My friends arrived at the theme park with only about two hours before they had to leave to catch a flight. They knew they would have limited customer choices. They explained their situation to the customer service agent and asked what they could do in the park in two hours. The customer service agent instead starting listing all the things they couldn’t do because they didn’t have enough time. The agent was negative–a real downer. When my friends persisted and suggested that it would be better customer service to focus on what they could do, the agent simply went on and on talking about what they couldn’t do. They finally walked away and went to a different kiosk with a different customer service agent. The second agent focused on the rides that were open and what my friends actually could do, given their limited time.

The second agent used empathy to imagine how he or she would feel if in the same position as my friends and made appropriate recommendations based on that knowledge. A basic concept in customer service is to always try to put yourself in your customers position, to imagine how you would feel in the tables were turned.

Customer Choices Should be Positive

Doesn’t it seem ironic that, when my friends had only limited time, the customer service agent wasted their precious time by talking about what they couldn’t do? The customer service agent, instead, should have put him or herself in my friends position, imagined what they might want to do, and given them options for what was available.

When choices are limited, focus on the choices that are available, not what’s not available. Sure, when a customer asks about a product or service which isn’t available, you need to say it’s not available. But then switch to letting them know what they can do or what is available. Otherwise, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.

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