[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]
to talk to (someone) in a way that shows that you believe you are more intelligent or better than other people”
No decent customer service representative would ever knowingly speak to a customer in a patronizing manner, but does it happen by accident? After taking an informal poll of people who have recently contacted a customer care department, the answer is a resounding “yes”. But fear not, you can easily avoid this [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][apparently] common pitfall by simply avoiding a few trigger words.
No word raised more ire than the seemingly innocuous “unfortunately”. Don’t we all use it often? What could be so wrong with “unfortunately”? The answer is yes, and a lot! Instead of being an easy way to lead people into an answer they do not want to hear, “unfortunately” seems to instantly raise the hackles of many. They feel spoken down to, as if it’s assumed they “can’t handle the answer to follow”. Most people expressed a desire to hear the news in a straightforward manner, either preceded or followed by an expression of sincere regret and apology. Consider changing your language to “I am sorry to report that we oversold your item and cannot fulfill your order” instead of “Unfortunately, your item was oversold and we can’t fulfill your order”. The former is more sincere and direct, and customers greatly appreciate this.
Regretfully and sadly
Like “unfortunately”, both “regretfully” and “sadly” also get under customers’ skins, and for the same reasons. An easy way to stop using these words is to avoid starting sentences with adverbs (ending in “-ly”). They are passive statements and, although they are commonly heard, are generally considered to be poor grammar (a less often cited, but still notable objection from customers). Take ownership of your statements and responsibility for your company’s policies or mishaps by speaking from “I” rather than from these nebulous adverbs.
Adding another adverb to our list, “actually” was nearly tied with “unfortunately” for raising customers’ blood pressures. “Actually” is an implied correction that comes off as both condescending and argumentative. A customer might say, “I tried to call in three times yesterday and got a busy signal”. What he doesn’t to want to hear in response is, “Actually, we were closed yesterday”. Whether or not the customer misspoke about it being yesterday, two, or three days ago is not important, what is important is the customer’s frustration over his inability to reach the service center. Do not get lost in the weeds by trying to correct your customers, see the big picture and handle inaccuracies with grace.
Despite not being an adverb, another “-ly” word showed up in customers’ gripes: “only”. Perhaps it is due to being an already agitated customer, but there was surprising consensus regarding the use of “only” when addressing a customer’s problem. “Is this your only concern?” It may seem like a sincere and innocent question, but what many customers hear is condescension. As if their problems are being belittled. Simply switching “only” for “primary” can avoid this hot button issue for customers who start their contact with you in an irritated state.
Language mistakes are one of the most innocent mistakes we can make in customer service, but are relatively easy to correct once we take note of them. By focusing on eliminating these words, we can elevate our abilities to build rapport with our customers and solve their problems without unintentionally souring the case.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]