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Nine things you should never say to a customer

The words that you use with customers can help you communicate effectively…or can sometimes generate bad feeling.

Your tone of voice makes a huge difference to the way your message is received. Keep your voice friendly, actively listen to what the customer is saying and show your interest by little nods of your head or words like ‘I see’.

Here are three vital things to remember:

  1. NEVER blame the customer. When trying to find what went wrong, use the indirect approach or ‘I statements’. I can see that you are very upset. Could you tell me exactly what happened?
  2. Avoid giving orders: ‘You have to…’ The customer doesn’t HAVE to do anything.
  3. State what you CAN do – not what you CAN’T do. Replace ‘I can’t do that’ with ‘I don’t have the authority to take that action, but I’ll get my supervisor to contact you. What’s the best time to catch you?’

Are you guilty of saying any of these negative phrases to a customer?

Here are 9 Forbidden Phrases …and a few strategies for turning negatives into positives

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘Are you sure?’
    Explanation: It sounds as if you don’t believe the customer.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘That’s most unusual. Would you mind telling me exactly what happened?’

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘You’re confusing me….’
    Explanation: You’re blaming the customer for confusing you

    Positive way to handle the problem
    Always attribute any blame to yourself, rather than the customer. Say: “I’m sorry, but I’m not clear about the problem. Would you mind telling me exactly what’s wrong please?”
  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘What’s the problem this time?’
    Explanation: You’re inferring that the customer is a troublemaker. Even if he is, you don’t need to come on so strong.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘How can I help you, Mr Smith?’

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘You’re wrong……’

Explanation: Never tell the customer they are wrong! Assume the blame for not understanding the problem to avoid an all-out war. (You will NOT win!)

Positive way to handle the problem
“There seems to be a misunderstanding”

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE’: No one else has complained …….’

Explanation: This infers that the customer is a first-class whinger.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘Would you mind telling me what happened?

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘Who told you that?’

Explanation: This infers that there’s a problem within your team and you are trying to fix the blame onto someone.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘There seems to be a misunderstanding. Would you mind telling me what happened?’

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘It’s not my job.

Explanation: As far as the customer is concerned, it IS your job! Whoever answers the phone or is on the desk IS the organisation to the customer and is responsible for helping the customer.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘Please tell me how I can be of assistance and I will make sure that (the nominated person) gets back to you on this.

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘You’ll have to …..’

Explanation: The customer doesn’t HAVE to do anything. If you want their business, you HAVE             to look after them.

Positive way to handle the problem
‘Would you mind…?’

  1. NEGATIVE PHRASE: ‘It’s company policy….’

Explanation :This is like a red rag to a bull. Give the reasons for the policy and you will generate understanding instead of thoughts of murder. Most importantly, tell the customer you want to help them…and mean it!

Positive way to handle the problem
‘The reason for this policy is ….. I really want to help you fix this problem. How do you think we can reach agreement?’
Note: Always work within your policies and procedures.

Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll find that your customers are much nicer to work with….and they keep coming back….and your business continues to flourish…and your staff keep their jobs…need I say more?

This is an excerpt from the course ‘Customer Service Magic’ soon to be available as an ebook.

Empower your staff to look after your customers and keep your business booming by running your own course in your own workplace. ‘Customer Service Magic’ is available as a face-to-face course in your own workplace.

http://smartstartmarketing.com.au/customer-service-courses/

 

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