In customer service, you have to use your knowledge to solve customers’ issues. However, what if the same knowledge serves as a barrier between you and your customer? Isn’t that ironic? This is called Knowledge Bias.

According to Harvard Business Review, knowledge bias occurs when we know too much about something and find it difficult to think from others’ point of view. As a result, we formulate our own opinions and tend to thrust them on others. While giving our opinions can be acceptable in discussions, when listening to others is essential, it can be detrimental.

How does it impact customer service? Picture this: you are listening to a customer talking about an issue with the product. You grab onto a few words that immediately remind you of an issue that you just solved a few hours ago. You jump into action and tell the customer what should be done. Or so you think. This can pk-callout to two situations: you hit the bull’s eye and earn their thanks, or miss the mark because the problem is different than you thought. You caught a few words and decided to form your own conclusion. By subconsciously omitting some details and basing your conclusions on a few bare facts, you might miss out on the big picture completely. The second situation doesn’t imply that you’re a terrible customer rep. In fact, if you had completely listened to the customer’s point and thought upon it, you would have resolved it immediately. This is what the curse of knowledge — namely, knowledge bias — does to you. 

Now, the steps to tackle knowledge bias isn’t all that difficult. Keep these points in your mind while you’re interacting with the customers:

  • Put yourself in the customers’ shoes: You will be annoyed if you’re cut off by an agent when you’re talking about an issue. You will even be incensed when the solution they suggest is completely different from the actual solution, just because they jumped to conclusions based on a few words. Picture the above situation when you think you have the right answer and wish to interrupt the customer.

  • Look at issues from different angles: Just as a single word can have different meanings when used in different contexts, a simple issue might be a warning sign of future consequences. Hence, when a customer explains something to you, keep an open mind. You won’t know what you might find.

These might sound simple, but you need perseverance and patience to implement all these. With time, you can master these steps and win over your customers.


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