Words have power. The words you choose have an enormous influence on a customer’s experience of a service call. The right words will always influence or move people to feel good about the interaction—increasing satisfaction, engagement and retention along the way. Used empathically, words can transform customer service calls from “this sucks!” to “that’s amazing!”
Whatever industry you’re in, if you’re dealing with customer service calls, you’ll need to use the right words.
That’s why we’ve created this list with the best customer service phrases—and phrases to avoid if you want to provide a truly superior customer experience.
Keep this list handy the next time you answer a customer service call.
- Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
- I understand how you feel. I’d be frustrated, too.
- I’ve read through the previous conversations.
- I’ll certainly take care of this for you.
- I’d like a little more information to understand...
- Let me find out for you.
- Let me clarify and please correct me if I’ve gotten anything wrong.
- I will update you by [specific day or time].
- Please give me a moment to double check that I have the right answer
- What I’m doing for you now is…
- Let me forward you to our specialist X.
- I’m afraid I can’t offer you X, but here’s what I can do instead.
- Did you get everything you needed from me?
- Happy to help!
- Thank you for being our customer.
1. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention”
Let your customers know how valuable their feedback is—they’ll feel particularly appreciated! Most customers don’t speak up or make an effort to report an issue so you should appreciate those who do.
See it as an opportunity for improvement when a customer lets you know that they are disappointed in a product or a service is unsatisfactory. You won’t find more valuable quality control than through your customers. So don’t just take notice of their feedback—collect it and use it to improve your business.
The gained inputs can be used not only for the improvement of already existing offers and processes, but also for the introduction of new products or services or even for marketing.
2. “I understand how you feel. I’d be frustrated, too”
Frustrated customers are driven by emotion and the best thing you can do is to react with understanding—this will usually soften the mood and tone of your counterpart immediately. Showing empathy is one of the best ways to handle an upset customer.
It doesn’t mean that you have to agree that their complaint is valid, it simply means acknowledging their anger or problem. Empathising with difficult customers makes them feel validated and understood. Validation is a recognized counseling technique and the cornerstone of effective listening.
Listen to the complaint, read the customer’s mood and summarise it using your own words. Let the customer know that their issue will be dealt with quickly. You could say:
“This has taken a lot of your time and is really inconvenient and frustrating for you. I’d feel the same in your situation, but I will sort this out.“
3. “I’ve read through the previous conversations”
No matter how big or small your company is, it’s important to personally engage with each customer to create a strong personal connection. Customer support is an ideal touchpoint for this.
Customers who reach out for support through multiple channels such as call, email or live chat might be worried that they have to repeat all of their previous conversations to a new person. Make the experience as seamless and convenient as possible for them and let them know that you’re on top of things.
Use internal notes or CRM software to capture previous interactions over time. This allows you to address the customer by their name to feel seen and valued. And when they call, you know exactly what the situation is without having to ask the customer to repeat themselves.
4. “I’ll certainly take care of this for you”
Tell the customer you’ll take care of everything now. If the customer hears this level of confidence in your voice they’ll instantly feel relieved. Show them that the person they’re dealing with knows what they’re doing and is committed to solving their problem.
Lean on positive and affirmative words for customer service like definitely, surely, absolutely, gladly or certainly. Assurance statements in customer service have the potential to build trust and transform average customer service into a more authentic conversation. This practice is known as positive scripting in the customer experience space.
According to our friends at Hubspot, positive scripting is “the process of mapping out responses or phrases intended to limit frustration and keep customer interaction moving in a productive direction.” It assures customers that they are valued and action is being taken to resolve their issue.
5. “I’d like a little more information to understand...”
To get people to give a better answer, you need to be a better listener. In order to really help a customer solve an issue, a service agent must be able to understand the full picture of the situation. Customers are sometimes confused, impatient or don’t know the right terms to accurately describe their problem.
Ask them for a little more information to understand what’s going on. Sometimes there are gaps in the information that the customer has given you or you’re not sure what their intended outcome is.
Probing questions will help determine specifics and find the root of the problem so you can get your customer the help they need. You could ask:
“Could you tell me more about that?”, “What happened when you tried to…” or “Could you tell me how it looks?”
It’s always helpful to dig a little deeper!
6. “Let me find out for you”
How do you respond to a customer when you don’t know the answer? It’s nearly impossible to know all answers to all possible questions, especially if you’re new. Instead of saying “I don’t know” say “Let me look that up for you” which is one of the most powerful customer service phrases.
If you have to do further research you should always make a concrete time commitment. Are you looking up the information while the customer is on the phone with you? Will you put them on hold for a minute or call them back in fifteen minutes? Always give the customer an estimate on how long it will take for you to get back to them.
Don’t guess the answer if you’re not completely sure and avoid phrases like perhaps or I’m pretty sure. Give your customer the comfort of knowing that you’ll take care of resolving their questions and concerns.
7. “Let me clarify and please correct me if I’ve gotten anything wrong”
When we listen, we sometimes hear what we want to hear. Especially if you’re dealing with the same issues and very similar customer requests on a daily basis. An assumption can lead to an attempt to solve the wrong problem, resulting in a frustrated customer.
You must make sure that you have all the information you need to solve the issue and that you understood everything correctly. Repeat back all relevant details to show that everything has been heard and understood.
Ask clarifying questions. If you are unsure whether you understood the customer’s intent correctly, summarise their request in your own words. “Here’s what I understand from what you said…did I understand you correctly?”
