What Not to Say to Customers
By Stephen Bucaro
Some employees never come into contact with customers. Other employees deal with customers
on a daily basis and so are trained by the company as to what not to say to customers. A problem
can arise however when an employee who doesn't usually come into contact with customers meets
Because you work within the company, knowledge that you have about the company is considered
to be "inside information". You should never reveal inside information to a customer (or to
anyone else outside the company). Releasing negative inside information could cause the company
to lose customers, could even cause the company to lose a big contract, or could cause investors
to dump your company's stock, putting your company in a position where they can no longer afford
to invest in capital assets like buildings and equipment.
In a customers eyes, you are the company. In actuality, you are a representative of the
company and anything you say and any commitments you make are legally binding to the company.
If a customer mentions that they're having a problem with your companies product or service
and you casually mention the company will replace the product or refund the customers money,
that could hold up as a verbal contract in court.
Never say anything to a customer about your company's problems. Don't mention quality
problems, inventory problems, manufacturing problems, or legal action being taken against your
company. Information like this could could cause your company to lose customers or could cause
investors to dump your company's stock.
Never say anything to a customer about your company's competitors (except possibly to
say that your company's product has better quality or is a better value, and even this can
be risky because the competitor may sue your company for releasing false information damaging
to their sales). You may be mentioning a competitor that the customer never knew existed, and
now, rather than purchase your company's product or service, they want to first investigate
this competitor products or services.
Never say anything to a customer about your company's plans. Don't mention plans to discontinue
a product because that may be the vary product your company is trying to sell them. People
don't like buying products that will be discontinued. Don't mention plans to introduce a new
product either because the customer may decide to hold off on their purchase until after the
new product is released.
Never say anything to a customer about your company's plans to move the plant because
the customer may be dealing with your company specifically because of its location. Never say
anything to a customer about your company's plans to lay off workers because that may imply
to the customer that your company may go broke and be unable to honor its warranty.
Never say anything to a customer about other employees who you are having problems with.
For example, you might casually mention that Bill over their is an idiot and he keeps screwing
up his work. Now you've got a customer who doesn't want to buy your company's product or service
because they know it has an employee keeps screwing up his work.
In a customers eyes, you are the company. If you're an employee who doesn't usually come
into contact with customers and someone brings a customer to meet you, other than providing
brief specific answers to questions asked by your company's representative, basically just
make small talk. Your companies managers, executives and sales people know what to say to customers
and how to put a spin on any negative information out there about your company.