In customer service, there are most certainly the right answers and the wrong answers. It’s important as a business to establish the right language your agents should be using in order to deliver a high quality customer service experience.
It’s always best to apply common sense to each specific situation with your responses so you stay human and authentic, but it’s equally important to follow your company’s guidelines so the brand is consistent and reliable.
The following phrases can help carve out a framework for best customer service practices.
The whole purpose of a customer service interaction is to address the customer’s issue, so the goal should be to get the conversation to a point where you can say:
I understand. Let’s find a better plan for you. I’d recommend our XYZ package.
I see. Here are a few options to help you achieve that.
Understanding the customer’s situation puts you in a position to offer a solution, rather than a sales pitch. A positive customer service experience is one where you help, not sell.
Support and marketing are synonymous, so be a problem-solver and let the products sell themselves.
The key here is to be a good listener. Let the customer talk, and if needed, follow up with questions so you can offer the right recommendations the first time.
Let me double check.
You’re human, and nobody knows everything all the time. It’s more than acceptable to admit you don’t know the answer to a question off hand and have to ask.
Customers need reliable information so they can make the decisions they need to make. That’s what they care about.
Start with something like:
That’s a good question. Let me double check that.
If a few minutes have passed and you’re still looking for the answer, let your customer know.
Thanks for your patience. I’m still working on getting the right info for you.
If more than a few minutes have passed, let them know it’s your highest priority and you also respect their time:
I’m doing everything I can to get that info to you as soon as possible. If you’re pressed for time, I’d be happy to email it to you as soon as I have it.
Avoid treating your customer like a hot potato. When possible, it’s better to find answers for your customer and stay with them, versus transferring them off to another agent who may or may not have the answer.
Bouncing customers around to multiple agents and forcing to explain their question over and over again, is a recipe for a terrible customer service experience, and something is systematically wrong with the customer service process. If it’s a different department they need, explain the issue to the agent you’re transferring the call to before you hand off the customer.
This isn’t a phrase, it’s more powerful than that. Sometimes, selectively, a smiley face says it all.
First rule about the smiley face, don’t abuse it by overusing it. In person, it might be a little creepy. Over chat and email, it starts to look goofy.
The smiley face lightens the tone and can turn a dry, straightforward note, into a pleasant, warm response.
Selectiveness will make or break the effectiveness of the smiley. Over a chat conversation, limit the smiley use to a few times. In an email, no more than one smiley face should be present, if at all.
When to use the smiley
Customer: I’m very happy with the service so far. You: That’s great to hear! : )
When not to use the smiley
Customer: Please get back to me today. I need this resolved asap. You: Will do! : )
Clearly in the latter scenario the customer is having a serious issue. Your tone should match the customer’s attitude, and a smiley face in that situation wouldn't be appropriate.
When a customer is happy, it’s great to reflect that. Read your customer and emoji with caution. When in doubt, lose the smiley.
Please let me know if that helps.
Closure. Particularly with email support where you may not have as much clarification as you need on the customer’s question/issue, add a closing line to express that the support doesn’t end there, like:
Please let me know if that’s what you needed.
Please let me know if I answered all of your questions.
Following a chat or phone conversation, a closing line helps wrap things up without ending abruptly.
There’s always the classic:
Is there anything else I can do for you?
But, if the customer has already said “Thank you, I’m set,” or “Those are my only questions for now,” a better closing line would be:
Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do!
Just give us a call back if anything else comes up!
Avoid being robotic by reusing the same phrase every time. The point of a closing phrase is to ensure the customer is getting the support they need, and to keep the lines of communication open for any further questions.
I apologize for the poor experience.
It’s painful to hear that a customer is unhappy, but it’s better than not knowing and losing customers. If you don’t know, you can’t make it right.
The last thing you want to do is make excuses. For whatever reason, the customer is already in a state of dissatisfaction. Acknowledge it head on so you can get to what’s important – making it right again.
Make your apology personal and frank:
I apologize for the poor experience you had with us. I understand how critical the service is to your business and we take that responsibility very seriously.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not your fault personally. You’re a representative of your company, and the customer certainly doesn’t care whose fault it is but that it gets fixed.
Let the customer know what’s being done and what to expect:
Our technicians have corrected the issue and a replacement phone has been shipped to you via overnight delivery.
Follow up to make sure that the customer’s issues have been resolved and a positive customer service experience has been restored:
We appreciate the opportunity to fix the issue you experienced. Our team is dedicated to making constant improvements and preventing future challenges. In the meantime, please let us know if everything has been resolved to your satisfaction.
Finally, common sense and personalization should be applied to any customer service experience. A poor customer service experience is never fun for anyone, and there’s no standard response to fit every situation. Use these phrases as a guideline for approach, and re-word them to fit your business and customer service style.