I don’t know about you, but I always dread calling customer service.
More often than not, they sound like they’re reading from a poorly written script. And even if they do help me resolve my issue, the entire process seems convoluted and frustrating.
But you know what?
It doesn’t have to be that way.
Since you’re in control of the way customer service works at your business, you can do better. You might even be able to turn dissatisfied customers into raving fans of your brand!
But to do that, you need to avoid these three horribly bad customer service phrases.
1. “My policy won’t allow for that.”
This kind of language doesn’t go over well with customers because it makes them feel like you’re refusing to empathize with them for the sake of your “policy.”
What to say instead: “Although I’m unable to provide that, here’s something else I can do for you.”
Saying something like this gently lets the customer know that you’re unable to comply with what they want but that you’re happy to offer an alternative solution.
It’s a great way to show that you’re willing to help however you can instead of being dismissive of their problem by giving them a flat-out “no” and using a bad customer service phrase that’s sure to trigger a negative response from your customer.
2. “I apologize for the inconvenience and will look into the matter further.”
Oh man – this is the worst. I’ve heard this so many times from customer service agents, but what I really hear them saying is:
“I don’t care about your problem and I’m probably not going to do anything about it.”
That’s because it sounds scripted and doesn’t promise any specific results or outcomes.
What to say instead: “I’m so sorry that you had to experience that. Here’s what I can do to make the situation right.”
See how this kind of apology sounds much more genuine?
On top of that, when you share exactly what you’re going to do to remedy the situation, the customer will be easier to work with and more confident in your ability to fix their issue.
A word of warning:
If you use this phrase, don’t promise the customer something you can’t deliver. The last thing you want is to make your dissatisfied customer even more upset by failing to fix their problem.
3. “I’m going to put you on hold.”
Not only is this a bad customer service phrase – it’s just plain rude and makes your customer feel like their problem doesn’t really matter to you.
Chances are, your customer will become even more upset with you and the entire situation they’re dealing with if you suddenly put them on hold. So don’t do it.
What to say instead: “Do you mind if I place you on a brief hold while I work to find a solution for you?”
It’s easy to understand how this alternative is much more polite and effective. It lets the customer know that they won’t be on hold for long and reassures them that you are working to fix whatever problem they’re having.
This approach works even better if you can let them know what you’re going to do while they’re on hold. The customer will realize that you’re taking action to resolve their problem, which will help them stay calm.
Now, if you’ve worked in customer service before, you know that some customers are impossible to please. So, you may be thinking:
Wait a second – what do I do if the customer is being completely unreasonable with their complaint?
Don’t worry – I’m not telling you that you need to go out of your way to please a customer who is verbally abusive or making insane demands.
But some customer relationships can be salvageable if you put yourself in the customer’s shoes and let your actions and words show that you genuinely care about the problem they’re facing. In customer service, a little kindness goes a long way!
On top of that, you should try to position yourself as someone who is going to help them overcome their problem. You want them to see the situation like this:
Customer + you VS. the problem
Not like this:
Customer VS. you + the problem
If all else fails and a customer is impossible to please, don’t be afraid to part ways with them. You shouldn’t have to deal with customers who treat you and/or your employees poorly for no reason at all.