Print Page  |  Contact Us  |  Your Cart  |  Sign In  |  Join IMC USA
Daily Tips for Consultants
Blog Home All Blogs
Search all posts for:   


View all (805) posts »

#502: When You Can't Answer a Client's Question

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
What do I do when a client asks me a question to which I don't know the answer?

This might seem like a simple answer but with a few caveats. Certainly be honest and don't fudge the answer. However, consider the situation and the role you are being asked to play (e.g., sometimes the client doesn't need a definitive answer but your perspective will do). Here are some possible responses (pick an applicable one that truly represents your situation).
  • I don’t know, but I will get a response to you in the morning.
  • I know someone who is an expert in that subject and will get back to you as soon as I track her down (or, I will have her call you to discuss it).
  • That's really not my area of expertise, but if you give me an hour, I will do my best to give you some idea, if not the definitive answer.
  • That’s an interesting question and one in which I have no direct experience but, based on what I know about your situation, I suggest you consider three factors in evaluating your path forward.
  • I am pretty sure I know the answer but don't have it with me and don’t want to mislead you with a guess, but as soon as I get back to my office, I will call/e-mail with the answer.
Tip: Take your time to provide a considered response. This is not the game show Jeopardy, in which the speed of your answer is what counts. You always have the option of pausing - your client will probably appreciate that you think the question important enough to take some time to respond.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client service  communication  diagnosis  reputation 

Share |
Permalink | Comments (0)
Community Search
Sign In

Forgot your password?

Haven't joined yet?

IMC USA Calendar

The Consultant's Workshop : Agility - Essential for Today's Consultancy - Dec 7, 2016

IMC SoCal 12/8 Holiday Party

IMC NCR: 2016 Annual Holiday Party

Message from the Chair
Angela Dingle CMC2016 IMC USA Distinguished Service Award Recipient
Loraine A. Huchler CMC FIMC2016 IMC Fellow Award Recipient
Gayle Carson CMC CSP FIMC2016 IMC Fellow Award Recipient