keep those things to yourself.
|It wasn’t my fault, it was…|
Everyone loves to over share. Why? Because they want to make sure the Customer knows it wasn’t their fault. “I didn’t know you were here.” “The receptionist never informed me.” “If I would have known, I would have been out sooner.” Or “Shipping didn’t next day-air the package . . . I told them . . . I put it on the order . . .They do this type of stuff all the time.” Does the Customer really need to know who screwed up and why? All they need to know is how sorry we are about what happened, and here is what we are going to do about it. If we need to address something internally with other departments or coworkers, that’s our business, our Customers do not need to know about our dirty laundry.
“We need to verify your information”
Medical practices are the leaders in negative cues of all kinds. I have checked in for a doctor’s appointment and the receptionist has said, “We need to verify your information.” “Verify” makes me feel like they don’t believe who I am, that maybe I am trying to use someone else’s insurance information. Simply saying, “May we update your information” works so much better andaccomplishes the same thing.
“Your ten thirty is here”
Another example is when a doctor is seeing a patient and a nurse comes into the room during the exam and says, “Your ten thirty has arrived.” At that point, the patient is convinced the doctor is now rushing and more concerned with the patient who is waiting. Some great medical practices have created both verbal and nonverbal codes to inform the doctor without the patient realizing, i.e. saying something like, “Would you like a bottle of water” to the doctor means your patients are piling up in the waiting area.
“We would like to remind you of your appointment”
When we started John Robert’s Spa in 1993, we immediately started calling our guests the day before to remind them of their appointments. To our surprise, some of our guests would be offended with these calls because they felt we were insinuating that they were disorganized and did not keep track of their schedules. That is when we made the slight change of wording from “reminding calls” to “confirmation calls.” We have never had a complaint about a confirmation call.
I have heard this multiple times when arriving at a restaurant. However, the restaurant is 50% empty. Why does the Customer need to know if they don’t need to know? Now their trust in the business has dropped.
“One of our co-workers called off again, we are short staffed”
I didn’t need to know. Just thank your Customers for their patience during this busy time.
“I am so glad you are okay…”
Another big challenge is when a Customer is late. While I want my employees to accommodate late Customers, it is also critical to not allow Customers to think they can arrive whenever they want. When a client is late, what we train our team members to say is, “I am so glad you are okay, I was worried about you and I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to provide you your services.” This is a very polite way of saying, “You are lucky this time.”
“Have you seen Becky’s new haircut?”
Whenever a conversation starts becoming less than professional, often times, it is the Customer that may be the one over sharing about their personal life, someone will say to the team member, “Have you seen Becky’s new haircut?” That is our code that others can hear your conversation and you need to change the topic.
It’s not your employees fault
I can’t stress enough how important it is to constantly train and remind employees what is professional and appropriate and what isn’t. They have no idea what is considered over sharing. Employees do not realize that what they are saying is unprofessional. These are common conversations they have multiple times a day with their family and friends. Your Customer service training needs to make sure employees understand the Customer is paying for their Experience not ours. Leave ours at home.
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