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12 Phrases to Improve Every Support Interaction
18/06/18 05:10 PM
Repeatable phrases are helpful for bringing consistency to customer service.
They enhance your personal replies, and make providing great customer service easier, because you have just the right phrases at your fingertips.
After all, providing great customer service means knowing just what to say and the best way to say it. But communication is hard, and it’s made harder when you’re trying to make the mundane memorable.
While the good, the bad, and the ugly of customer service gets most of the press (as with everything else), the majority of support conversations are pretty standard: “I have a problem,” and “Let me fix that problem for you.”
In these cases, a good experience becomes great thanks to the pleasantness of the experience. Let’s explore a few essential customer service phrases that can be used to improve nearly every support interaction.
The 12 customer service phrases that work
Make use of your “playbook” of phrases and words when it makes sense, but don’t use them as a crutch. Unique replies can be crafted using a list of pre-canned phrases, but be sure to include a personal touch, too!
1. “Happy to help!”
Not every customer will tell you that they are walking away unhappy — in fact, few will. They’ll just walk away.
To address this concern, think about “closing” a customer service conversation, in a similar vein to a sales rep. For support, closing means ensuring that the customer is satisfied. Ending your emails without a closing message can be risky, as it’s not inviting the customer to share further issues.
Those are issues you sincerely want to hear about. For an outspoken person like myself, it was initially hard for me to understand why some people might just slink away without bringing up additional problems. Maybe they don’t want to be a burden, or maybe they think you don’t care. Whatever the reason, you need to let them know that you’d be happy to hear them out.
That’s why I end 99% of my messages with, “Let me know if there’s anything else I can do for you. I’m happy to help.” It’s my way of saying that it would be my pleasure to assist with any lingering concerns that may have cropped up, or answer any questions they may feel are “dumb.” There are no dumb questions in support.
2. “I understand how [blank] that must be.”
What’s with the blank?
What you use in that blank will greatly affect the tone of your message; one that is obviously being used with an upset customer.
Here’s a quick personal story: I ordered a birthday gift for a friend of mine from a hobby site. Usually, I couldn’t care less about whether something ships on time — I’m patient and forgetful, the perfect customer.
However, this order was botched beyond belief. I was charged for and sent two orders instead of one, it was sent to my house when I specified my friend’s address, and as the cherry on top, it was sent late. The support person’s response when I emailed in: “I understand how annoying that must be.”
I’m sorry, I was beyond annoyed. I was upset, and she should have known to empathize with how upsetting that must be for me. I know, I know — boo hoo. But upset customers are driven by emotion, not logic, as I was in that instance. I felt like I had let my friend down, and it made me frustrated in a situation I otherwise would have brushed off.
Use this customer service phrase often and thoughtfully — read the customer’s mood and relate with how he or she feels. Great support is defined by genuine empathy.
3. “As much as I’d love to help ...”
There comes a time when the only answer is “no.” Some requests just aren’t feasible. While some hand-holding is fine, it can do more harm than good if it leads to stringing a customer along.
But imagine answering a genuinely enthusiastic request with a blunt “no.” That stings. Stay firm but kind by letting them know you’d like to help, but it’s just not possible in this situation.
It’s never fun to say, "We can’t do that," but just as you have to bite the bullet and say “no” to feature requests, you sometimes have to turn down a service request. But you can at least do it nicely.