9 Customer Service Phrases That Pressure Cook Problems [Infographic]

9 Customer Service Phrases That Pressure Cook Problems [Infographic]

Have you ever reached out to a company’s customer service department only to be more annoyed after communicating with them? Don’t let that happen with your customers! We believe that text messaging can be a great tool to build strong relationships with your clients, but only if you avoid saying the wrong things that can exacerbate any issues that arise when you customers actually do get in touch with you.

Remember, a disgruntled customer isn’t actually the end of the world. In fact, they’ll teach you how to quickly adjust to different people and situations — turning you into a better support representative.

When it comes to customer outreach, especially with mass text messaging, practice really does make perfect. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, and try different problem-solving tactics.

Customer Service Phrases to Avoid

Your business’s success hinges on your ability to communicate with customers. Some of these phrases might be ingrained in your consciousness after years of being on the receiving end of them, but if you want to strive for best of class customer support it’s important to find different ways to communicate. Remember, at the end of the day, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else will.

1. Let me look into that

The problem with “let me look into that” is the customer doesn’t know if you actually will look into it, or when. They don’t know if they’ll end up calling back, sitting on hold for another 30 minutes and working their way through the system just to get their answer or if you’ll surprise them by following up.

What to say instead: Instead of being vague, try giving your customer a solid action plan that you intend to follow. You don’t have to give them an entire report of the exact steps you’ll take to solve their problem, but explain to them how you’ll look into it, when they can expect to hear back to you, and how you’ll contact them to follow up.


2. Unfortunately, no…

First off, no one wants to hear no — even if it’s the truth. The word “no” makes people either tune you out or double down on their aggression. Plus, the word “unfortunately” can come across as hollow. Is it really unfortunate for you, or are you just looking for a way to appear nice while trying to move on to the next problem?

What to say instead: Rather than giving a blunt “no,” try offering alternative options. Bonus points if the other option or solution you come up with is somehow better than what you had to say no to.


3. There’s nothing I can do

Try taking an approach that comes from a place of knowing there’s always something you can do. Even if you’re just listening to the problem and offer a sympathetic ear it’s better than doing nothing.

What to say instead: Let the person you’re talking with know you understand their frustration and want to find a way to help.


4. Let me correct you on that

Yikes — being correct automatically conjures up memories of grade school, discipline and arguments. Correcting someone puts you on the defense as if you’re the bad guy. That’s probably not a position you want to set yourself up for.

What to say instead: Assume that somewhere along the line you didn’t explain everything to the customer. Offer to clarify or provide additional information so the situation makes more sense to whoever you’re talking to.


5. There must have been a miscommunication

This could come across as passive aggressive to the person you’re talking to. You’re admitting that someone got their wires crossed but not necessarily taking ownership of that — leaving room to possibly blame the customer. Ultimately, it won’t help solve the situation faster — which should be your goal.

What to say instead: Own the fault on this one and suggest that you must have misunderstood. Then try to figure out how to solve the problem quickly.


6. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry

Sometimes you do make legitimate mistakes that you have to apologize for, but don’t go overboard! Say you’re sorry and then move on to fixing the problem and finding a solution. Ultimately customers normally want the same thing you do — to rectify the issue and move on with their day. Saying sorry many times won’t help you get there. Be polite and contrite but then keep going.

What to say instead: Apologize appropriately and then point the conversation in the direction of finding a solution.


7. I have another call coming in, can you hang on?

This could make the customer feel like their problem doesn’t really matter. It might even give them anxiety that you won’t actually come back to them and that you’re just looking for a convenient way to get out of the conversation with them.

What to say instead: You can kindly ask if it’s alright to put them on hold while you find a solution.


8. I don’t have any record of your purchase/account/claim

This can be kind of terrifying for a customer because it instantly makes them feel like their problem is never going to be solved.

What to say instead: Sometimes people forget which address, phone number or email they used to make their order. Try to find out if the order could possibly be under a different identifier, or if they’re looking at the wrong order number.


9. That’s not something I can do

Even if you can’t help with a particular request, leaving the customer with no alternative options for solving their problem can be very frustrating for them. It could make them disillusioned with your company and annoyed at the extra work they have to go through to find the right person who can actually help them.

What to say instead: If you aren’t able to help them with their problem, offer to connect them to your supervisor or the next appropriate person who might be able to find a solution.


General Customer Support Tips

Customer support doesn’t always happen in real time. Sometimes you’re answering emails or texts to the company’s short code number. Even though these situations can be less heated, it’s still important to remember overarching principles of customer service so that you can respond in the most helpful way possible.

Here are six tips that come in handy no matter what kind of customer service situation you find yourself in:

  1. Don’t take it personal. You are more than just a customer service representative and this one situation will not define your entire career. Breathe, relax, let the bad vibes go and respond with calmness.
  2. Show off your personality. This increases trust and helps people relate to you and the solution.
  3. Don’t rely on automation. While automation brings a lot of value, especially with email and automated text messages, your customers should get you; not your automated bot in service situations.
  4. Prioritize a solution. Instead of focusing on the problem, work towards results.
  5. Don’t sacrifice your safety. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, ask for help.
  6. Once the problem has been solved, move past it. Get over problems quickly and move on to whatever’s next.

Regardless of whether you are communicating with your customers by phone, email, or using an online text messaging service, all of the principals stated above remain. You must find ways to connect with your customers on a deeper, more genuine level and handle issues with the utmost care. Put yourself in their shoes and bend over backwards for them as often as you can.


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