Dealing with customer service representatives, particularly those stationed on phones in call centers, can be a frustrating experience. I always picture an episode of the television show Friends, where Phoebe takes a job as a call center operator selling toner. She's given a huge binder of scripts and slogans for every possible circumstance she might encounter with a potential customer, and is instructed to flip to the right section and read out her response. While entertaining on a sitcom, this sort of minimal training service can lead to maximum annoyance for those on the other line who are looking for a personalized experience rather than a canned response. That being said, here are five things your customer service reps should avoid saying at all costs, from Ron Burley at Inc.com:
- "That's our policy." Also known as "That's too bad, I'm not going to help you with your problem." There is no purpose to this phrase, other than to end the phone call (and probably end your relationship with that customer). Burley's response? "Your internal policy decisions have nothing to do with my expectations of customer satisfaction."
- "There's nothing I can do." Also known as "You're wasting your time here" or "My company doesn't empower me to make those decisions for you, and I'm not interested in finding someone who can." What's the point of a customer service help line if you're not actually going to help your customers?
- "Would you mind holding?" Everyone minds holding, so don't bother phrasing it as a question. What are you going to do if they say "Yeah, I do mind!"? Let them know you need to place them on hold, give them an estimate of how long they will be on hold (bonus points for telling them you'll check back in to provide updates if it is going to take longer than one minute), and tell them what you'll be doing ("I need to speak with a supervisor", "Let me pull up your account").
- "You can find that information on our website." Also known as "I don't feel like looking it up for you despite the fact that I am undeniably at a computer right now, so please handle your own customer service." If you absolutely must direct them to your website, send them an email with the exact link to the information they need.
- "That's not our responsibility." This is used a lot when the customer received a product from one company but the corresponding service from another (like cell service), or when a company is working as a conglomerate of other, smaller sellers (like Amazon.com). The bottom line is, if you took their money, you owe it to them to fix the associated problems.
For more common customer service phrases that drive your customers crazy, check out the comments section of the Yahoo! article, where thousands of consumers have posted their pet peeves. Or better yet, do a quick customer serivce survey to audit your call center. Are your employees saying these top pet peeves and ending customer relationships instead of improving them.