With more and more business done virtually than ever before, customer service agents are often the literal voice of the company.
In an ideal world, anyone answering a phone for your business should be well-trained, polite and friendly to callers. Unfortunately, even the most experienced of administrative workers can become frustrated and lose patience while on the phone with a challenging customer. Use this list of what not to say on a customer service call to guide your training.
1. I don’t know
Nobody knows everything, and your employees can’t be expected to have quick answers to every question that comes their way. With that said, there’s nothing more frustrating to hear as a consumer in need of assistance than “I don’t know.” While it’s okay to admit that you don’t have the answer to a question right away, a better way to phrase this would be “let me find out for you.” It conveys a similar message but spins it in a positive light.
2. I can’t help with that
When a person goes out of their way to call your company for assistance, the last thing they want to hear is that your employees are unwilling to help. Of course, there will always be things out of your control that you may indeed be unable to assist with. Still, there is always a way to go above and beyond for a customer. If you can’t provide them with the precise service that they need, offer to connect them with someone who can.
3. Just go to our website
In this day and age, a company website doubles as its storefront. Virtually anything and everything a customer could need can often be found online. When you’ve got a to-do list a mile long and the phone won’t stop ringing, it’s tempting to tell customers to go online and solve their own problem. Most customers won’t take too kindly to this advice, though, and chances are good, if they could fix their own problem, they would. Instead, be proactive and walk folks through the help they need. It might require a little extra patience on your part, but you’ll find that the goodwill you build with callers is worth the effort.
4. Thanks for bringing this to our attention
On the surface, this phrase doesn’t sound so bad. In fact, you’ll likely find it in many call center and customer service scripts. Unfortunately, though, it’s a phrase that is as robotic as it is insincere. The impersonal words can make you seem uncaring, callous and like you’re going through the motions. Instead of this go-to reply to criticism, opt for something a little more natural. After all, customer service is all about building relationships. You want your conversations with customers to feel friendly and polite, not formal and cold. “I appreciate your feedback” or “Thank you for sharing that with me” convey a similar message but sound a little more natural. Plus, it uses “I” and “you” words that help develop a one-on-one connection.
5. Can I put you on hold?
Getting put on hold is often seen as a necessary evil of calling a company for guidance, feedback or assistance. Just because your caller might be expecting to listen to obnoxious hold music for ten minutes before getting any real help doesn’t mean you have to live up to the expectation. Refusing to put callers on hold can come as a pleasant surprise, making your customers respect you that much more. When they have a positive customer service experience, they’ll be that much more likely to use your products or services again.
It’s tempting to apologize when someone is upset, but too often, the words “I’m sorry…” can come across as disingenuous at best and downright uncaring at worst. Its usage becomes even worse with repetition, driving home the idea that you’re just paying lip service to upset callers. Resist the urge to apologize unless you really, truly mean it. Instead of offering an apology, offer a way to make things right for the customer. A discount on future services, a replacement for the item in question or a small gift can mean the world to a frustrated caller.
7. I don’t make company policies
This is a favorite phrase of disgruntled employees who are fed up with being the scapegoat. It’s the natural response of someone who has been on the receiving end of ranting customer calls for too long. Solve this problem by getting to the root of common customer service challenges. If callers are complaining about a particular aspect of your service, come up with a way to appease them that doesn’t put the weight of the situation on the backs of your employees. While this is easier said than done, it’s important to keep employees and customers happy or else you risk losing both.
Keep these phrases in mind the next time you review customer service policies with your staff. Or, if you’d like to ensure stellar caller experiences every time the phone rings, consider partnering with MAP Communications. A leader in the industry, MAP has nearly 30 years of experience providing outsourced customer support from right here in the United States. We work with you to create a customized script to ensure our team is always on brand and delivering the exact messaging you’d like to convey to customers. We’re offering a free trial of our services to give you an idea of just how valuable we can be. Get started today by filling out this handy form.