"Not Knowing The Answer Is Inexcusable"

When we are new to a position there may be many things that we aren't aware of - partially because we don't know that we should have this information. There's such a thing as eing so unfamiliar with something that we really don't know what we should learn and know. This is where mentoring and asking questions about what is expected of us or what we really should be prepared to address comes into play.

Not having an answer may be acceptable - once and only once - but it's not really an excuse for not knowing, more of just the way things are. That is quickly remedied as we anticipate the answers we should have for our customers and we set out to learn them - in advance before those questions or objections are ever posed to us - and acquire the knowledge we need to be an effective resource for our customers.

This scenario has happened more times than it should - actually once is too many. Standing at the checkout or purusing the shelves at a major retailer when we see a display, special pricing sticker, or unadvertised promotion proclaiming a discount or special price in effect on a certain line of merchandise. We ask - when we can get someone to help us - if this is a permanent markdown, just for a limited time, or just for certain models of that brand. A typical response is that they don't know and that I would need to ask someone in that department or check with the manufacturer. So helpful.

Shame on this person for not caring enough about their store to know the answer. Shame again for not trying to find out - so at least they'd be prepared for the next time that question was asked. Shame on management for letting this situation exist. There's plenty of balme to go around - from the top down and from the bottom up. No one escapes this responsibility.

Picture this: a customer we are showing a home to or otherwise trying to help asks what elementary school district this home is located in, and we answer that we don't know - that they'll need to call the School Board to find out. Funny how we can know the answer because its just part of our business and other businesses get a pass because we too easily accept their indifference.

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Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, C.E.A.C., MCSP, MIRM,  aging-in-place specialist-instructor, and universal design consultant. © Steve Hoffacker. 

Comment balloon 11 commentsSteve Hoffacker • March 30 2008 12:59PM
"Not Knowing The Answer Is Inexcusable"
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