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Top phrases the customer should never hear

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Customer service has never been more critical than it is in today’s business environment. Ever-increasing brick-and-mortar presence along with explosive virtual companies give consumers an unprecedented number of outlets with whom they can do business.

More Photos, a business strategy and leadership website based in Rochester Hills, Mich., ran a survey to identify the comments that most alienate customers.

“It is not my job” was the most hated phrase by 24% of the respondents. Customers do not care what an employee’s job is when they are looking for help. Guillermo Williams of says it is far better to tell a customer that you are not familiar with that particular area so you will get somebody who is better equipped to help them.

In second place was “If we had it, it would be on the shelf,” collecting 22% of the votes as customers feel this is a stock answer from a lazy employee. They would rather hear that the clerk had recently checked the back room and was certain there were no more available. Short of that they would want the clerk to actually make the effort to try and find the product.

Another response it shows very low customer appreciation is, “I do not know.” The 16% that identified this would rather hear something along the line of “let me find out”.

“I/We cannot do that” was a responsible of and percent that would have rather heard what could be done instead of what could not be done.

Tying in last place with a percent of the vote each were “You have to . . .” and “We’re doing our best.” William suggest substituting the word “need” instead of “have” as it is a much softer word. He also recommends thanking a customer for a complaint letting them know that they are trying to improve their performance all the time.

Providing your employees with this knowledge would be a positive step toward improved customer service.

© Max Impact, used with permission.

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