IT Customer Service 101: How to Deliver Bad News

Delivering bad news is never easy. Unfortunately, it’s occasionally part of your job in IT customer service. Being able to deliver bad news with grace and aplomb is an important career skill. When you have to deliver bad news, the people who receive it will remember when you do it well and when you do it poorly.

Maybe the bad news is about a system outage, data loss, a software change, or something else that inconveniences an end-user. Perhaps it’s something that’s your fault or maybe you’re just the messenger. Regardless, your ability to deliver the bad news the right way can help minimize its negative impact.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Be prepared. Think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.

Step 2: Be empathetic. Think about how the news you have to deliver will affect the person or people who are hearing it. Think about its impact on their work and their lives. Consider how you might feel if you were in their position.

Step 3: Don’t joke around or treat it lightly. As an IT professional, any bad news you need to deliver will most likely affect the other person’s ability to do their job. Perhaps it’s a lost file, a security restriction, or a major software change requiring extensive training. Regardless of what the bad news is, the person hearing it won’t feel like joking. In fact, joking or treating it lightly will only make it worse.

Step 4: Be direct. This doesn’t mean that you’re brusque, rude, or insensitive to the person you’re talking to. It means that you, quoting author Meryl Runion, “Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don’t be mean when you say it.” In other words, get to the point. Don’t try to sugarcoat your message or make it seem less impactful than it is. Just deliver the news. That’s just generally a good idea in IT customer service.

Step 5: Be specific. As in all forms of communication, specificity equals credibility. Be specific about what happened or what’s going to happen, why it happened or will happen, and what’s been done or will be done about it. When the people affected by the bad news have accurate and specific information, they’re better able to make good decisions about how to deal with it.

Step 6: Offer Solutions or Options Consider all possible solutions or options and be prepared to present them.

IT Customer Service Sometimes Involves Delivering Bad News

No one likes to deliver bad news and certainly no one likes to receive it. By being prepared, empathetic, serious, direct, and specific, you will help the person receiving it deal with it in the best way possible.

Next Level IT Customer Service Training

Enroll your team now in Compassionate Geek IT online customer service training so they can work together, get things done, and take care of customers.

2 thoughts on “IT Customer Service 101: How to Deliver Bad News”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top