Heads up, customer service representatives! The way you talk to me is bugging me. Here are some of the phrases I could do without:
“With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?”
You say ‘with’ at the beginning of the sentence or at the end, not both. Better yet, don’t say this prissy phrase at all. Just ask me what my name is, please.
“I will be more than happy to help you.”
‘Happy’ would be more than happy enough. Don’t tell me you’ll be happy to help me. Just help me.
“I know exactly how you feel.”
No, you don’t. Anyway, I’m not asking for your empathy. I’m asking for your help. You don’t need to say, “I know I would be really frustrated if I couldn’t get on the Internet, use my apps, or make phone calls and text.” What I really feel you are doing with these empathic paraphrases is subliminally reminding me how much I need my cell phone and your service. Thanks, but I don’t need to be reminded that you have me by the balls.
“Definitely / Absolutely / Fantastic / Perfect”
Few things in this world are definite, absolute, fantastic, or perfect. You are using empty superlatives. And it really bothers me when you use them in every sentence. “I can definitely help you with that. I can definitely understand your concern. I can definitely get you over to another representative who can help you with that.” You know what? That’s not communication. It’s interference.
“Just give me a moment…”
Believe it or not, I am relatively patient. Ask me to hold and I’ll hold. But ask me to bear with you every 15 seconds and you try my patience. Just put me on hold, do your thing, and get back to me. Every moment you ask me to give you another moment is a moment you could solve my problem while I chill out.
“My computer’s running slow today… I need to get to another screen…”
Really? A slow computer? That is so last century. Another screen? I don’t care how many screens you have to get to. That’s your business. I don’t need to know how you do your job. I just need you to do it.
And finally… “Is there anything else I can help you with before I transfer you?”
No! 99.9% of the time, no. Your question presumes that you helped me with anything in the first place. If you have to transfer me to a higher level of tech support, you obviously couldn’t help me. I know you tried to help me, but you didn’t help me. And if I asked for your help before but I didn’t get it from you, why would I make the same mistake twice? Just transfer me so I can get the help I need, thanks.
Here’s what you can do:
Here’s what you can do, reps: tell your bosses that your customers aren’t happy with the scripts. Yes, I know you have scripts. Everyone has scripts. Don’t tell me you don’t have scripts. Tell your higher-ups that those scripts are tired, old, and irritating (to the customers, that is; you don’t have to tell them you you really feel). Tell them your customers are asking for plain English, short scripts, and real help. And when you don’t have a script telling you what to say, don’t say so much.
Here’s what you can do, customers: tell your reps what I just told them to tell their bosses. Ask to speak with a supervisor and tell them how you feel. Share this on Facebook. Retweet it on Twitter. Print it and mail it to your granny; that is, if she isn’t on Facebook already.
Here’s what you can do, bosses: listen to your reps and your customers! If you are a process designer, systems engineer, customer satisfaction specialist, or what-have-you, then you are a highly-educated, well-intentioned person. So take note. Things were better when people talked plain before you taught them to talk pretty. Let your reps keep it short and sweet. Keep their scripts to a minimum. Teach them succinctness and simplicity.
Drop the nonsense. You could boost customer satisfaction and efficiency by talking less and doing more. You could serve more customers in less time. And you could seem smarter doing it.
Talk to me
What are your pet peeves? How do you want to be helped? Do you have any ideas on how to give good customer service without talking so much? Leave a comment, and if it’s not spam, I’ll allow it.