We could go on and on about the attributes that make a great call center agent, but sometimes, it’s the things the agents don’t say that matters most. If you really want to up your game at work, strike these phrases from your vocabulary.
5 Phrases Call Center Agents Should Avoid (and What to Say Instead)
Stop and think about it for a second… has telling someone to calm down ever actually resulted in them calming down? When you tell a customer to “calm down,” you’re sending the signal that their frustrations aren’t valid, and it can feel belittling. If you’re dealing with an angry customer who does, in fact, need to calm down before you can effectively help them, try leading with empathy. Put yourself in their position, and imagine how you would feel. Explain to your customer that you understand their frustration, and you would like to help them but you are unable to until they can calmly discuss the issue.
Try: “I’m sorry to hear about that, and I can see where you’re coming from. I would really like to help you get to the bottom of the issue, but I won’t be able to assist you until you can calmly discuss it with me.”
“Just go to our website”
This phrase ranks as one of the most irritating phrases a customer can hear, right along with “that’s not my department” and “you need to speak with someone else.” When a customer hears this, they hear “I can’t/won’t help you.” Again, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. They don’t know the inner-workings of the business, all they know is that they have an issue and they need assistance. Perhaps they’ve already tried navigating the website, or maybe they’ve been transferred to you by another department. Instead of being so quick to redirect them, take a moment to fully understand their problem. If you can solve it, do so, but if not, try to get them to the correct department as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Try: “That information is available online at (website), but if you would like, I can assist you with it right now.” Or “Unfortunately I can’t help you with that here, but (name) over in (department) can work through that with you. I will transfer you directly to him/her.”
“As I said…”
Just like with the phrase “calm down,” this one has a dismissive and belittling ring to it. Sometimes customers need to hear information more than once to fully grasp it, especially in technical situations. Remember- your customers don’t know the business like you do. You’re paid to be an expert… and you’re paid to help the customer. When in doubt, think about how you would want someone to treat your grandmother.
Try: “Did you get that? I’m happy to repeat it for you if you would like.”
“I don’t know.”
To be clear, it is okay to not know the answer. Sometimes you’ll be asked questions that you simply don’t know how to answer. It’s not okay to stop there. When you are asked a question that you can’t answer, you need to find the information for the customer.
Try: “I don’t have that answer for you, but I will find out. Can I get back to you?”
“To be honest…”
Using this phrase calls into question everything you’ve said up to this point. Does this mean you weren’t being honest before? Are you about to share some insider information you shouldn’t be sharing? Saying “to be honest…” automatically jeopardizes your credibility with the caller.
Try: Really, just avoid this phrase altogether. If you have to begin a sentence in this way, try something like “In all honesty…,” “Really…,” or “Essentially…”
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