When training call centre agents, a lot of emphasis goes into exactly what they SHOULD say. Scripts and prompts are often put in place to ensure that the right things are said at the right time. These are valuable methods, but it is also important to ensure that staff know what NOT to say. Here are four phrases that particularly frustrate customers, that agents should always aim to avoid.
1. “I don’t know.”
When customers need help or support, “I don’t know” are three words they do not need to hear. Saying it sounds vague and uncaring and can leave the customer feeling anxious and uncertain. Instead, consider phrases like “let me find out for you.” This shows the customer that you are willing to help and prepared to be pro-active in finding a solution.
2. “Let me correct you.”
Angry customers do not like to be corrected, and this particular phrase can sound patronising or condescending. If the customer has wrong information, then you should politely explain that there has been a misunderstanding. You can proceed to clearly present them with the correct information, without making them feel belittled or embarrassed.
3. “Calm down.”
When someone is angry, annoyed or upset the words “calm down” rarely do anything to help. If anything, they can exacerbate the situation. The most effective way to calm someone down is to speak in a calm manner yourself, while carefully and politely dealing with their enquiry.
4. “Please hold.”
Asking a customer to hold or wait is too vague and can put people off right away. Anticipating a long hold time can be enough to make the caller hang up the phone and try somewhere else. If you need the customer to hold, try to be more specific. For example, “I’m just going to pop you on hold while I look into that for you, I shouldn’t be more than a minute” sounds much more professional.
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