There are four words that we have all heard someone within an organization say to us, and we might have even said them ourselves, but these four words will instantly tarnish the customer experience. If someone requests something of you, but it is not something that you can handle, a common response is “That’s Not My Department”.

Telling a customer that you or your department do not handle the issue the customer is presenting to you will not only irritate the customer, but will leave a definite tarnished customer experience for them. Rather than telling the person that your department does not handle the issue, or even taking a step further and telling the customer what department to contact, it is better to be sure the customer issue is presented to the correct person or department by taking it upon yourself to contact the needed person.

If a customer is on the phone, simply ask he or she for full contact information, then ask the person to hold, while you contact the correct department. If the contact is available, you can then connect the lines, and make the introduction yourself, or if the person is busy, you can leave a message with the customer name, contact information, and issue that needs to be addressed.

If you make the connection of the customer with the correct department, you can excuse yourself and your job is complete. If however, you were not able to make the connection, be sure to let the customer know that you cannot help them with the issue, but have contacted the appropriate department, and they should hear back from someone within the department that can help with the issue. In this scenario, your job is not done at this time. To be sure the customers issue is being handled correctly, you should make a follow up call with the appropriate department within 24 hours to be sure the message was received. Never walk away from the issue, until you get confirmation from the department, or you have touched base with the customer with a follow up call to assure them that the issue is being handled.

If a customer is in person, the same technique can be used as a customer on the phone, with the only difference being that you would politely ask he or she to have a seat while you look into the issue. If you are able to contact the correct department, and someone is available, ask them to meet with the customer to discuss the issue. If there is no one available from the department, give them the customer name, contact information, and issue, then let the customer know that you are not able to handle the issue, but the correct department has been notified, and should be in contact with them, as no one from the department that can help with the issue is available at this time. As in the phone scenario, you must follow up within 24 hours to be sure the issue is being handled correctly and the customer feels that their issue is being resolved.

By taking the additional steps, and not just leaving an issue at “That’s Not My Department”, it is possible that a customer could walk away with an issue resolved, or even temporarily unresolved, but with a positive customer experience despite the circumstance.