Zingtree Tags: writing

The Top Words You Should Avoid in Customer Service

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We have all been on the other end of a horrendous, perhaps even downright disastrous phone call or email with a customer service representative that is just plain untrained. We’re willing to bet that at least one of 8 words, or a derivative tone that one of those 8 words produces, were conveyed that left you with the feeling of being unheard.

It’s not uncommon, but it can (and should) be avoided — especially when its your own support staff committing the faux pas. Here’s our shortlist of words that are guilty of severe harm and worthy of making our blacklist of words and phrases to never use in your customer interactions.

1. “Can’t”

This one really needs no explanation, but nothing says “I’m unwilling to help you” better than this one.

2. “Rules,” “Protocol” or “Policy”

Any of these ridiculous words mean the same – “We have this wall in place so that I can’t or won’t help you.”

Sure there are certainly guidelines to follow, there are even situations that warrant hard and fast rules. Regardless, the customer does not need to feel that those rules were there to punish them personally!

3. “No”

We just abhor this word. Tell us “It’s a bit tough, but I can assure you that I will do my best to work with you.”

Anything but NO!

4. “Sir/Ma’am”

No other naming formality sends you to the bus of condescending “know-it-alls” than addressing someone this way. This is unfortunate because, personally, some of us like to address people this way as a form of respect. The problem is less about what is said and more about what is implied. There are too many grey areas and it would be best to avoid them if you are unsure.

5. “Wrong”

We have actually heard representatives say this one. “You are wrong.” Or, how about “You are wrong, Sir or Ma’am”… must we continue? Remember the mantra “the customer is always right?” It stands true.

6. “Job”

There’s very little worse than telling a customer what is and is not part of your job description. Don’t do it. We certainly know that it is not the job of the customer to know this. A simple, “I will work with so and so to get this matter handled” will suffice.

7. “Unreasonable”

It’s probably hard to imagine, but we have been on the receiving end of “that’s unreasonable.” Even if you sell ice cream and someone asks you to “throw in” sneakers… Ok, that’s probably unreasonable…BUT the point is that your tone can deliver a message of “work-with-it-ness”  in a way that your customers leads themselves to that realization or discovery without you even saying it at all!

8. “I’m losing ____ on this…”

Yes, this is not a word, but it deserves a spot on the list. No customer wants to hear a passive aggressive rant about how much your company is losing on the deal or I will make an exception to the rule, just for you.” Again, this one’s about tone and not so much about letting a customer know that something will be tough. See #s 2,3 and 7.


It’s not always easy identifying how words or tone may sometimes pull from the same box of taboo while dealing with your customers. And at the end of the day, implementing standardized Agent Scripts is an ideal way to avoid this in the long-term. We hope this list has given you or your team some things to keep in mind during key communications!

Ready to streamline your customer service efforts? Get started. 

The Best Way to Write Question & Answer Nodes

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Poorly written questions in your Zingtree decision trees can often lead to confused customers and incomplete results. A truly effective node will guide your user through a self-service experience that results in solving their problem or finding the correct answer to a question.

We break down some of the top ways to write powerful, practical questions that will help guide your customers through your decision trees, resulting in a positive and helpful experience for everyone!

1. Keep your questions simple and focused.

It’s important to avoid writing leading or loaded questions that could potentially steer your audience in a new path, or evoke an emotional response that could affect their answer selection. Additionally, long drawn out questions with unusual sentence constructions, and those with double-negatives, can often confuse your customer and lead to misinterpretation.

Keep your decision tree questions as simple as possible by focusing one one subject at a time, and structuring them in an easy-to-absorb way.

Bad: If our customer support knowledge base was not helpful for you, would you, or would you not, consider switching providers to solve your question or issue?

Good: Would you consider another service if you could not self-solve your problem using our FAQ?

2. Speak your audience’s language.

Every customer that goes through your decision tree should be able to easily understand the questions involved and select an answer that makes sense to them.

It’s always smart to avoid industry-specific or too-technical jargon to keep things as clear as possible. This sounds easy enough, but it can take some serious planning to reduce the messaging in your questions to speak the language of your customer while still conveying the general meaning.

Bad: What problems are you currently experiencing with our service or your account?

Good: How can we help you? Please select an option below. 

3. Write with an active voice.

Active voice is a direct, concise way to craft decision tree question and answer nodes. This style of writing clearly identifies the action and who is performing that action so that you can avoid wordy questions, and sounds stronger and more direct than a passive voice.

Active voice most closely resembles how people actually speak, which makes it much simpler for your customers to read through and understand.

Bad: Our recommended guidelines and instructions for solving your issue should be followed as written below.

Good: Follow our recommended guidelines below to solve your issue!


 

Taking the time to construct simple, concise, helpful question and answer nodes in decision trees will open up new opportunities for your audience to self-solve and connect with your brand.

Check out the Zingtree Gallery for live examples of decision trees with quality questions and answers!

How To Write Effective Nodes

 

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So, you’ve spent some time building the basic elements to your tree? Now you find yourself in a bit of a pickle –

  • What do I say in the Question or Answer Node?
  • Should I use the Link Node or should I just provide all of the information without linking?
  • How do I even begin tying Nodes together so that their function is truly realized?

Writing Nodes can be a bit challenging. This is because oftentimes writing nodes requires you to teardown your product or service in ways that you may not have EVER done before or maybe it has been a very long while since you have. Either way, there are four key tools to help you accomplish this! In this session, we will couple these tools along with fresh look inside the support that you dream of providing to your users.

 Learn about our methods to write the best nodes! (more…)