CX Blog

7 Irritating Things that Customer Service Executives Say and how it sounds to a Customer

Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru

Customer service executives are the face of the organisation – they are the brand speaking to the customer. Hence, it is obvious that what they say, and more importantly, how they say things, can either make or break the relationship that a brand has with its customers.

Each one of us, at some time or the other, has dealt with a Customer Service Executive and our experiences could have varied from being amazing or good to downright annoying! In the last few decades, this role has garnered tremendous importance and the skills required to become a good customer care executive have become more complex than having just the basic communication skills.

One would have thought that with so much responsibility resting on their shoulders, customer service executives almost always provide exceptional service. But, haven’t we all been through those harrowing experiences where our calls are kept on hold for hours together, our issues don’t get resolved and we are transferred to innumerable departments?

We thought we’d put together, in this fun blog, some very annoying things that customer care executives say!

Greeting with wrong name

How many of us have faced this? The wrong pronunciation of the name or surname? A Mr. for a Ms.?

The first impression that a customer gets is in the greeting. And messing up the name itself is not such a good start! Maybe it is not so tough to pause after the ‘Good Morning’ and humbly ask ‘How should I pronounce your name?’ or ‘I’m sorry, can you please help me with your name?’ Most customers know it when they have a difficult name.

‘I am going to transfer you to the right department!’

Aaaah! How many of the times have you felt like the right department for your problem doesn’t even exist! How many times have we felt that the CEx executives are just passing the buck without the intention of resolving the problem?

The customer is not aware of how many departments a company might have. He has called you thinking that the person he is speaking with IS the right department. What an executive needs to do is be transparent in his communication. It is the lack of clear communication that annoys a customer most! Explain to the customer the circumstance and the remedy for his grievance. For example, if the call has to be dealt with by the ‘Complaints’ department, then that should be explained to the customer. Maybe handing over of a complaints reference number will make it better.

‘We will do that ASAP!’

How many times have we felt that ASAP is definitely not the same for us and the executives?

For a customer ASAP means literally ASAP! So, if an executive is unsure of the timescales to solve a query, then he/she must cross check the timelines and confirm the hours or days that it would actually take. The problem arises when the customer is promised a call-back ASAP and then he receives a call in 2 days. It is of paramount importance to set the customer’s expectations right, always.

Can I please place your call on hold?

These are words that a customer dreads the most.

It is obvious and understandable that executives need to check some past records and details before they can get back to a customer, many times, the sheer length of time that a customer has to hold the line for gets him annoyed. It is always a good idea to politely ask the customer if his call can be placed on hold. It is also good to inform him of the time, for example, ‘Can I please place your call on hold for a couple of minutes?’ It is a good practice to get back in touch with the customer after two minutes and keep him posted of the details. If checking the details of a specially complex problem would take more time, it is a great idea to offer to call back the customer, and then calling back as promised!

‘Please understand what I am saying!’

We have heard this line very, very often. And we have replied by saying: “NO, I don’t understand nor do I want to understand what you are saying.”

These words sound like a desperate attempt by the customer care executive to get his/her point across. If an executive is having to repeat the same thing, then maybe his approach is wrong. Maybe he should talk slower, use basic and simple language rather than technical jargon and pause to give the customer time to absorb the inputs.

‘This is the first time a customer has complained about this!’

Yes, believe me, a few of us have heard things like this from executives too!

Any organization must realize that feedback from customers is the best way to improve the product/service. The customer has actually done some help by giving the feedback. All such opportunities must be looked at positively. Imagine, there could be hundreds more out there that don’t like a certain thing about the product or service but never bothered to tell. They just walked away. So, executives must respect such instances by saying, “please tell me more” and at the end of it be thankful to the customer.

‘It’s not our fault, it was a technical error’

Yes, we have heard this thousands of times! Technical issues being blamed!!

For a customer, the technical issues are also something that the company needs to resolve. An executive must not sweep the problem under the rug by just blaming technical issues. A genuine effort on the part of the executive to understand the nature of the problem and then find a feasible solution will help greatly.

Are there any other things that executives generally say and that we missed? Do let us know your thoughts and feedback!

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