Customer Service Quiz and the Blackhole

Going to start with the boring stuff and move onto the more entertaining things today.

You know what a blackhole is, right? Do you know what a blackhole of customer service is? Perhaps you do, but Tom at QaQNA certainly does. It is pretty much that point of dead silence between you (the customer) and the customer service representative. It can occur at anytime, but usually happens when information is being verified, accounts are being looked up, screens are loading, etc. The situation can be quite awkward, and as Tom points out, even alarming to customers, and is actually easy to avoid.

One of a customer service representative’s many jobs are to completely avoid being in a blackhole moment. The easiest way to do this is simply to keep talking. Don’t babble on about things, but let the customer know what is going on. A good situation (in terms of both avoiding a blackhole and customer service in general):

CSR: Thanks for calling Company XYZ. This is Bob, how may I help you today?
Customer: Hi, I’m having a problem with my email account.
CSR: OK, I can certainly help you with that. May I have your name please?
Customer: John Smith
CSR: OK, and Mr. Smith, what is your account number?
Customer: It’s 123456789.
CSR: Just a moment while I look up your account.
CSR: Your account is loading now. Just a second and I will look into the problem with your email account. In the mean time, could you tell me if you are getting any errors?
Customer: Yeah, I get an Error #9024341-K on the loading screen.
CSR: OK, I see. Let me check and see if there are any problems with your email server.

There is no blackhole moment. The representative can say your account is loading now, comfort the customer, and then engage the customer. The best way to avoid the blackhole is to engage the customer. Ask them to describe their problem, ask them for their names, for their email address, for something! Just keep the conversation flowing and you should be able to avoid the blackhole all together.

Now, for the next part.

Remember when I suggested that all of my readers take the SAT? Well, it’s time for another quiz!

This time it is this quiz that I briefly discussed yesterday. Take the test and see what your answers are. I’ve discussed my answers after the “more” link.

My answers (without looking at the answer sheet):

  1. D
  2. D
  3. C
  4. E
  5. B
  6. B (or C, I suppose)
  7. D
  8. D
  9. D
  10. D

Lots of D’s! The quiz is fairly entertaining, but also has some good insight to share as well. Here are the “actual” answers as defined by the key.

  1. D
  2. D
  3. C
  4. E
  5. B
  6. B and C
  7. D
  8. D
  9. D
  10. D

I promise I didn’t look at the answer key before taking the quiz! It isn’t that hard and I think people who know and care at least a little bit about customer service should do well. How did you do? How would your employees do?

One Response to “Customer Service Quiz and the Blackhole”

  1. Service Untitled » Goodbye! said:

    Oct 23, 06 at 8:55 pm

    […] I’m not quitting or leaving – don’t worry about that! Today’s post is about how to properly close a customer call. Friday’s post with the link to an interesting resource also provided me with a long list of future topics, one of which was closing a call. I’ve talked about greetings before, but the goodbye is almost as important. Train your employees to use a properly close the call and it can help quite a bit. […]