Have you ever seen miscommunication cause inefficiencies in your business, problems with orders, and even more disastrous results?
My employer hosts an annual conference, and in order to save confusion at the conference center, has employees register online and pick up our badges at the office before heading downtown to the conference.
This week I went down to the lobby to pick up my badge. After waiting 20 minutes in line and observing several printer malfunctions and technical delays, I made it to the front of the line.
I provided my last name to the girl behind the laptop. She started typing away and then asked me, “Joe or Joseph?” I said, “Joe,” since that is the name I go by. She continued typing but said nothing to me until, “It shows you as not registered. Did you register? Did you get a confirmation?”
I answered yes to all these questions and had her confirm the spelling of my last name. I then said, “Did you look under Joseph? I am the only one with either of those names here.”
Apparently I was registered under Joseph and not Joe, so she said with a huff, “That is why I asked you which name before.”
Unaware of how my answer to her previous question would be used, I answered incorrectly.
So what is the lesson here?
If you need some information from a customer that must be an exact match for something you are doing, tell them why you need that information.
In my example, if she had said, “Which first name did you register under, Joe or Joseph?” I could have answered correctly and quickly been on my way.
If there is confusion and rework with every customer transaction, people will be waiting unnecessarily long and you may lose customers.
Confirm that you understand the answer that was given when asking questions of customers. Doing so will make your interactions with them less awkward and more efficient.