One of the simplest phrases in customer service is one we seldom hear, yet it’s the most powerful tool in your tool box to de-escalate a customer complaint quickly and easily.
What’s the phrase? It’s:
Wow! That even looks awesome in writing. Don’t you just feel good reading that?
So imagine how your customers will feel if instead of hearing an excuse, a denial, no, or “You’re wrong,” they heard instead:
No phrase shows more understanding.
No phrase is better at diffusing a conflict or potential conflict.
No phrase is more validating to the person hearing it.
No phrase better shows that you’re on your customer’s side.
Now, let’s take that a bit further and think of how much better the phrase would sound if you could prove to your customers that you were listening by telling them what they’re right about:
“You’re right. It’s frustrating when a product stops working after two weeks.”
“You’re right. The customer service line was really long.”
“You’re right. I can understand that it’s annoying to have to fill out this form every time you come in.”
Think about it. When customers complain, their experience with everyone before you has often been an adversarial one. They complain, then their complaint is ignored, denied, or belittled.
“You think that line was long, you should see it on Mondays. You’d have waited twice as long.”
But you’re not going to be THAT customer service provider. Just find one fact or perception the person has shared and tell them that fact or perception is right. For example, let’s say a customer came in the door 15 minutes ago and had to wait in a line with 20 people in front of him. When he complains and says,
“It’s ridiculous that this company can’t get more help at the front desk in the mornings. I had to wait in line for a half hour just to get help.”
What are some facts or perceptions here that you could agree with? Hopefully, not that your company is ridiculous and you know he didn’t wait for 30 minutes, so you don’t want to agree to something that’s not true. However, you can agree that it’s frustrating to have to wait in line and you can agree that the line was long.
If “You’re right,” are the first words to come out of your mouth, the customer doesn’t really need to go on repeating his complaint, does he? You’ve proven you already heard it and you agree with it. Now you just need to move forward quickly to resolve the problem.
That’s all you have to do! Acknowledge the customer’s experience and then move forward to help him. Give it a try and I think you’ll be amazed how differently these types of conversations turn out when you use the most powerful phrase in customer service.