In Lean Six Sigma, one thing we always practice is making connections. Customers are the foundation of a successful business so it’s important to treat them well. Good follow through with our customers that makes real connections is the key to success.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the experience in customer service.

We’ve all been there.

We call into a help desk because an issue has cropped up that needs to be solved. The technician that answers the phone asks a lot of questions and takes a lot of notes. You think they’re about to solve your problem.

Then they let you know that they need to transfer this information to a more senior technician.

A few days pass. No response. A few more days pass. Now you’re desperate. The issue has spiralled into a critical situation. But there’s still no resolution.

When you call the help desk back, you speak with the original technician. You ask what happened.

He says, “Oh, I actually passed that information on to a more senior technician. Did they not reach out to you?”

You answer “No”. Then there’s silence. Crickets.

The technician doesn’t know what to do, but you need resolution and fast.

Tossing Aside a Minor Issue Becomes a Major Problem

Over-the-shoulder customer service is when someone passes an issue over his shoulder backwards. He doesn’t look at what happens. He just hopes someone with capable hands will catch it and solve the problem.

The problem is, it doesn’t happen.

And when it doesn’t happen, minor issues can spiral into major problems, leaving customers majorly unhappy.

Effective customer service and problem resolution stems from connections. When you can’t solve a customer’s problem, you need to make a connection between that customer and someone in your organization that can solve it. It might be someone more advanced or more senior, but the handoff needs to be made.

Once a technician or customer service rep has diagnosed the problem and identifies the person with the right solution, he should say, “Hi, I want to introduce you to our customer. Our customer has an issue and I’m hoping you can solve it.” Only at that moment can you transfer the ownership over.

What you don’t do is toss the problem backwards and hope it lands in someone’s hands. When you do that, you’re not serving your customer. Rarely will that customer see adequate follow through.

Beware of over-the-shoulder customer service. Your customers deserve more.

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