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The same principle can be applied to support: using the right customer service phrases in your communication can make the difference between a bad customer experience and a delightful one.

Today, we’ll talk about six phrases to use to deliver awesome customer service and build better relationships with your customers.

In a 2011 customer service survey, American Express asked respondents which common customer service phrases annoyed them most. Especially if you’re a company in a saturated market, your customers have plenty of choices for who to do business with.

In fact, one survey suggests that although 94% of online retailers provide email customer service, 27% of email inquiries are answered incorrectly.

Good customer service isn’t always about knowing the right answer. Reducing customer effort is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your support is truly exceptional. There’s plenty of research on the importance of empathy in customer service, but the topic is best summed up by Seth Godin in a one-line blog post: We’ve all been there, whether it’s in a customer support setting or an argument with a friend or family member: it doesn’t feel good to talk to someone when you don’t think the person “gets” why you’re mad, upset or disappointed.

That’s why it’s critical to not just have and develop empathy, but to convey it to your customer.

There are plenty of tough customer service scenarios waiting to happen, and while mastering empathy in customer service might feel overwhelming at first, it becomes easier and easier as you work on it—just as with any skill.

Even if you didn’t do anything wrong, you can still be genuinely sorry about the way the customer feels. Researchers Andrew Newberg and Mark Robert Waldman, in their book Words Can Change Your Brain, found that using—and hearing—positive words can actually change the way we see reality.

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