If you know you’re not going to be able to provide an answer right away, it’s a good idea to let your customer know. Customers usually don’t mind waiting if they have been prepared to do so, if they have an idea of how long they will have to wait, and if they understand the reason for the delay. Here, we present three different scenarios, each with a good example of how to set expectations:
Scenario 1: Expert needs more information from the customer
“Hello, I’m Dr. Campbell and I’ll be helping you with your question today. I’m sorry that your aunt has been experiencing this. I hope I am able to help you gain a better understanding of what’s going on. But before I can do that, I need to know a few things about your aunt:
- How old is she?
- Is she taking any medications?
- Is she experiencing any chest pain or tightness?
- When do the palpitations normally happen? At home? In the car? Somewhere else?
- Does anyone in your family have a history of high blood pressure or stroke?
Once I have this information, I’ll provide an answer to your question. I look forward to hearing from you!”
Scenario 2: Expert needs to step away from the computer
“Hello again. I see you haven’t responded to my last reply yet, but I need to step away from the computer for the next two hours. If you reply while I am away, I will answer your question as soon as I return. Thank you so much for your patience!"
Scenario 3: Expert needs time to do research
“Hello, my name is Sinead and I’ll be helping you with your question today. I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing this. It’s a complicated issue and I will need to do a bit of research before I can give you an accurate answer. It should only take about 15 minutes. In the meantime, you may reply to me at any time if you think of any additional details that may be relevant. Thank you so much for your patience.”