Don’t Leave Customers Hanging: How to Avoid Dead-End Replies

Reading time:

Avoid Dead-End Statements

Providing help to customers and potential clients is important, but for some tricky customer questions, there’s just no way to respond positively, right? Not so fast! The next time you feel a negative response on the tip of your tongue, try these three alternatives to common dead-end statements:

Dead end: “She’s unavailable.” Alternative: Offer to take a message. Don’t make customers ask for help — offer it before they have the chance! When the person your customer needs to reach isn’t available, always build a positive alternative into your reply:

“Mary is in meetings this afternoon, but I’ll be happy to take a message and ask her to get in touch with you!”

Dead end: “I don’t know.” Alternative: Help find the answer. Sure, it’d be great if you knew the answer to every question, but customers are more likely to be impressed by your eagerness to help than your ability to recite information. If you don’t have an answer, don’t sweat it! Instead, assure your customer you’ll look for the answer:

“That’s a great question. I’ll be happy to find the answer for you!”

“Thank you for your question! I’d love to research an answer and get back to you later today. May I return your call this afternoon?”

Dead end: “So-and-so handles that.” Alternative: Put your customer in touch with the right person. Don’t shrug a customer off just because you aren’t the best person to help in a particular situation. Instead, tell your customer where they can find the help they need, and then help them get there:

“A member of our sales staff would be delighted to help you! I’ll connect you with sales now.”

This works even if you don’t know where your customer needs to go:

“Great question! I’ll find the best person to answer it!”

“I’ll be happy to find the best person to help you, and have that person return your call.”

Bottom line: There’s no reason to respond to a customer’s question with a dead-end statement. If you put your mind to it, you can always find a way to help!

Photo via Flickr

Additional reads you may find interesting...

View All
Needs-based selling: woman using laptop in well-lit office next to large window.
Small Business Tips

Needs-based selling 101

Closeup image of a business owner texting message from smart phone in cafe
Small Business Tips

Why you should be texting from your business number—and how to get started

Title card: Craig Rashkis, Farwell Rashkis LLP, Ruby customer feature series
Customer Feature

Ruby customer feature: Craig Rashkis, Falwell Rashkis LLP

What you can do to support Hispanic and Latinx-owned businesses

Wall clock nearing 8:00 on pink background

Using virtual receptionists for full-time answering

How to end a phone call: person holding phone
Receptionist Tips

How to end a phone call

Virtual receptionist sitting at desk

Virtual receptionist pricing 101

Professional sitting at desk on computer, working on a law firm's website
Legal Practice Tips

What Google’s Core Web Vitals mean for your law firm’s website

A group of Ruby customers stand together, smiling and talking

Does your business need an answering service?

Screenshot of a YouTube channel's live videos

How to use YouTube Live to engage your clients & audience

Smiling woman standing in a bicycle workshop with a mobile device in her hands
Small Business Tips

3 ways virtual receptionists elevate customer experience (while making your life easier)

Circular cutout of Rebecca Grimes, Ruby's Chief Revenue Officer

A conversation with Ruby’s Chief Revenue Officer, Rebecca Grimes

Woman in yellow sweater working in front of open laptop, sitting in home office interior, drinking coffee
Small Business Tips

Happy customers, efficient businesses: How to supercharge growth with virtual receptionists 

Help wanted sign hung in reflective window
Small Business Tips

Using online presence platforms for recruitment

A man in silhouette looks out over a foggy mountain range
Small Business Tips

How to communicate with employees during times of tension

Try Ruby Risk Free

Call to talk to a live virtual receptionist and hear why 10,000+ companies Ruby.

Call Ruby Sign Up
Sales Support

Already a Ruby customer?

Let’s get started.

Ready to turn more callers into customers?

Missed connections translate to lost revenue. With Ruby, you have a partner in gaining and retaining customers. Plus, we’re so confident you’ll love our service, we offer a 21 day money-back guarantee*.

*Ruby is delighted to offer a money-back guarantee to first time users of both our virtual receptionist service and our chat service. To cancel your service and obtain a full refund for the canceled service (less any multi-service discount), please notify us of the service you wish to cancel either within 21 days of your purchase of that service or before your usage exceeds 500 receptionist minutes/50 billable chats, as applicable, whichever occurs sooner. Some restrictions may apply.


The Secret to Successful Law Firms

The inside scoop on Clio’s latest legal trends report.

Phone Thumbnail 2

10 Questions to Ask a Virtual Reception Provider

Ask the right questions and rate virtual reception services with our handy guide and scorecard!