Always be talking first

Disclaimer: In the following post, I use a bug report as an example. The following also applies to any feature request or solutioning.

We all know the situation, a customer Email pop’s up, something is not working. The customer complains: Leads are not generated. All we want is to make the customer happy again.

My first (panic) reaction is to login into Salesforce and figures out the issue. But from my experience, that’s not the best way of doing it. I need to be talking first!

Because, no matter how detailed the description in the email was, I’ve to get the customer’s point of view. 

My first step is always to talk to the person reporting the issue: What did you try to achieve? Show me exactly what you did, step by step. Don’t skip anything.

Only after understanding the goal of the customer and the steps taken I’m allowed to start fixing. Going into fixing mode without that call led me in the wrong direction way too many times. Many times I thought I know what the customer meant but actually understood it completely wrong.

I do that initial call, no matter how well the customer describes the situation or how good I think I understood the issue. Email communication is no substitute for talking! Especially in our times of instant communication, nothing replaces a quick call.

Because I’m convinced there’s an inherent disconnect between my world and the customer’s world. We both look at the world from different angles, use different languages, have different skills and different goals. Only after listening to customer’s needs and goals, I can truly determine what the issue at hand is.

So instead of trying to figure out what happened so that “Leads are not generated anymore” on my own, I first go into a call with the customer and learn what happened from her point of view. In a screen sharing session, the customer shows me that she can’t see any Leads in her “Open Leads” list anymore. It turns out, I accidentally changed the filter of the List View, my bad. A quick change of the filter later and the customer was off to calling Leads again. 
What could have been a full day of frantically trying to fix something not broken was fixed in 15 minutes, all thanks to the power of talking first.