Customer Experience News & Trends

Why customers lie – and how to spot a fib

Some customers lie. Here’s why, how you can separate the truth from the fib and still give great Service.

Lying customers usually aren’t ill-intentioned. They just want to save face, according to SalesPEAK’s sales and service expert Renee Walkup.

They almost always lie because they:

  • don’t trust you. They aren’t comfortable enough with you to tell you the truth.
  • feel pressured to make decisions. In many cases, they aren’t ready to decide on a color, quantity, amount to spend, etc., when you want them to do it. So they just say, “I’m not interested.”
  • are afraid to hurt your feelings. They don’t want to say what you offer (a solution, product, service, suggestion, etc.) isn’t what they wanted. So they say, “fine,” and dump you later.

Here are three signs customers are lying:

  1. Evasive language. Customers avoid answering a question directly, or use filler words such as “well,” “umm” and “hmm” before answering.
  2. Giving too much information. If customers give too many details, they may be trying to hide a truth.
  3. Incongruency. When customers say one thing, but their tone says another, they might be fibbing.

Agents don’t want to call customers to the mat, when they suspect customers are lying. Instead, they can try these tactics:

  • Take the blame. Tell customers, “I don’t think I’ve been clear. Can I re-explain and let you think over what I’ve said?”
  • Call on the facts. Remind customers of the facts you have with you – order history, invoices, detailed documents of past interactions, email – and offer to forward them for customers’ review.
  • Get someone else involved. If you can’t resolve something because of a lie, ask customers if they’d like you to involve a superior.

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