Three phrases guaranteed to upset customers

Posted: 4th July, 2017 in Business writing & email etiquette, Case Studies, Communications, Customer Service, Personal effectiveness, Sales , Tips & Tricks, Training and mentoring

Often when we are talking to a customer, everything seems to be going well and then something changes? You can almost feel the temperature in the room drop and there is a chill in the conversation?

The other person’s attitude becomes a little defensive or clipped and we wonder what could possibly have gone wrong?

Without even realising it, our knee jerk reaction kicks in and we become a little defensive. We begin to believe the customer is overreacting, a little unreasonable or just wants everything their own way.

How often do we stop and look at things objectively? Do we ever stop and think that perhaps it was something we might have said that upset them? 

If the answer is "Yes", then we are the road of self-awareness and are likely to develop and grow as a better communicator and provider of excellent customer service.

However, let’s be honest and admit the majority of us will not pick up on these cues every time. As human beings, we can become distracted in our own thoughts and make mistakes. So, we do not always stand back and evaluate what we have said.   

Perhaps now is the time to take notice of what we say. "Trigger words" are phrases used in everyday language and guaranteed to upset customers in less time than it takes to start a Ferrari. 

Most people are unaware of the impact these expressions have on customers. Here are a few examples of trigger words and alternative sayings to try out. You might just be pleasantly surprised at the positive reaction.

1. "You will have to..." When we are customers looking for advice or guidance, most of us don’t like being “told” what to do. We feel the other person is being bossy, condescending and leaving us with little choice. It can also bring us back to the feeling of being back in school.

The best approach to use instead is “You will need to…or let me suggest…let me help you…”

2. "You should have done…" Once again, this saying is frequently used. Yet, the horse has already bolted from the stable and the milk has already been spilled. So instinctively, we react because we don’t want to be made feel like a fool and reminded of our mistakes.

The suggested alternative to use is “We need to get this sorted…so the best advice I can give you is to do…”

3. "As I said..." / "I just told you..." As a customer we believe, the person is becoming impatient with us. We feel they are scolding us for not listening. For the customer, there is a lot of information to take on board so we have to give them to take the details on board and digest them. 

Be prepared to repeat phrases and if you have said it many times, use “Perhaps you may remember I mentioned…”

To find out more about phrases like these, check out our training courses in "Customer Service & Complaint Handling"

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