3 Expert Customer Service Language Tips to Never Forget

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their very own.

As a customer support marketing consultant and coaching designer, one factor I assist my consumer corporations to do is enhance the best way they use language round their clients. Listed below are my ideas on three language-related customer support behavioral points:

  1. The Cash-Language Pit
  2. The “How are you?” Ping-Pong Sport (and the significance of not dropping that “how are you?” ping-pong ball)
  3. My ideas on utilizing humor in customer support and different customer-facing roles.

Associated: We Have an Empathy Disaster on Our Fingers. This is The best way to Fight the Rising Pattern of Poor Buyer Service.

The cash language pit

Cash — notably cash owed — is a topic that, if talked about too instantly, could be off-putting to clients. I might keep away from telling a buyer one thing like,

“Hey Pat, you continue to owe us $339,000,000.33.”

Pat could certainly owe you that cash, however this phrasing makes you sound accusatory. It is such as you’re saying that Pat desires to pull his ft and even abscond with out paying down his $339-million-and-change steadiness.

The identical level may very well be higher conveyed by,

“Our information present a present steadiness of $339,000,000.33.”

Identical level, gentler language.

Associated: Do not Get Defensive — Keep away from These 7 Phrases When Speaking With an Indignant Individual

The “How Are You Doing?” ping-pong recreation

If you’re responding to a buyer who’s simply requested,

“How are you?”

I recommend you reply with the next, “I am doing nice. How are you?”

Any response alongside these traces is okay. The necessary factor is that you simply reciprocate — returning the verbal ping-pong ball to the shopper’s aspect of the desk — relatively than letting the “How are you?” ball drop to the ground.

Admittedly, the “How are you?” ritual is mainly an empty trade. However since it is the buyer who has initiated it, it’s essential to assist your aspect of an necessary a part of communication: reciprocity. So, please do not simply reply with,

“Good,” or “I am nice,” or “I am properly,”

and let the dialog die proper there. Likewise, please don’t reply with a cold, “I am properly; how can I assist?” with out first asking the shopper how they’re doing.

Your supply of help doesn’t substitute the necessity to reciprocate their inquiry into your well-being. The truth is, it arguably implies that such pleasantries are a waste of your time and that the shopper ought to hurry up and get to the meat of the dialog.

Associated: 5 Methods to Construct Killer Relationships With Clients

Humor in customer support

Must you ever allow your customer support workers and different customer-facing workers members to take pleasure in humor? Though I’ve some reservations about this professionally, as a buyer, I positively take pleasure in it.

I can nonetheless make myself chuckle by considering again to the time I requested for espresso on JetBlue, and the flight attendant replied,

“Give me a minute to burn a brand new pot for you.”

Or, once I was on a Virgin America (now part of Alaska Airways) flight, and the pilot got here out of the cockpit to apologize for the late departure and promised to…

“…fly it like we stole it!” and nonetheless get us to our vacation spot on time.

And on Southwest, when the flight attendant warned passengers who prematurely unbuckled their seatbelts relatively than ready for the chime,

“I might preserve your seatbelt on if I have been you. He is an excellent pilot, however he is a awful driver.”

Or the dentist who, once I doubted his declare that I used to be grinding my enamel at evening, instructed me,

“Nicely, any individual has been grinding them.”

And the time I instructed a lady answering the telephone at a brand new vendor that I discovered their costs surprisingly affordable, and she or he shot again,

“I can increase them only for you!”

The upside to injecting your private model of humor into customer support is that it may be memorable, disarming, and an prompt bonding expertise. The draw back is that it is onerous to know your viewers and predict their sensibilities and sensitivities.

The “burn a brand new pot” implied that “we’re all on this airplane cabin expertise collectively, and I am going that will help you take pleasure in it through the use of my complete persona.” However a much less understanding (grumpier!) passenger is perhaps impressed to tweet, “The espresso requirements are so low on this airline that even the flight attendant realizes it.”

The issue right here is that two folks can hear the identical phrases and stroll away with two completely totally different takes on it. You have in all probability seen this in motion at work. You suppose your coworker is a complete sweetheart, however one other worker sees him as a phony.

Why does this occur? Nicely, quite a lot of it comes all the way down to cultural variations. Tradition is like this massive soup of assumptions, traditions, and values {that a} group cooks up over time. So, somebody from a unique tradition may interpret your conduct in methods you’d by no means even dream of, all due to their very own cultural soup. (However do not get carried away. Issues like persona or household background can have an even bigger influence on a person’s values than broad societal norms.)

The problem is that you simply’re guessing about humor — and guessing is at all times dangerous. So, not like most different hard-and-fast language pointers I can lay down for you, that is an space the place you’re by yourself. Good luck, buttercup!

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