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The importance of asking “why?” when working in customer services

Asking why. Straight away you’re thinking of toddlers asking “why?” to everything you explain or ask them to do, aren’t you?

Asking why is truly powerful. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask silly questions, or ask why? Without it, assumptions will be made, and you can easily waste precious time going down a path, only to come back down it again when you realise you’ve gone off on an unnecessary tangent.

If you don’t ask why, you’re assuming the information that has been provided to you, is fully accurate. Now, that doesn’t mean someone is purposely trying to mislead you, in fact, it’s very rare that someone would actually want to do that. It’s simply their interpretation of a problem, or what they think the solution might be, simply isn’t going to work out.

Take the very common scenario working in IT Support, a request for confirmation of a password. The end-user asking for support wants to access their email and has phoned through for the confirmation of their details. The details were provided, and that was the end of the call. Job done. Or was it?

Ten minutes later they call back at the provided details aren’t working, and they’re still stuck. The details are checked and tested by the IT Service desk and all is well, so what on earth is going on? After logging in remotely to the person’s computer, it all becomes clear… they are sat at the Microsoft Login Portal, trying to login with their corporate email account details, even though this particular customer doesn’t have their email services with Microsoft! Within a few seconds, they’re provided with the correct website to use to access their email, and hey presto, they’re up and running.

If “why?” had just been asked right at the very start, this could have been resolved in just a few short minutes, and the customer wouldn’t have needed to put in a second call.

This is just one of many examples, of where you can go, without stopping, taking a step back and just asking “why?”.

Ask why, ask stupid questions when you’re not sure about something. I do it all the time, as I lost the fear of looking a little daft, a long, long time ago. And what’s more, I come away from the experience understanding something new, rather being sat there thinking “I have no idea what they’re on about”.

Why, why, why? In the words of Simon Sinek – it starts with why.

Gavin Moorhouse is the owner of Lucid Computer Solutions, a company that often asks “Why?”. They’re based in Redditch, Worcestershire, supporting businesses in the surrounding areas.

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