Some things are better left unsaid more so, when they are to be said to customers. This is true for your private life, but it’s also more true when it comes to communication with your customers.
Regardless of the size of an organization, every business has to deal with customers, food or bad. Whether it is getting feedback on services rendered or good old support service, complaints or grievances of a customer(s), every business must remain alive to these responsibilities and obligations.
This interaction or relationships can at times be quite tricky as one misstep, one bad experience, you can become the victim of bad publicity, which has the potential of damage your brand reputation in the marketplace with its grievous consequences. And yes, there is such a thing as bad publicity in the marketplace and its real and must be watched by every business.
Here is a quick rundown of some 10 things you should never say to your customer under any circumstance. They are things you must to say despite the provocation. The reality of taming your your tongue and character.
“That’s not so bad”
Saying “that’s not so bad” to a customer’s about their complaints and misgivings makes it seem you are not sensitive to their needs and do not take the customer’s troubles seriously. You are asking the customer feel or accept the fact that they are considered as below par in your sight.
Rather than passing this “insensitive” comment, genuinely listen to the customer’s complaint and offer a suitable solution as much as possible. Do not leave such a lazy comment or impression in the customer mind.
”Listen to me …”
Don’t show impatience or intolerance in front of the customer. “Listen to me” sounds rude and patronizing, more like where one is talking to a kid or his/her subjects (e.g. domestic staff – house help, maid & driver). Remember, the customer is King, he/she is the reason why you are in business. If the customer is angry already, this will surely make him even more nervous and we wouldn’t want that.
“Let me try to do that…”
Try? That sounds like your customers may not get their issues resolved (i.e. trial and error) more like a guess work, and demonstrates a lack of self-confidence on your part to get the issue or complaint resolved. If you need to ask someone else, or get approval, simply say that you’re doing that rather than passing such lousy comment. Don’t sound unsure about whether or not you can help the customer. Be confident and reassuring in your deliveries–be sure you can get the job done.
“I will tell them”
You have to realize that the customer whose complaints you are handling has no inkling about the inner workings of your organization, as such saying “I will tell them” sounds like you do not want to take responsibility for the resolution of the issue and also give the impression that you are incompetent as the representative of organization in that situation and passing the responsibility to more capable hands who the customer would have rather spoken with to in the first place. You are at the point the contact person of the organization for the customer, therefore, you must be reassuring and confident in fixing the issue even though you are not the direct person that is responsible for the issue resolution. Save the customer the internal workings/bureaucracies within you organization and get the matter resolve within the agreed turnaround time (TAT).
“You shouldn’t have done that”
Don’t put the customer on the spot as that is not the reason for your being there. You are there to solve the customers’ problems and difficulties in using you products/services and not judge them. Ever heard of “the customer is always right”? They should never be questioned even when they were the ones who caused the problem.
“Are you sure?”
Customers can be wrong certainly, but service representatives shouldn’t point it out as there is no need to do so. It’s tempting to do so–especially if you feel the customer is being silly, making an issue out of nothing or being unnecessarily difficult. But doing so discounts their feelings and makes them feel foolish, which may escalate the situation. Focus on the goal, which is to resolve their issue and delight them and not to pick on their inadequacies.
“You’re the first one to complain about this”
Most customers walk away without ever saying a word when words like this are thrown at them but of course there is a conspiracy in such silence. As such, you need to carefully select words that you say to customers. Many customers don’t complain, so when you hear one, you need to cherish them. Imagine there are many more unspoken issues like that. A customer who gives a unique complaint is doing you a favor by pointing to a potential bigger problem, which you have an opportunity to correct. Instead, say, “That’s interesting. What more can you tell me?” You are probably learning about the complaint at the time because a couple of other customers had silently worked away with that bad experience.
“To be honest”
Saying to be honest while talking to a customer might seem to be a good phrase in order to earn a customer’s trust. However, the truth is, it is actually the opposite as the customer would go away with the impression that things previously said were far away from the truth.
If there is one phrase that has the power to escalate any flare of anger is this one. Telling someone to calm down is like adding fuel to a burning fire or oil to a hot pan, it simply explodes. The best thing you can do in such stressful situations, is just letting the customer vent his/her anger and left it off his chest. Let him voice his/her anger, frustrations and pain points out. Pay attention to all that he/she has to say and keep affirming with soothing words like “I understand…” or “I get you….”. Above all, be reassuring and show your sensitivity and concerns for their issues.
This might seem to be causal reply to make the customer relax, however, it can come across as cavalier. Why not rather respond with, “You’re welcome” “glad I can be of service” are more fine retorts to use. This shows direct appreciation for the customer patronage of the company.
Being silence without altering a word while a customer makes a complaint is not courteous and could pass a message that you are rude . You may sincerely be trying to avoid escalating the issue but certainly to be abruptly silent. While we are not saying you should butt in when the customer is talking, we mean the silence of not responding to inquiries and answering pertinent questions and complaints. Responding to customers is crucial. Make sure they know you can hear them and you are working on making things better.