Words have a lot of power. They can make or break businesses. Ask any customer service organization or professional, they will say the same.
As per a study by Microsoft, nine out of every ten respondents said that their decision to do business with a company was directly conditional upon their customer service experience.
Another famous study found that customers are twice more likely to share negative customer service experiences than positive ones. That means not only will they boycott a business after an unfavorable experience but will discourage others from supporting it.
Taking all these into consideration, there is no doubt that impeccable customer service must be the number one priority of all customer-facing businesses. They need to understand what words their customer support staff must use and what to avoid in customer interactions.
This blog post discusses seven phrases that you must use to delight your customers enhance your customer service as well as seven phrases you must avoid to save your reputation and brand image.
7 Golden Phrases To Use
Some statements can work like magic on customers. No matter how anxious, confused, and irritated they might be, hearing the phrases will assuage them almost immediately and turn around their moods. Here are seven such phrases.
“Thanks for calling (company name), how may I help you today?”
This is one of the best opening lines for every customer representative. As a customer-facing executive, you need to be humble and thankful throughout the call. By saying these phrases, you’re opening the call with gratitude and asking customers what they want from the call. This starts the call on a positive note and breaks the ice with customers.
“Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”
A customer calls you to make a request, find answers to some questions, or share something about your company’s products, or services. Before starting any efforts to provide them with necessary solutions, thank them sincerely for bringing the matter to your attention. Apart from that, you can say “Excellent question, I’ll find that for you” if you come across really smart questions.
As a rule, before taking any action, you should listen to your customers with rapt attention and be on the same page with them. And by saying the words “I understand…” sincerely and thoughtfully, you can tell them that you know what they are going through. Showing real empathy can increase customers’ trust in you and can calm them in the most frustrating situations.
“I will absolutely help you with that…”
If you can help customers with their queries or problems, use this phrase at the outset. It reinforces your willingness to help customers and it takes away any apprehensions the customer may have. Also, use statements such as “I’ll take care of this for you,” “I’ll fix this for you,” and “I’ll get this sorted” to let them know that you will do everything within your capacity to help them.
“As much as I’d love to help…”
Conversely, there will be times when you may not be able to fulfill all requests of every customer. In such instances, say this phrase instead of saying “I’m sorry, I can’t help you with that.”
The phrase “As much as I’d love to help…” shows that you want to help them but there are certain things beyond your capacity. Provide alternatives by saying “here’s what I can do instead…”
“Let me forward this call to our specialist.”
If you feel that you can’t help then you should consider forwarding the call to someone who can. Make sure that the person, to whom you forward the call, is a specialist and is trained to help customers.
7. “Happy to help!”
Just as you started the call with gratitude, end it by saying the three magical parting words—“Happy to help!” You can also ask “What else can I help you with?” to know if you can be of any further help. Moreover, you can say “Thank you for being a wonderful customer” and “It was a pleasure talking to you. Have a wonderful day ahead” to close the call on a cordial note.
7 Phrases To Avoid At All Costs
Some phrases can break customer experience and form a negative perception about your company in their minds. We discuss seven such phrases here.
“Your call is important to us”
If you’ve ever heard this phrase then you know how meaningless, valueless, and empty it sounds. The worst part is the statement is a part of many businesses’ customer support scripts and a majority of representatives say this to every customer.
When a customer hears the call is extremely important to the representative but the action doesn’t match the statement, then it’s excruciatingly frustrating. As per a TeleTech survey, the phrase garnered the highest number of votes as ‘the most irritating phrase’ with 36 percent of respondents voting for it.
If you want to make your customers feel important, then treat them as such instead of repeating the phrase over and over again.
“Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that. It’s against our company policy.”
Citing company policy as the reason not to help is one of the most irritating phrases that customers don’t want to hear. As per the TeleTech survey, the phrase ‘that’s our policy’ garnered the second-highest votes with 22 percent of respondents finding the statement extremely annoying. Instead of stopping conversations altogether by uttering that phrase, explain what you can do from your side to help.
“You misunderstood me.”
Interacting with customers can be difficult if they are confused or extremely annoyed. As a customer service representative, your job is to make sure that they hear the piece of information clearly and understand what you have to say. But no matter what, never say to them that they misheard or misunderstood you, as it will irritate them further.
No matter how annoyed a customer is, never say the words “Calm down” and “I’m not going to argue” as it will only make matters worse. That’s the worst line you can say to your customer and by uttering the statements you will only alienate them.
“Can I put you on hold?”
When customers call a business, they want their requests or queries to be addressed immediately. By asking if you can call them back or put them on hold for a while, you run the risk of annoying them. Instead of saying “Can I call you back?” or “Can I put you on hold?” ask a more experienced or senior person to intervene and sort out their issues.
“To be totally honest with you.”
You may have your heart at the right place when you say “To be absolutely honest with you” but it’s unnecessary. It sounds odd and unprofessional to customers who want solutions to their problems and not full disclosure. To some, it can even send a wrong message, as they may perceive that everything you said before the statement was false.
“Could you repeat your name and phone number please.”
There will be times when you would want to make sure that you are speaking with the right person and for that, you need to enter accurate personal information. But asking your customers to repeat their name and phone number twice or more may bother them and will make you look incompetent. Instead of doing that, note their name and personal details or use software to record the information.
All in all,
Words undoubtedly have a lot of power. Pleasant and positive phrases can change the moods of irate customers and make them friendly. Whereas, the wrong ones will alienate, and even provoke, the gentlest of customers. If you deal with customers, it’s extremely crucial to train your customer-facing staff to use more of the former and shun the latter.