Zingtree Tags: support tips

The Top Words You Should Avoid in Customer Service


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 Most Common Customer Service Mistakes

Customer service is less of an exact science than its own art form — it takes a lot of careful thinking, patience and a natural finesse to pull off in a fun, fruitful way. When done well, customer service can benefit your business or organization in ways you can’t even imagine!

There are a lot of companies out there today making similar support mistakes; the biggest ones being that they haven’t yet moved to find a solution. Here are some of the most commonly found issues in customer service today.

1. Making it difficult to reach you.

One of the worst possible things you can do as a company is make it hard to get in contact with customer support; trust us, we’ve seen our fair share of websites and services that will make you jump through digital hoops to receive any kind of response from a person.

Perhaps the most important thing to do as a company working with customers is to provide a clear path of contact from anywhere on your website, support articles, marketing communications and more. Find your customers’ preferred contact method — whether it be email, chat and/or phone support — and work to provide it to them well.

2. Speaking negatively, or being difficult.

Screen Shot 2016-04-12 at 1.55.11 PMSupport representatives are the front-lines of any customer interaction, whether you are using phone, email or chat support. Employing agents who are prone to negativity and inflexibility don’t appear to be helpful to the customer and are extremely likely to leave the customer feeling dissatisfied.

Scripting solutions for representatives is a great way to build a custom, yet standardized, script that agents can follow along with during customer communications. Zingtree Agent Scripting allows you to see each session by agent, receive in-depth performance summaries and more.

3. Improperly training agents.

At the end of the day, an improperly trained support representative will likely encapsulate one or more of the mistakes listed above. For this reason, it’s incredibly important to take the necessary steps to properly train agents on standardized processes and correct etiquette, as well as empowering them to make decisions that will put customers first.

Adopting decision trees for training support employees on specific best practices, along with integrating scripting solutions, is the perfect way to get the most (and best) out of agents. You can check out the Zingtree Gallery for training decision tree examples to copy, and draw inspiration from.

4. Using out-dated support systems.

Assuming that your customers don’t care about the methods of receiving answers is always a mistake. The customer’s perceived experience will often set the tone for how they feel about your company as a whole, and so it’s important to keep up when it comes to your customer support platforms.

Companies that integrate interactive troubleshooters, FAQs and more into their support processes have seen a 20% overall reduction in support costs on average, simply through making it easy to provide help across a variety of topics. This, in turn, helps to cultivate happy, long-term customers.

Ready to improve your customer support process? Get started with Zingtree support solutions today.