Your words matter: Choose wisely to create a positive customer experience

Hand-Rich-174By Rich Hand, RCDA Consultant

As contact center professionals, the words we use can make the difference between a good and great experience for the customer. In certain circumstances, it can also mean the difference in calming down an angry customer or escalating the situation beyond repair, resulting in the customer cancelling their service.

It is often the little things we do that make for the biggest differences, such as choosing the right word or phrase.

Let’s look at some common words and phrases our agents often use and how small changes could make big differences:

  • “No problem” – If your agents are using the phrase “No problem,” I suggest you coach them to turn this into, “My pleasure!” When we take care of our customers by solving a problem, fixing an issue or adding services to improve the customer experience, quite often a customer will thank the agent for their help. It might sound like this: “Thank you for taking care of my billing issue. You were the only one that took the time to fix it.”


Which words are more likely to leave a lasting impression with the customer?

  • “Cheaper” – When our agents offer alternative products or services to our customers, we often hear them say, “This will be a cheaper option.” Is anything we provide cheap? Cheap implies something without or with little value. It would be better to say something like, “This (change of service/additional product) is going to provide superior value for less money than you currently pay.”

There are many ways to rephrase cheaper, but avoiding the word “cheap”, will add value to the customer’s experience.

  • “Free” – Everybody loves “free” stuff. The problem with free is that it is often accompanied by the perception of no value. For example, if you are running a promotion and it includes a “free” six months of a premium upgrade, you want to maintain the value of that upgrade so when the promotion runs out, the customer wants to keep the valuable service. The alternative: “One of the great things about this promotional offer is you get the premium service, a $300 value, complimentary for the first six months. We are confident you will love getting this valuable offer and will want to keep it when it expires.”

The fact is that the service is free, but the value is not reduced when offered in this manner.

  • “It’s going to be more expensive” – “The great thing about this is for only $10 more a month, you will be getting 20 MBPS more speed to run your devices!” (You can place your product or service here). It works for every type of product or service.
  • “But” – Whenever we can, we should avoid the word. Using the word “but” heightens the customer’s awareness of the news you are about to deliver. For example: “Mr. Customer, I can fix the bill, but I can’t give you a credit for the past due fee.” Try this instead: “Mr. Customer, I can fix your bill, and once you pay the past due late fee, you will see a zero balance on your bill.”

Another example:

  • “I can provide you with an upgrade to your service, but not at the price you asked for.” Try this instead: “I can provide you with the upgrade, which is a great value, and the price will only be $20 more a month.”

Here are some other examples:

  • “A $30.00 monthly savings” – Whenever we can, annualize the savings. For example: “That will be a savings of $360 over the course of the year!” (Said with enthusiasm)
  • “Can you repeat that?” – Any time our agents have to ask a customer to repeat themselves, we want to make sure the phrase we use highlights the fact that we appreciate their effort. “I apologize, Mrs. Customer, I didn’t hear what you said. Could you repeat that?”
  • “What is your name?” – Instead, try, “Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
  • “No, we can’t do that.” – It would be preferable to say, “Let me review that request and see what we can do. I want to find the solution that works best for you.”
  • “To be honest with you.” – Has your agent not been honest up till this point? Avoid this phrase. If you have to use something similar, use, “In all honesty.”
  • “They should have…” – Never have your agents blame other departments in the company. It creates an us and them. Simply have them say, “I’m sorry we miscommunicated. I will take care of that for you.” Always have your agents use “we” to stress that the team is all in this together.
  • “Like I was saying…” – This phrase gives the perception that the agent was interrupted by the customer, and is now returning to what he or she was saying. Agents should simply return to where they were in the conversation.

These are just a few words and phrases that can help agents to provide a better customer experience. The important point is that the words we say and how we say them can provide a better experience for customers and make agents more effective at providing a better customer experience.

Contact RCDA to learn more about how we can help implement effective coaching to ensure a positive customer experience.