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Six Customer Service Phrases That Will Change the Way You Do Support

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Increase customer satisfaction with the right customer service phrases.

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As it turns out, phrasing is responsible for a lot more than funny fails.

In fact, word choice can make a huge difference when it comes to changing the way people act or feel.

Late last year, Facebook changed the “Hide/Mark as spam” option to “I don’t want to see this.”

The result?

A 58% increase in the number of people who would provide feedback on posts in their feed.

That massive of an increase—just by changing a few words!

The same principle can be applied to support: using the right customer service phrases in your communication can make the difference between a bad customer experience and a delightful one.

Today, we’ll talk about six phrases to use to deliver awesome customer service and build better relationships with your customers.

Six Customer Service Phrases For Excellent Support

1) “I Don’t Know, But I’ll Find Out for You.”

In a 2011 customer service survey, American Express asked respondents which common customer service phrases annoyed them most.

The winner?

Especially if you’re a company in a saturated market, your customers have plenty of choices for who to do business with.

Handing them off like hot potatoes is a great way to drive them away from you due to the sheer amount of (pointless and annoying) effort they have to put into trying to get help or information.

Good customer service isn’t always about knowing the right answer. Often, it’s about finding the right answer so that your customer doesn’t have to.

Reducing customer effort is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your support is truly exceptional. Don’t make your customers chase you.

2) “I’d Be Frustrated Too.”

There’s plenty of research on the importance of empathy in customer service, but the topic is best summed up by Seth Godin in a one-line blog post:

The simplest customer service frustration question of all:
“Why isn’t this as important to you as it is to me?”

We’ve all been there, whether it’s in a customer support setting or an argument with a friend or family member: it doesn’t feel good to talk to someone when you don’t think the person “gets” why you’re mad, upset or disappointed.

That’s why it’s critical to not just have and develop empathy, but to convey it to your customer.

There are plenty of tough customer service scenarios waiting to happen, and while mastering empathy in customer service might feel overwhelming at first, it becomes easier and easier as you work on it—just as with any skill.

Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still be genuinely sorry about the way the customer feels. Let them know that.

3) “I’d Be Happy to Help You With This.”

Researchers Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, in their book Words Can Change Your Brain, found that using—and hearing—positive words can actually change the way we see reality.

Simply by using positive words, you can make your customers (and yourself) feel more positive.

In a world where 95% of customers have taken action (e.g. abandoned a business or complained about it to others) because of a negative customer experience, a simple tactic like adding more positive power words to your support interactions can make a big difference.

So when a customer emails you about an issue that they’re having, instead of responding with “I’ll look into this for you,” tell them that you’d be happy to help.

Using the power of positive words in customer service is a psychological trick that is easy to implement while still helping your customers have more positive experiences—both in the moment and over the long-term course of your relationship with them.

4) “I’ll Send You an Update by [Day or Time].”

If a customer sends an email “checking in” on the status of their support request, we consider that a failure on our part.

In testing at Groove, we’ve found that customers who proactively reach out to us report satisfaction scores, on average, about 10% lower than customers who don’t inquire.

The two things that we do to avoid check-ins are:

1. Make sure that we proactively keep the customer posted as often as possible (at least once per day).

2. Let the customer know exactly when they should expect to hear from us.

While you can’t always promise a solution by a given time, you can always promise an update.

Delivering on that promise doesn’t just keep the customer informed about the status of their request, but it’s another opportunity to build trust and let them know that you truly understand and care about the inconvenience they’re experiencing.

5) “I Really Appreciate You Letting Us Know.”

According to a survey by Lee Resources International, for every customer who complains, there are 26 customers who don’t say anything at all.

Each customer complaint could mean that dozens of other customers are having the same problem and not letting you know.

That means that resolving the problem for a single customer could make dozens of other customers happier at the same time.

That’s a huge opportunity.

In Dale Carnegie’s famous book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, one of Carnegie’s fundamental techniques is being generous with appreciation.

“In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.”

Simply saying “thank you” to a customer is a powerful way to strengthen your relationship with them.

Receiving gratitude doesn’t just change the way we think and feel; it changes the way we behave for the better.

Did they give you feedback? Say “thank you”. Did they report a bug? Say “thank you”. Did they complain about something? Say “thank you”.

Make sure your customer knows how much you appreciate their email, no matter what the tone or contents of it are.

6) “Is There Anything Else I Can Help You With?”

Despite our best efforts and intentions, we don’t always get it right.

In fact, one survey suggests that although 94% of online retailers provide email customer service, 27% of email inquiries are answered incorrectly.

The fact is that there are times that our answers don’t end up being helpful. The problem is that research shows us that most people won’t speak up about problems.

So, if your reply isn’t helpful, some customers won’t proactively ask you to clarify or help any further.

That’s what makes this one of the most helpful customer service phrases you can use. By leaving the door open and inviting the customer to respond, you’ll give them a chance to let you know if anything remains unresolved.

Add These Customer Service Phrases to Your Support Vocabulary

Incorporating these keywords and phrases into your customer service interactions is an instant win; it’ll take no time to do, and will reward you with happier, more loyal customers.

Constantly discussing and improving on what you want your phrasing, voice and tone to be like means that it’ll start becoming second nature for everyone in your company, not just customer support.

Are there any phrases you’ve found to be “silver bullets” for making customers happier? Or are there any commonly used ones that instantly make you cringe?

Leave a comment and let us know!

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About the Author

Len Markidan heads up marketing at Groove. He’s focused on helping startups and small businesses build better relationships with their customers.

Read his latest posts or follow him on Twitter

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