I read this interesting blog on words and phrases that this management advisor recommends customer service agents never use.
It struck me as simple and useful advice, perhaps something that we just take for granted and yet this tone of voice and attitude really makes a difference. I recently asked someone for a meeting where I was potentially going to bring some business to her company. She sent me an email saying that she was too busy this week to meet me and could I wait until she is not so busy – there was not even a suggested time, just a request to wait until some unspecified time in future!
I was surprised to get a response like this from someone when I was trying to work with her company and then I received a call from her boss apologising for the email. He passed off the comments with a breezy ‘well she is always like that’ comment.
But as the blog I mentioned above suggests, if you are contacting a company and you are the customer then you never expect to hear phrases such as I can’t, we won’t, I’m too busy for you… it is off-putting and suggests they are not interested in your business.
It is very simple to have a positive approach when speaking to customers, even if the underlying message is negative. For instance, if I am a customer and I ask a salesperson for a meeting and they apologise for not being immediately available because they are seeing other customers, but then offer me some options for next week then it is entirely different to being brushed away and told ‘I’m too busy to see you.’
It’s just a small difference in how the reply is constructed, but it makes an enormous difference to how the company is perceived by the customer.
Photo by Anyone123 licensed under Creative Commons.