By Shep Hyken


Recently I was talking to a customer support rep. She was amazing. She was personable, genuinely cared, and I felt that she understood my problem. That said, we were struggling to get the problem resolved. She said, “I know you want to get this resolved right away. I can give you a fast answer or I can give you the right answer.”

Next, she explained why. She said that my problem was complicated, and while she could probably give me the answer that would make me happy in the short term, it was not a long-term solution. She was almost positive I’d be calling again in the future, even more frustrated than I was today. So, when she said that she could give me a fast answer or the right answer, she wasn’t really offering me a choice. She was telling me that I wasn’t going to get my answer that day. But the way she said it, and ultimately the way she handled the problem, was brilliant. 

She told me that she wanted to research the problem. She asked if she could call me back the next day so we set up a time to talk, and true to her word, she did – and she was on time. The call was short. It was just an update. She was still researching the issue. Normally I would have been frustrated, but she gave me enough information to make me feel confident she was working on a solution. Once again, she promised she would call back the following day. Good news on that third call. She had the answer and solved the problem. As happy as I was, she seemed even happier.  


When you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question or problem

I’ve always preached that if you don’t know the answer to a customer’s question or problem, that’s okay. Just know who to go to or where to go to get the answer. Be honest about it. Customers want the truth, even if it’s not what they want to hear. And, if you have to make them wait, tell them how long it will be. Then don’t be late! Customers don’t mind waiting if they are informed, know what the next step is, and things continue to move in the right direction. That builds confidence.  

Customer loyalty requires creating confidence, not perfection. Obviously, I would have loved the problem to be resolved on the first call, but every step of the way my rep made me feel confident we were heading in the direction of a resolution. That confidence makes me want to continue to do business with the company. By the way, here’s a reminder of my loyalty formula:  

Great Customer Service + Confidence = Potential Customer Loyalty