5 Things Never to Say to a Customer

Your employees serve as the forefront of your business and usually deal with customers on a daily basis. Whether a customer enters your business, calls a customer service representative, or initiates an e-mail inquiry, your employee is responsible for handling the issue in a courteous and effective manner.

Within one minute of speaking to your employee, the customer will be making assumptions about their background, education, skills, and training. How the employee responds to the customer is a crucial aspect of your business. One wrong word, phrase, or answer and that customer may just take their business (and money) elsewhere.

Some businesses will take the time during training to instruct each employee regarding acceptable words and phrases to use to answer the customer. However, many businesses neglect to create a list of unacceptable words and phrases. Although your employee may be saying some of the right things, chances are their few unacceptable words can quickly ruin a sale or create a dissatisfied customer.

Here are 5 things that your employee should never say to a customer:

choosing the right words for customer service1) “I can’t do that.”

The customer has called or visited for a specific reason. They expect an answer or resolution. A simple “can’t” will not satisfy them. Rather than focusing on a negative word (can’t), consider phrasing your response as “I understand that the camera quit working after 1 week. What I can do is issue you a refund or offer a replacement.” Focus on and offer a resolution.

2) “Hold on.”

The last thing a customer wants to do is wait on the phone or stand in line while you speak to other employees or a supervisor. However, you know that placing a customer on hold is often necessary in order to reach a resolution. Many customer service representatives make the mistake of saying “hold on” and then immediately switch off the line. Instead, explain the situation and ask for your customer’s permission to be placed on hold. Wait for their reply.

3) “I have no clue.”

The customer is looking to the employee for guidance. If they offer a simple “I don’t know” or “I have no clue” how would you expect the customer to react? If unsure of a specific answer or resolution, acknowledge that you would like to research the subject a little further. You can then ask to place the caller on hold or promise a return phone call. It is better to return to the customer with an answer then to confess that you don’t have a clue.

4) “I just started here.”

The customer does not care about your situation. They are more concerned with how you are going to resolve their problems. Although they may be able to pick up on the fact that you are in training, acknowledging it to them serves no purpose. Rather, explain that you will need to check with your manager or supervisor and promise an answer as soon as possible. This will serve as a learning opportunity for you and the customer will be satisfied when you are able to resolve their issue.

5) “You’re mistaken.”

Everyone has heard the saying: “The customer is always right.” While this is not necessarily true, it is important to remember that the customer should always be appreciated and respected. Arguing with them and insisting on their mistake will not get you any closer to a resolution. Instead, consider acknowledging that there has been a misunderstanding and then offer possible solutions.

Your business depends on the courtesy and actions of your customer service representatives. Take the time to train them on what is considered acceptable and unacceptable when speaking to a customer. Remember that the main goal is to always satisfy the customer. Focus on resolutions and answers, rather then negativity and roadblocks.

About Sozo Firm

Sozo Firm helps startup companies, small to mid-sized businesses & nonprofit organizations thrive through developing and implementing business optimization strategies. Our efficiency consulting addresses business processes, customer service, employees, marketing, public relations, and communication. Our internet strategy consulting addresses website usability, reputation management, social media, and internet marketing. Contact our senior consultant, Andrew Jensen, at 800.460.SOZO to learn how we can serve you.

About Andrew Jensen

Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency & marketing consultant, provides business advisory services for clients in the Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; York, Hanover, Lancaster & Harrisburg, PA regions. Andrew advises regarding business growth, productivity, efficiency, business startups, customer service, and online/offline marketing. Follow Andrew on Google+

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