Within the customer service industry, people tend to underestimate the importance of what they say, and the phrases they use when interacting with customers. This is a grave mistake! Here at Canity, we know just how important it is to be trained in the art of talking to customers. One poorly uttered phrase or ill-judged comment could make or break your next sale, or perhaps even lose you a return customer. Now we certainly wouldn’t want that, would we?

1.    No

A destructive word that has no place in the business world! There are few phrases that will wreck a sale as quickly or definitively as this short two-letter word.  Responding to a customer’s question with “no” is a sure-fire deal breaker. Instead, use your response to go the extra mile.
Example: Can I buy this T-shirt in red? No.
Can I buy this T-shirt in red? We don’t have it red; would you like to buy it in blue or green instead?
Even if you can’t give them the answer they want, why end the conversation there? Let them know what else you have on offer instead.

2.     Can I help you?

This phrase is very easy to brush off with a simple, “no thanks, I’m just browsing”. Instead of using this boring phrase, be observant and creative. Survey the situation to open with a question that will interest them. This will engage their attention and will make it hard for a customer to be stand offish.
Example: Can I help you? No thanks, I’m just looking.
*If they’re wearing an Eagles’ jersey* Ah, I see you’re an Eagles supporter. How great was that game last night?
By engaging someone as an individual, you are almost guaranteed a response, thus leading to a positive relationship with the prospective customer.

3.     I’ll try

100% an absolute no-no! Trying allows for failure, and doesn’t instill the customer’s confidence in you at all. After all, as management expert Ken Blanchard said, “trying is just a noisy way of not doing something.”
Example: I’ll try and get Kevin to call you tomorrow.
I’ll be sure to get Kevin to call you tomorrow.
Why leave room for doubt? Don’t try to do something, just do it!

4.    I don’t know

We’re not omniscient beings.  Everyone has gaps in their knowledge, and that’s okay. What isn’t okay, however, is uttering the phrase “I don’t know” to a customer. It’s essentially admitting a sales defeat. If you don’t know something, it then becomes your number one duty to discover the answer.
Example: Is this pasta gluten-free? I don’t know.
Is this pasta gluten-free? I’ll call the manufacturer and find out for you.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Don’t know the answer? Then find it out. The customer will appreciate the extra effort you went to.

5.    Just

What a pointless word. Especially when used in the customer service arena. The word ‘just’ diminishes whatever you’re going to say that follows it. It will allow the customer to think that what you say after the word ‘just’ isn’t important or worth listening to. So in your next customer interaction just be sure to leave that word out.
Example: I’ll just see if I can return those shoes for you.
I’ll go and return those shoes for you.  
As you can see above, a tiny change in the way you phrase your response, can make you seem a lot more confident and proactive.

So there you have it! Five oral atrocities customer service and sales staff frequently utter, blissfully unaware of the damage they can leave in their wake. Now obviously, there are more than these five phrases that have the potential to scare away sales, and alienate your customers, however if you can eliminate all of these from your vocabulary you’re already off to a great start!

At Canity, we realise the importance your language choices can have on your business, which is why we’ve created an online training platform to help teach companies right from wrong when talking to customers.  So sign up for our online training at canity.com, and learn more customer service tips and tricks that will improve your bottom line today!