May 6, 2016
Despite all its advantages, working in tech support regularly exposes you to rage, frustration and scathing reviews. Paying customers aren’t always patient when things go wrong. And of course, it’s technical support employees who most often receive the brunt of that impatience.
But that being said, there are certain things you can say that exacerbate the customer’s annoyance. Some phrases are like fuel to an open flame, quickly putting disgruntled users on the path to becoming ex-customers.
So, here’s the top 5 flammable technical support phrases that agents should avoid at all costs.
“That Shouldn’t Be Happening”
No kidding, Sherlock. The customer knows that the end goal of the software isn’t to malfunction. They know that it hasn’t been custom-designed to send them on a long, complex telephone call to a support team. So please, don’t state the obvious.
As well as sounding like you’re skeptical, this phrase doesn’t exactly make you sound on top of things. Try swapping, “That shouldn’t be happening”, with something more proactive like, “I’ll look into that now.”
“You’re Doing That Wrong”
As true as this may be, nobody likes being told that they’re wrong. There are much better ways to offer support and correct user error – ways that won’t rub the customer the wrong way.
So, rather than telling the customer that they’re doing something wrong, ask them to walk you through their actions. Then, step by step, you can identify the problem and provide the solution, without sounding overly critical.
“You’ll Have To…”
Firstly, this sounds like an order, not like support. Secondly, nobody has to do anything, ever.
Instead of saying something like, “You’ll have to download Microsoft .NET Framework 4”, try, “We’ll be able to resolve the issue as soon as you’ve got Microsoft .NET Framework 4 installed.” It sounds much more cooperative, and much less demanding.
“I Have No Idea”
This is the quickest possible way to make the customer lose faith in you. As a technical support agent, you’re the person the customer comes to for help – often their last line of defense after trying everything to fix an issue themselves.
It might be the case that you truly have no idea. And that’s acceptable: you’re not required to know everything, after all. But to avoid sounding inept, switch, “I have no idea”, to, “Let me investigate that”.
In a customer service context, silence isn’t golden. You don’t have to ramble on to your customer throughout a phone call to provide good service, nor should the customer be left wondering if you’re still on the other end of the line.
So, while working on a problem, be sure to tell the customer what it is you’re doing, and approximately how long you’ll need to do it. That way, any dead air time will be unambiguous rather than infuriating.
71.5% of positive customer service experiences that people share in person or on social media began as negative experiences. Simply put, a good support technician changes moods and minds.
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