No Guessing

The other day I called a company that is the support group for an online system I have to use as part of a client project. I was referred to a specific person in one department, and when I asked for that person, found that she was on vacation for the week. The woman who answered the phone, however, wanted to be helpful.

“Perhaps I can help you,” she offered. So I started to outline the question that I had, related to what inputs the system was expecting. I had already used the system for a while; I just had a specific question about one type of operation.

The woman on the phone, though she was trying to help, started stumbling through an answer, and ended up telling me something very elementary that wasn’t even the point of my question. As politely as I could, I observed that perhaps this is something on which I needed to speak directly with the other contact who was on vacation. This person’s reply to that:

“Oh, probably. I haven’t been trained on this system yet, anyway.”

Well, then why didn’t she say so from the get-go? Why take a bunch of guesses, make herself look like she didn’t know anything, and waste my time?

No guessing. If you don’t know something you’re asked, just say so, and refer the questioner to someone else, or get back to them when you do know. No one has a problem with that.

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