5 Negative phrases to avoid in customer service

Monday, January 12, 2015

The customer service quality that a company is able to provide is often determined by its interactions with its consumers. From the way calls are efficiently routed to customer support representatives (CSRs), to how they speak with callers as the concerns are resolved.

While it's inevitable for CSRs in call centers in the Philippines, for instance, to encounter irate customers, they are still expected to continue providing support while being calm and courteous. On the other hand, there are situations when the customer was not even irate when the call was made, but was angered by something the CSR said.

Below are five responses you must avoid during a conversation with a customer:

1.   "I don't know"
Clients dial customer support hotlines to get information from someone who they believe to be a dependable source. Saying this line can be translated to “I cannot help you.” Do not disappoint your customers by telling them you don't have the details they need. Instead, politely direct them to the department that has the information customer needs. Go the extra mile by personally explaining to the CSR from that department what the customer needs, so the information will be readily available by the time the call transfer is completed.

2.   "It's not my job"
The mere fact that you answered their call gives them the power to assume that you are responsible for their needs—even if the call was routed to your department by mistake. If you are not in the position to give out the solution, explain to the person on the other line that the call will be transferred to the right CSR with the authority to address their concerns.

3.   "It's not my fault"
It's common for clients to generalize when looking for who's to blame for their concerns. For instance, you may be blamed for mistakes made by your third party suppliers. Instead of pointing fingers, however, calmly acknowledge that there was a mistake and empathize with the customer. Explain what happened and assure them that you will do what you can to help resolve their concerns. If you can, offer them small niceties such as free shipping or store credits for the inconvenience they have gone through.

4.   "As you know"
Do not assume customers know the nitty-gritty details of the company's processes and sales procedures. They're calling because something they don't understand have caused a problem with their experience using your products or services. Saying "As you know…" hints that it's their sole responsibility to know what has gone wrong.

5.   "It's company policy"
This line infuriates customers because it puts a period to the conversation, making them feel like there's nothing that can be done to help alleviate their problems. Or that the company is preventing their concerns from being resolved. Take time to listen to their concerns just to check if there is any room for compromise. It’s better to give them a list of options they can choose from than simply ending the interaction right away.

Effective communication between customers and agents is vital in the business. By avoiding these phrases that leave a negative impact, you can be certain that you won’t drive your customers away, and even earn their trust.