The Art of the Handoff

That Isn't My Job

“That Isn’t My Job” are four very ugly words.

Today I had 165 emails to respond to and 3 meetings on my plate. Efficiency and speed were the key to my surviving the gauntlet. At 4:13 PM, a newish client sends an email asking for help from the wrong people. As I’m burning through my task list I came very close to writing a fast, one sentence reply telling them they needed to send their request to another department. And then my Disney training kicked in. Full stop.

Instead, I replied thanking them for their request. I told them this department would handle part of the request and that another department would handle the second. I then trained them who to go to in the future and told them I’d open a new request on their behalf with the right department. I then sent a followup email introducing them to the contact that would be helping them. It took an extra 30 seconds of my time. It might be the most valuable 30 seconds I spent on anything today.

If I want our digital agency to be known for having the best customer service in Orlando or anywhere else, our entire team has to be on the same page in elevating the experience. I would expect and hope for the same from any vendor we work with as well.

Wherever you work, anytime someone asks for help, they are looking to you for leadership. But what happens if you don’t have the answer?

You can tell them you don’t know and turn your back on them.


Or you can tell them the all-too-common “it’s not my job”. Slightly better is to also tell them who to talk to, but it’s still poor manners and a bad experience.

It’s easy to say these things, and it’s not technically wrong. But is that a good experience for the person asking for help? No one in my agency should ever say the words “that’s not my job.” No one should ever say, “go talk to so and so.”

This is how customers are slowly lost, not through error, but instead through disengagement. You harm your customers and your company culture this way. The same attitude can cause harm inside your company just as easily as it can with customers.

If you instead take an extra moment to bring them on a journey to the person that can help them and introduce them (virtually through online introduction or physically), you’ll elevate your own personal brand as someone that genuinely cares. Or you can say you don’t know, but you can find out for them and get back to them by X time. In this way, you’re giving them a joyful and seamless experience that builds trust.

It feels like a breath of fresh air to the person you’re helping.

Want to talk customer service? Connect with me on linkedin.

Did you know accessibility on the web is a crucial form of customer service? If you aren’t building websites with differently abled people in mind you’re essentially saying something isn’t your job when it actually is. Learn more about building for accessibility.

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