Less Quacking, More Problem Solving
“It’s not possible”
“Policy doesn’t allow it”
“We’ve never done it that way before”
“I can’t do that”
All of these are essentially excuses as to why we can’t or don’t want to help a customer solve a problem.
I was in my car after coaching a group of university librarians on alternatives to such phrases, when an excerpt by Ken Blanchard in the book “The Transparent Leader” struck me as profound and hilarious at the same time. Blanchard shared a story where he arrived at a hotel before his check-in and was able to leave his bags at the front desk. When he tried to cash a traveler’s check however, the hotel employee said they could not cash the check because he did not yet have a room number to charge it to.
It’s likely that the customer service person used any number of the above phrases. Blanchard likened this sort of language to that of a duck. After each excuse he inserted quacking. “I’m sorry I can’t do that….quack, quack, quack…it’s against policy…quack, quack, quack…and cannot be done…quack, quack, quack.” You get the point.
Now I’m not suggesting that you begin quacking the next time a customer service agent put up the wall and says “No,” but I guarantee you’ll never look at this the same way. For those of you in customer service, practice solving more problems and leave the quacking to the ducks.