Combine education with empowerment

Improv comedy veterans know that the fun is always on the
other side of a yes. 

That’s where the most engaging, memorable and hilarious
scenes and characters are born. 

What’s fascinating is, in the business world,
the opposite is true. Problems are always on the other side of a no. 

I have a
colleague who manages the call center at a company that produces charity
marathons. His customer support agents interface with thousands of runners from
around the globe every day. 

And in his fifteen years of experience, as soon as
you start telling users no, they start withholding feedback. And that’s a dangerous
place to be for a service organization to be. Without feedback, they’re just
winking in the dark. 

But here’s the challenge. From an empathetic standpoint,
they want to assure users feel heard and their requests are taken seriously.
But from an economic standpoint, they’re dealing with a large number of users
who all have a unique opinion about how something should work, and time and
resources are finite. 

Where’s the middle ground? 

One option is to combine
education with empowerment. Here’s what that looks like. 

First, you honestly
explain to the user, look, there are some reasons that’s not going to happen,
and I want to explain to you why. And then, once you’ve helped the user
understand their situation more holistically, you give them options. You offer
them power. Simply by asking, okay, here are three ways we can solve your
problem. Which one would you prefer? 

Think of it this way. A coffee shop could
post a sign on the door that says, no dogs allowed. Or they spend a few hundred
bucks to create an outdoor pet bar complete with water dishes, milk bones, poop
bags and leash hooks where pets can wait outside while their owners are picking
up their orders. 

It’s the same policy, just a difference in framing. 

The first
approach defaults to no, while the other says yes creatively. 


What is waiting for you on the other side of yes?

* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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