“I don’t know” should never be an option. It may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised at how many people work in places and are fine with not knowing the answer to your question.
I was recently in a jewelry store and asked an employee about a particular bracelet (Valentine’s Day gift for my bride). The bracelet featured a beautiful inlaid stone. When I asked about the type of stone it was, she smiled…looked at the bracelet…cocked her head to the side, and said “I’m not sure”.
At that point, I expected her to go find out. But she never did. Nothing happened. She just kept smiling. The store attendant looked perfectly content with not knowing the answer to my question.
I don’t have the right to call myself a professional if I don’t know what I’m serving.(did you notice how I put that sentence in bold? It’s THAT important.)
Professionals know what they are offering. They know the hours of operation. They know the services. They know the products. They know enough to answer almost any question about what they offer.
But what if they don’t know the answer to something they should know? What then? What if they weren’t trained on that particular item? What then?
Find out! In this day and age, it is almost impossible to remain ignorant on a topic. If you desire information on practically any topic, the answer is merely a click away.
But here’s a deeper level. She knew all along that she didn’t know. She knew BEFORE she began her shift. Professionals make it a daily practice to learn something that they didn’t know about what they’re serving.
And here’s an even deeper level. The customer should never be the first one to know that an employee doesn’t know something. The leader should be on top of that. Leaders must make it a daily practice to audit, train and coach.
As a leader, it is part of your job to ensure that everyone on your team is equipped and informed everyday.
So here’s the takeaway: Mediocrity is your enemy. Know what you are supposed to know.