Angry Customers are Bad for Business
Customers of all ages have certain expectations about how their interactions with you and your organization will take place. Inappropriate, robotic or misplaced phrases — call it “lingo” if you like — can be off-putting, to say the least.
We know that front-line employees are the “face” of any organization and contribute significantly to the brand. You’ll want to take action to ensure your representatives are well trained to avoid adding fodder to the already ample supply of customer service horror stories.
Here’s a list of surefire phrases that will earn the ire of your customers:
- “I understand your frustration.” This, well-coached phrase can be extremely off-putting to customers. Why? Because it’s overused and trite; customers know that your staff was coached to use the phrase. Moreover, it’s not designed to move the discussion forward to a solution.
- “No problem.” It’s become a common response to many customer requests, but some customers have expressed annoyance with this pat response. Customers don’t think it should be a problem. After all, it’s part of a customer service representative’s job to resolve issues and not treat the customer as if they were a problem.
- “That’s our policy.” The word “policy” is sure to inspire arguments instead of moving an issue to a conclusion for the customer. There are plenty of ways to explain an issue without resorting to an explanation of internal policies. For instance, the representative could say: “We have a process to cover that; here’s what I can do.”
- “You will have to …” Those are fighting words. Customers don’t contact a business because they want to take on more work related to a problem or concern and they don’t want to be told they have to do anything. They want the company and its representatives to take responsibility. That’s how any representative should be trained – to take action and to own the customer’s issue. There are times when you do need to direct the customer to do something to help address an issue, but watch the demanding language. Instead of “You will have to,” try: “You should…”
- “I think …” Do you contact a company hoping to get a representative’s opinion? No. You want answers, a resolution, a quote or an explanation. Companies must train their representatives to find content that leads to a solution. Instead of using a wishy-washy phrase, representatives ought to be saying something like: “I don’t know, but I will find out.”
- “I’ll take this to our ACR.” This is one example of company jargon that will most certainly shatter the nerves of customers hearing such phrases. In this example, the acronym, ACR, is alternative contact representative: someone who handles complaints or helps representatives resolve customers’ concerns. You know what it means; your customers probably don’t. Trainers, coaches and supervisors ought to be cautioning their employees from using any type of jargon. Simple explanations are always best.
How can companies avoid these frustrating situations? Never underestimate the power of a strategy, which can set the tone for customer treatment. From a customer service strategy, you develop tactics. For example, the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain employs the phrase “my pleasure” during customer interactions. It’s not likely that you would hear one of their employees say, “No problem.”
Companies such as the Ritz-Carlton and retailer Nordstrom also train their representatives to incorporate the following words during customer interactions: “delighted,” “absolutely,” “happy,” “sorry” and “yes.”
Whenever customers pick up a phone or use the web to contact you, the least you can do is avoid the “fighting” words sure to produce negative feelings. And, the best you can do is to employ words and phrases that are upbeat, genuine and happy, leading to resolutions — that’s why the customer called in the first place: for resolution.
If you’d like to further discuss customer service strategies, it would be our pleasure to hear from you. Contact us today.