Three things everyone needs to stop saying to customers
Your customer is the main character of your story. They will do business with countless brands before and after you each day, so make sure you acquire and keep their attention. Here are three things that pull them out of the story and make you sound like your customer service is the same as everyone else's.
"Thank you for coming in/contacting us." It has been the standard greeting in person, over email, and on the phone since the birth of customer service. You might be sincerely grateful when a customer sends you an email, but they don’t hear it as that. They don’t hear it at all. If they actually process that you said it, it gets filed away in their brain as ‘They have to say that, it’s part of their script’. Wouldn’t you rather start a conversation with your customer in a way that reflects your brand in an authentic way? “Hi!”, or “Welcome!” or “It’s beautiful out today, are you enjoying the sunshine?”. You know your brand and your voice. You have permission to be creative and original, and don’t forget authentic. Don’t know what to say? Less is more. When you say something other than what they are expecting, it causes them to pay more attention to your interaction with them. That means your efforts to be more personable and connect with them are more likely to resonate because they are now listening instead of tuning you out. When you show genuine interest, they associate feelings of warmth and positivity to your brand. If you feel saying ‘thank you’ is in order, say it with something specific and don’t overuse it. “Thank you for coming back, it’s great to see you again!”
"Is there anything else I can do for you?" Again, this quote is for agents on autopilot. Somewhere, in an outdated customer service manual is a picture from 1974 and those words in a speech bubble. STOP! It makes you sound like you are reading from a binder; maybe you are, but it doesn’t have to sound like it. We all know that when we hear it as a customer, we feel like they are trying to placate us. You want to make sure you have helped them, so be specific. “You said this is your first time here, do you have any questions about our menu?” Same intent, much better results. Throw in a smile and your customers will feel like you see them.
"I’m sorry for the inconvenience."1974 service rule book 101, I’m sure. Depending on the severity, this is often patronizing. Even the slightest inconvenience is made worse by this phrase, mostly because the modern consumer has heard it from countless employees who genuinely didn’t care. Are you sorry for the inconvenience? Probably, but you need to convey to your customer that you are genuinely apologetic. You can be more creative than that, and more in line with your brand. “I’m sorry your food was cold, that was my fault. I'll fix it immediately.” Show your commitment to make it right by being intentional with your choice of words.
Give your team the opportunity to improvise, supported by phrases that work well. Your brand has a distinct feel that you market to potential buyers, so apply it to your customer service and keep it consistent. Pull from your team to come up with better ways you can connect with your customers. You don't have to sound like everyone else, or worse, like your team is still using the service rule book from 1974.