10 Statements A Call Center Rep Must Never Use

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When a customer contacts a call center rep for help, complain, or seeks help in a product or service-related breakdown, there is almost nothing that matters more to the ultimate success of the company than the language the representatives use. There are lots of things a call center service rep can say that come by as condescending, tacky, or flippant. Things that could destroy the customer experience instantly.

According to a study, nearly 70% of customers will quit doing business with an organization because they felt that a customer service agent treated them rudely or with indifference. Sometimes even these employees did not even realize it. Even the professionals who pore over the copy they present to customers overlook some phrases that apparently turn off customers.

The worst part is that most customers are not going to tell you that they were bothered or offended by what you said. They will just resent the experience, vent it elsewhere, and probably and not come back. It is for this reason that when companies consider inbound call center outsourcing, they need to ensure that the language agents in the outsourcing company use, is intentionally chosen, ideally coded, and immortalized in a way that all agents can refer to.

10 Things That Customers Hate Hearing From A Call Center Rep

  1. “I don’t know” or “I am not sure”
    No one expects a customer service rep to know all the answers, but these two phrases can ultimately kill the confidence a customer has in an agent or the entire organization. Imagine a scenario where you are calling your internet service provider to find out something you don’t understand in the bill that has no explanation. The agent on the other edge cannot explain it either; they just tell you I don’t know” or “I am not sure”. Such answers are as unsatisfying as they are insulting. Customer service representatives should at least be confident and positive about finding out the things they do not know. Let the customer know that you can certainly find out for them.
  2. “That is not so bad”
    It does not matter whether the customer’s problem seems minor or serious to you. If the customer finds the issue serious enough to take the effort to contact you, then it is serious. Customers appreciate when they feel valued and such a phrase would downplay the issue they are trying to raise, leaving them feeling silly and unimportant. Often, call center reps use such a phrase when there is an easy fix to a problem. The most professional way to deal with such issues is to start off by showing that you understand the seriousness of the issue raised, and then present the solution.
  3. “Listen to me …”
    Most customers will interpret this as rude and as a sign of impatience. It sounds condescending like the agent is talking to a kid. Recently, a customer complained on Twitter about a rep in a big cable company who used the statement to her as she was trying to raise an issue to have her cable replaced. The customer said she felt like the rep acted as if he was the ‘sergeant in charge’ which the customer so much detested. If the customer is already angry, such a statement will surely make them even more uneasy.
  4. “Calm Down…” or “Lower your voice”
    This is one statement that has the power to explode any flare of anger. It is like adding oil to a hot pan; it is explosive. The best thing an agent can do in stressful situations just allows the customer to speak it out. In their minds, customers are 100%justified in losing their temper. Angry customers already have scripts on their minds; they have a speech and they want to let you have it as well. Let them say all that they feel they need to say, you should only respond after allowing them to get it all out. Listen to all that they say and keep agreeing with statements like “I understand…” or “I see…”
  5. “What is it this time?”
    Almost all customers feel that this is a negative phrase that infers to a customer as a troublemaker. Some customers have cases that can delicately be described as “bad luck”. Some seem never satisfied, they complain a lot; it is one issue after another. Even if the customer is a troublemaker, a customer service rep should never come on so strong. The most appropriate way to handle such a problem is to calmly and politely ask the customer how you can help them.
  6. “I swear”
    Swearing at a customer is viewed to be insulting, and it is a sinful no-go for call center rep. Remember, an agent a representative of the company, and swearing displays unprofessionalism and can be extremely offensive. Even if you are just letting out some words without directing them to the customer, swearing is offensive. You are not representing yourself but the company, and so you need to use precise language to put your point across.
  7. “Are you sure?”
    Customers could be wrong or genuinely mistaken. Too bad… But never directly doubt their feelings or statements as this can only make an already bad situation worse. Instead, seek a better understanding or ask questions. Customer service reps have to be credulous in customer service. If a customer says the red button is blinking blue, you just need to go with it. Validate the customers’ position while assisting and keep the conversation solution-focused and objective. Not matter how justified you are, such a question is likely to be considered offensive.
  8. “It is the company’s policy” or “That’s against our policy”
    These two statements are viewed as a red rag or unnecessary. Something could be against the company’s policy but if the customer is not aware of the policy ahead of time, the terms and conditions are irrelevant. Call center reps should only refer to a company’s policy when the customer is fully aware of the policy and has agreed to the terms and conditions. As a call center rep, you need to give reasons for the policy and generate an understanding and most importantly tell the customer that you want to help them. Your internal policy decisions as a company have nothing to do with a customer’s expectation of satisfaction, and such statements exude rigidity and inflexibility; which is the last thing a customer expects.
  9. “Let me try to do that…”
    A customer cares about results and not your effort. Tell customers what you will do instead of saying “Trying” generates uncertainty, which is certainly the kiss of death to your relationship with the customers. If a customer requests an accelerated delivery, an agent can say, “I’ll call our distributor and get the best schedule possible.” You should never imply that you are working extra hard on behalf of the customer by “trying.”
  10. “There’s nothing I can do”
    This is one sentence every customer hates. It is a frustrating statement that makes customers wonder why they wasted time on the phone with you. Of course, there is always an option, including returning the customer’s money. The call center rep should focus on problem-solving rather than diverting or putting a customer off. Find creative alternatives and innovative solutions to the problems raised by customers.

Ensure Your Call Center Rep Never Use The Above

These days, customers expect nothing short of a high-quality call center service from every company. They do not only have high expectations but are also likely to become highly frustrated if they do not get special attention and their issues are dealt with in a timely and respectful manner. Whatever you say during your next phone customer interaction, make sure you avoid using any of these statements! Make the experience better for all your customers.

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