My mom planned an elaborate celebration for my friend and I when we graduated high school. She invited friends and spent the entire week preparing snacks that she knew we liked.
Day of, she rushed home right after we graduated to finalize the food. Disaster struck, though, and the thing she needed the most failed her — our oven. Somehow, for whatever reason, the oven locked itself so my mom couldn’t get to any of the food she had spent so long preparing.
She was understandably frantic. In a situation where I probably would’ve given up and said c’est la vie, she figured it out. She called everyone she knew and ran around putting plates of food in various ovens around the neighborhood. It all turned out fine because she pushed past the stress of the situation and searched for solutions.
Although this instance is somewhat unrelated, my mom's mindset of figuring it out is helpful to have in various life situations, especially in customer service, where your ultimate goal is to help the customer, no matter what. In this post, we’ll discuss how the figure it out mindset can be empowering and why it is essential for customer service.
“Figure it Out” Mindset In Customer Service
In customer service, having a Figure it Out mindset relates to the goal of service — solving for the customer. You do what you can, with whatever resources available, to bring the customer a solution. It becomes especially important in situations where customer issues are uncommon and not well documented.
While this mindset helps you solve for the customer, it is also helpful for professional development. It requires you to put yourself out of your comfort zone during possibly stressful situations to resolve an issue. It teaches resourcefulness and also helps you increase confidence in your abilities.
Admittedly, it can be tough to embody this mindset. Once you’re in a scenario that requires you to act this way, stress may leave you feeling unsure and worried about disappointing the customer.
So then, how do you adopt this mindset?
The most important thing is to take ownership of the situation. It’s OK to be confused, and it’s also fine to spend more time than normal figuring out what to do. In fact, taking a step back and realizing this is better than telling the customer, “Yeah, I’m not sure what to do here,” and passing them off to someone else. That can leave a bad taste in their mouth and doesn’t help you grow as an employee.
Secondly, figure it out. Leverage the resources you have available, like authoritative online sources or company blogs and knowledge bases that may have documented solutions to similar situations.
If your independent search doesn’t uncover all of the information you need, turn towards another valuable source: your colleagues. It’s important to note that, in this mindset, you should seek out your colleagues rather than the other way around. You don’t want a situation to escalate so much that someone comes to you saying, “Hey, I’ve just heard about this, and I’m happy to take over for you here.”
Instead, consider this scenario where you approach a team member and say: “Hey, I’m trying to help a customer with [insert specific situation here], and I’m not able to find the information I need. Since you’re an expert at this, can I ask you a few questions before I reply to their email?” You’ve taken the opportunity to independently figure out a solution and consulted additional resources after encountering roadblocks.
All in all, everyone has the potential to embody the Figure it Out mindset. Still, it can be challenging to tap into it when that means accepting being uncomfortable, confused, and that you can’t immediately solve your customer needs.
Whether you’re using three different ovens in three different houses to finish baking a dish or you’re on page four of Google SERPs, the best thing to do is to take a deep breath, recognize that you can do it, and figure it out.