8. “I will update you by [specific day or time]”
You can’t resolve a customer’s request immediately or need to ask a colleague for information? What you definitely shouldn’t do is ask the customer to call another department. There’s no shame in not knowing something—as long as you take care of it and tell the customer when they can expect to hear back from you.
Exceptional customer service has always stood out as a factor behind the success of Virgin Group CEO Sir Richard Branson. He claims
“the key is to set realistic expectations, then exceed them, preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.”
Sometimes the clarification of an issue takes longer than expected—this can leave the customer with the impression of being ignored. Show that you haven’t forgotten their request by always providing a heads up that the processing will take a bit longer: “I’ll send you an update by tomorrow afternoon.”
9. “Please give me a moment to double check that I have the right answer”
If you’re not one hundred percent sure that you know the right answer, let the customer know that you’ll double check. Some issues go beyond your knowledge even if you’re a seasoned customer service agent. A quick glance at your knowledge base let’s you confirm you give the right answer.
With a knowledge base you have all your call center’s important information and documents at your fingertips which makes helping customers as easy as a quick google search. It allows you to provide customers with the answers they need immediately.
According to McKinsey, the average employee spends 1.8 hours every day tracking down the information or colleagues who can help them do their jobs. That wasted time is not only expensive—it’s also annoying for you and your customers.
10. “What I’m doing for you now is…”
Tell your customer what comes next and what exactly you are going to do to resolve their issue. Predictability has a positive psychological impact on your customers. They will feel more confident and relaxed if they know what to expect next in an interaction.
Reliability and predictability are the cornerstones of creating a long lasting relationship with your customers. They have a huge positive effect on customer retention and customer satisfaction. Reliability shapes how people perceive your brand and in turn leads to more sales.
Positive statements in customer service are great for building rapport. Assert control of the situation by letting the customer know how and when you will resolve their request: “I’m going to look into this for you right away and what I’m going to do next is…”.
11. “Let me forward you to our specialist X”
Sometimes there’s no way around it and you have to forward a call to another colleague or a different department. May it be because you don’t know the answer to a question or you don’t have enough authority to make the decision the customer is looking for.
It’s important that you make sure your customer doesn’t feel handed off or passed around like another inconvenience. The best possible outcome is assuring the customer that the transfer is in their best interest and their problem will get resolved.
Politely explain to the customer why you need to transfer the call. You should also tell them the name of the person or department you’re transferring them to. Here’s what you could say:
“Let me forward this to our specialist X, who is better able to help you with this question.”
And don’t forget to ask permission before you initiate the transfer. Some customers might not want to be transferred.
12. “I’m afraid I can’t offer you X, but here’s what I can do instead.”
If a customer is asking for something that you simply can’t deliver, politely let them know you understand why they’d want that and focus on what you can do instead. Never burn a bridge by simply shutting them down with a hard “No”.
This is another scenario where positive scripting in customer service comes into play. Positive scripting helps you guide your customer towards a desired outcome. If you can't think of an alternative right away, you can ask further questions first. The more details you learn, the more likely you are to find a solution that the customer will be happy with.
Here’s an example of formulating a message in a positive way. Don’t say: “I’m sorry but that sofa in grey is currently out of stock”. Instead say: “I’ve got the same sofa in black. I could get that shipped to you today. Or would you like me to pre-order the grey sofa for you so it will be shipped to you in 4 weeks?”
13. “Did you get everything you needed from me?”
Ending a support call with the words “Is there anything else I can help you with?” seems to divide the customer service space. Some people think it’s a great way to check if anything remained unresolved, while others think it’s a cookie cutter phrase that can be annoying if the agent was unable to help in the first place.
The phrase can come across as insincere and scripted. But what is a good alternative? If you weren’t able to help and couldn’t offer an alternative simply apologise and acknowledge the customer’s time and frustration.
Make an authentic connection with your customer and only use the phrase when you’re confident that their needs have been met. You could ask “did you get everything you needed from me?” that they’ll hopefully answer with a resounding yes!
14. “Happy to help!”
It’s a fact that people can hear a smile through the phone. Set a positive tone from the beginning to ending the call. 73% of consumers say that friendly service is one of the factors that make them fall in love with a brand.
The way you communicate with a customer isn’t just determined by the actual words you use but in large parts by the tone of delivery in your voice.The power of great customer service lies in delivering a personal touch that makes your customers feel appreciated. Establish a positive, warm, human and productive conversation.
Friendly service helps retain customers because they know that they can get back to you if they need help in the future. Positive customer service will not only win your customers over but is essential to winning their trust and loyalty for many years to come.
15. “Thank you for being our customer”
Sometimes we forget how easy it is to brighten someone’s day. A sincere and heartfelt “thank you” can have a meaningful impact on a customer and create a lasting emotional connection.
Companies spend a lot of time and money attracting and winning new customers. The two magic words “thank you” not only show appreciation for your existing customers, but they also help to build and strengthen your relationship with them. Expressing gratitude helps develop that strong customer loyalty that keeps your business going.
Even a small gesture as an honest "thank you" can give you a decisive advantage in your customer’s next purchase decision. In a market where services and products are becoming increasingly similar and easier to obtain, you can positively differentiate yourself from the competition with carefully and empathically chosen words.
Each of these scripts and phrases are proven in real customer conversations. The sound of kindness and empathy are carried in the human voice — and conveying these emotions on an otherwise frustrated or difficult service call will set your brand apart and strengthen your bond with customers for a long time to come.
Are you ready to improve your customer service with Benemen?
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