Customer service can definitely make or break your business, especially if you are an eCommerce brand.
There are different channels for providing customer support now with social media leading as the preferred mode for people to interact with brands. According to a report by Zendesk, 3 out of 5 customers state that customer service was a defining factor in deciding their loyalty towards a brand. So it is no surprise that every brand wants to empower its customer support team to be adept at providing exceptional customer service.
Good customer support and the right communication can define the customer service and experience that you provide, as a brand. Here are a few phrases that customer support executives should avoid using when interacting with a customer:
1. I can’t help you with this
You know you have heard this from a customer service representative more times than you would like. This phrase may suggest that the customer support is being unhelpful without providing the customer any context, which can be detrimental to their perception of your service quality.
When a customer calls up support with an issue, even if it is out of your scope, politely explain it to them and be on the call with them, till you redirect them to a person who can provide a solution. According to experts, the phrase – ‘I cannot help you’ should be eliminated from the customer service lexicon.
2. We have never faced such an issue before
When a customer is angry or upset and calling you regarding an issue that they are facing, they are usually looking for your expertise to resolve the issue. Even if you use this phrase to reassure the customer, it has the exact opposite effect, wherein the customer is now alarmed that you have no experience dealing with such an issue before.
As a customer service representative, you can consider taking a different approach to reassure the customer that such issues are rare and are not likely to happen again. This sounds honest and optimistic, and the customer is likely to receive it in a better way.
3. Can I call you back?
This is a no-brainer. No one likes to hear this phrase – let alone a customer who is looking for support on an issue they are facing.
Many businesses fail to realize that customers do not like to get cut off mid-call and made to wait for a call to resolve their issue. Usually, customers prefer leaving a website inquiry or email for issues that are not urgent, and call customer support only when they need their issue to be addressed as soon as possible. So you should never use this phrase unless you absolutely have to. Even in that situation, you must first explain to the customer why you need extra time to resolve the issue and politely ask them as to when you can call them back again.
4. You are mistaken
Once again, never should a customer representative use this phrase with a customer who is already displeased with the brand. Anyone who has worked in customer service already knows the cardinal rule – the customer is always right.
Customer support executives should never use this phrase or say anything that might be interpreted as mean or disrespectful. This means that you should avoid correcting them or finding faults in their statements (even if they are mistaken) because there is nothing that you are likely to achieve by doing so. You should patiently listen to their concerns and be solution-oriented in your approach.
5. Please visit our help center instead
Redirecting a customer to a different channel of support without even attempting to solve their problem is another great example of what not to do. Maybe the help center does have helpful information that will give customers all the information they need. Even then, you should access that information and guide the customer with the process so that you do not seem unhelpful.
If you want the customer to know about the self-service options that are available for them, then the end, mention that they can refer to the help center for any such queries in the future to get an immediate solution. Trust us, they will appreciate it. Here is a great example:
6. I am unable to find your account information
Nothing can send a customer over the edge than calling up customer support for an issue and hearing this phrase. It can make your support team look disorganized and unprepared. The way brands operate today, the only way you could find yourself using this phrase too much is if you do not have customer service software for your support team.
If you do have such software in place and your support executives are still using this phrase, then it is bad news. It suggests that your customer support team is not using the software correctly. You should ensure that your customer support representatives know how to use the customer service software to extract necessary data. You can conduct manual training or use a digital adoption platform to ensure that your employees are utilizing all the features of the enterprise software that you have in place.
Now that you know what not to say to your customers, here are a few positive phrases that you should use very often when you are speaking to them:
7. I appreciate you bringing this to our attention
It is easy for customer support to drive an angry customer over the edge, especially if they use any of the bad phrases that have been mentioned above. But it is also that much easier to set a positive and optimistic tone for the call right at the beginning. As soon as the customer expresses their issue, appreciate them for bringing it to your attention.
Simple enough, right?
What it does is, create an impression in the customer’s mind that you regard this issue as an opportunity to serve, and not just a problem that you need to get rid of. Customers can easily read annoyance in your tone, so by using such phrases, you can reassure them that their feedback is valuable to you.
8. I can definitely help you with this issue
Remember how we discussed that you should never say you can’t help the customer with an issue. The onus of a customer support team is to always acknowledge the customer issues, and reassure them that they will be solved, before proceeding to offer a solution. This phrase is what you should use as long as the resolution is within your scope. Even if it is not, use this phrase anyway to defuse customer’s anxiety right away and then guide them to the right channel for a solution.
Saying you can surely help them with their issue, establishes a sense of optimism and confidence in even the most aggravated customers. It also shows the customer that the conversation is heading in a positive direction.
9. Your business/patronage means a lot to us
You know you have heard this a lot. So have we.
But using this classic phrase is always a good idea when a customer is truly angry with your brand. In such situations, the customer may be feeling dissociated and unsure about your brand, which is why this phrase is the perfect way to make sure that they feel valued. Even otherwise, you should show gratitude to customers often, and ensure that they know that their business is important to you, regardless of the value.
Here is a simple example:
10. I understand
Unfortunately, empathy is a diminishing trait in customer service teams these days. You can blame automated responses and bots all you want, but you always knew the thumb rule: keep reassuring the customer that you are on the same team.
Here is an example of what empathy in customer service can accomplish:
It is common for customers to feel belittled or ignored if they only receive the standard template responses, however genuine you make them sound. Instead, use this phrase to reassure the customer that you are aware of the trouble that they are experiencing and that you are eager to help them find a solution.
11. Thank you
If we were not clear before, we will say it again – keep showing gratitude and thank customers often. If not anything else, it goes a long way in making sure that your customer knows how much they are appreciated, and would want to stay associated with you. Saying thank you often is a great way to pave the way for a long-term association with the customer through customer support calls.
Customers are Humans too
More often than not, customer support executives forget that they are dealing with a human on the other end. Mechanical replies without context, and being curt does not help as much as listening properly and being empathetic does. By using the right words and by eliminating the bad phrases from your lexicon, you can build an exceptional customer support experience.
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