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Keep Your Customers Listening: Avoid These 5 Cliche Call Center Phrases

How do you keep your customers happy over the phone?

If you’ve ever been stuck on the phone with the typical call center, you can practically predict what they’re going to say. It’s no wonder that call centers have become the butt of jokes when so many recite the same tired scripts, over and over again. To keep your customers listening, here are five cliché phrases your agents should stop using and what they should say instead:

  1. “The customer is always right.” Actually, the customer isn’t always right – and that’s okay. But while your customer may be wrong, his or her feelings are still valid and should be addressed. Treat this situation as a learning experience for your customer and gently educate him or her on your policies while trying to fix the situation …
  2. “This is a unique opportunity.” Even if your offer is unique or special, avoid saying it is. People tend to assume this is typical sales language and will tune out the details of the offer. Steer clear of words like “unique” or “one-of-a-kind,” and tell the customer the specifics of the deal instead. Show them why the opportunity is special versus telling them that it is.
  3. “I’m not trying to sell you anything.” Unless customers ask, steer clear of telling them you’re not selling something. If you are selling something, telling customers that you’re not is disingenuous; if you’re not selling something, this phrase raises red flags and makes listeners wary. To prevent this scenario, simply indicate the nature of the call in a clear and honest way.
  4. “I apologize for the inconvenience.” When handling customer service calls, it’s important to acknowledge and resolve problems; however, this exact phrasing is overused. Apologize for specific situations instead of uttering this broad, generic statement.
  5. “I understand you’re frustrated with this situation.” Similar to apologies, the best way to show customers you understand their dilemma is to incorporate unique details. For example, “I understand you’re frustrated your order didn’t ship in the stated timeframe and would like to help you” shows a customer you’re listening to his or her problem and are working toward a solution.

The last two items on the list illustrate the biggest problem with call center conversations: they feel emotionless, forced and robotic. Instead of providing a script for callers to follow, coach your agents to exhibit empathy for customers and to personalize their responses rather than recite generic lines.

Looking to improve your call center even further? Please visit our article How to Improve Call Center Efficiency in 7 Steps.

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