- Calm down – If customers have a problem, they are generally unhappy. Telling them to calm down won’t make them any happier and often makes them more upset.
- Can I be honest with you? Customers assume that you’re going to be honest with them. Asking if you can be honest doesn’t buy you any credibility and may reduce it.
- No problem – When customers thank you, use “you’re welcome,” “it was my pleasure,” or “happy to do it.” “No problem” can come across as dismissive.
- Our computers are slow – When customers call or stop by, they expect to interact with a top-notch, well-run organization. They don’t need you complaining about your company’s resources. This can erode confidence in your organization.
- What’s your name again? Not catching customers’ names can happen to anyone, but don’t ask for their name like that. Instead, apologize for not getting their name, tell the truth about why you missed their name, reintroduce yourself and ask their name again using a fill-in-the-blank technique: “I apologize. I know you just gave me your name, and I missed it. My name is Jane. And I’m speaking with …?”
- Yes, but… It’s a two-stage no. As soon as customers hear “but,” they know bad news is coming. Instead, figure out a way to rephrase what you’re going to say without using but.
- Sorry, that’s our policy – Customers realize every organization needs rules. Customers also think organizations need to be willing to hear what’s going on and be willing to consider flexibility in situations. During those times, you may consider something such as, “Let me see what I can do, and I will get back to you” or come up with some sort of workaround.
- You don’t understand – Saying this can be insulting. “You don’t understand” puts the blame on the customer when the obligation is really yours to explain things better/simpler.
Customer service communications can be a delicate area, especially if someone is calling in or stopping by with a concern. The last thing you want to do is make the situation worse by using a seemingly innocent phrase that some people may not take well. With that said, here are a few to steer away from: