Helping Customers in Need

Seth Godin wrote an interesting post the other day about the four words “May I help youâ€?. He suggests that there is no better conversation killer than these four words spoken by a customer service representative. I believe he is correct in that a general offering of help is never as powerful as a specific statement of aid. If I am in a store looking for pants and the store representative asks me “if he can help meâ€? I will usually respond with a no. If, however, he asks me if he can find a certain size or brand of pant, I will be much more likely to accept his help.

I have a feeling that for me it is because I am enlisting help for a specific task: find my size or my brand. I know that at the completion of this task I can end our interaction. I think everyone fears the hovering salesperson that never goes away and follows you around the store.

At ReadyTalk, we are always probing for that unasked question. Customers often don’t know the questions they need to ask to get the answers they need. It is the responsibility of customer service to probe with specific questions to get at the need of the customer.

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