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Best practices for customer service phrasing


Customer care agents must use polite and professional phrases.

Customer care agents must use polite and professional phrases.

Language is important. Whether consumers make contact with a customer care center through text, phone or email, the initial response must be quick and phrased properly for the medium. Every consumer engagement, however, can benefit from care agents who carefully choose their words and prioritize proper communication skills.

Show gratitude “Thank you for calling”
An organization should view every customer interaction as an opportunity to promote loyalty and learn about consumer groups. Care agents can voice this appreciation for the information and the relationship by putting gratitude in their phrases.

Open Forum said an engagement should always begin with an appreciation for reaching out. Care agents can continue thanking customers for directly calling or texting a company to voice concerns or ask questions, instead of taking frustrations to third parties or leaving the organization in the dark.

” An engagement should always begin with a spoken appreciation.”

Don’t make assumptions “Sweetheart or young lady”
Some say we live in a more politically correct world than previous generations. Equal treatment has become a priority in all social interactions and Forbes said customer service agents can insult consumers if phrases indicate assumptions based on age or gender.

While customer interactions should be friendly and treat each person who reaches out as unique, it’s important to let the consumer submit information rather than making guesses. Once a care agent learns something about a customer – and records it in a customer relationship management technology for future representatives – then they can begin using approved specific terminology.

Empathy words “I understand”
If a consumer makes contact through the phone rather than researching the business online, odds are they want to talk to a person. One of the primary advantages of human interactions is the ability to voice real compassion and concern. After a care agent listens to a customer’s story they should use words or phrases that demonstrate they heard the details and acknowledge the person’s feelings.

Repeating certain information submitted by the customer not only shows the company representative cares, but allows the consumer to hear if the agent collected the details that are really important.

Avoid roadblocks “I can’t “
While the customer isn’t always right, the word “no” is rarely helpful in any consumer interaction. Whenever possible, employees should avoid negative terminology and phrase answers with possibilities rather than highlighting what the care center can’t do.

For example, if a consumer believes the product should operate in a way that it doesn’t, it’s an opportunity to learn. Instead of just telling the customer he or she is wrong, the care agent should ask questions to discover how the consumer reached the conclusion.

Solutions focused “x or y”
Consumers don’t want to feel manipulated. Customer care centers should do everything in their power to ensure the customer who initiated the engagement retains power throughout the conversation. It’s important phrasing doesn’t place limitations on him or her.

Employees shouldn’t say there’s only one good resolution. While the care center may favor a particular solution, presenting a consumer with options can highlight the advantages of your ideas and give them the ability to explore other possibilities. The longer the engagement continues, the more data agents can collect about customer preferences.

Internal communications “That customer was the worst”
Finally, the importance of phrasing should extend internally. While some consumer engagements can be frustrating for employees, if they keep referring to customers in negative terms, the office could create an environment of us vs. them.

Time magazine collected a few examples of businesses that got into hot water after internal communications revealed negative terms for customers. Managers should provide opportunities for care agents to vent or work through obstacles, but in doing so, leaders should address the challenges themselves as opposed to describing particular clients as the enemy.


Time to rethink "the customer is always right"

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