5 common phrases that "spook" your customers.

Small Business Tips

Creating a personal connection with customers is vital to any business’ success, and so much of that connection hinges on the use of warm tone and positive phrasing. A negatively-toned phrase directed at a frustrated customer can quickly escalate a situation, and leave your caller feeling unhappy.

Here are 5 phrases to avoid when interacting with customers—and the friendly replacements we opt for instead!

I don’t know. Nobody wants to hear the answer to their question is flat-out not available, so let’s put a happier spin on this one. Next time you’re tempted to use this frustration inducing phrase, try switching it out with, “What a great question. I’d be happy to find out for you.” Your callers will be delighted!

No problem. This one seems pretty innocuous at first, but the problem (pun intended) with this phrase is in its negativity. With so many alternatives available, why not try something more positive? A good old-fashioned “You’re welcome” or “My pleasure” can go a long way—and of course, our virtual receptionists love using “Gladly!”

You’ll need to… Stop right there! This phrase comes across as demanding and cold. Instead of telling your callers what they need to do, guide them in a more friendly way by saying, “The best way to do that is…”

Hold please. The problem with this phrase may not seem apparent at first—it is, after all, a huge step up from “one minute,” or “just a sec.” But instead of commanding your customer to give you a moment, ask the caller if you may have a moment instead—“May I place you on hold for a moment?” Most importantly, remember to listen for their response before acting—if they say no, find a solution that doesn’t involve pressing the hold button.

I’m just the _______. This one is of particular importance to our team here at Ruby—we don’t think of our virtual receptionists as “just” receptionists. They’re the best receptionists you can find! Instead of diminishing your role with this negative phrase, next time lead with what you can do. For example, a Ruby would say, “As the receptionist, I would be happy to take a message and have him return your call.” Whateveryour role, focus on how you can help the customer and not what you can’t do. The customer will appreciate your willingness to do what you can, leading to a more positive interaction overall.

A slight change to your tone and phrasing can make a big difference when it comes to making personal connections with your callers, as well as avoid scaring them away!

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