We Are Sunshine

Don’t Say This To Your Customers

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Great customer service is the key to customer loyalty and a growing business. Provide bad service and you may lose a customer for life. Ron Burley from gives insight to the top five phrases customers hate hearing and offers alternatives to keep these phrases from damaging your reputation and your bottom line.

1: “That’s our policy.” Everyone has probably heard this while trying to return something, but it will almost never end the dispute – it will only add fuel to the fire. Customers don’t care what your policy is; they only care that you’ve sold them a defective product or service and they want some kind of reimbursement. “‘That’s our policy’ might save a current sale, though all future business will likely be lost,” says Burley.

2: “There’s nothing I can do.” There is always something that can be done, even if you can’t do it directly. Lower level employees can call a manager, for instance. Or managers can give employees the power to defuse situations on their own. “Focus your team on problem solving rather than problem diverting,” says Burley. “Give them the freedom to find creative alternatives. Reward them for innovative solutions and brushfires doused.”

3: “Would you mind holding for a moment?”
While you may be asking them politely, you’re still putting them on hold. “Better to be specific and direct. ‘I’m going to put you on hold while speak with my supervisor, and I’ll check back with you in a minute or so if I haven’t an answer by then.’…Considerably more satisfying for your already frustrated customer,” says Burley.

4: “You’ll have to go to our website.” Burley says, “This is just another way of saying ‘I can’t help you.’” In this day and age, customers have probably already checked your website. So if they are calling, you need to help them find what they’re looking for. Email them a link to the correct page or walk them through it over the phone. If they are at the salon, offer to show them – if you don’t have other customers waiting – or again, offer to email them a link.

5: “That’s the manufacturer’s responsibility.”
This is a tricky one. While it’s better for the client to send their defective products back to the manufacturer, it looks like you’re trying to pass the buck. “You’re telling your customers that while you’re happy to take their money at the time of sale, you’re not willing to back them in a crunch,” says Burley. The best way to handle this is to see how you can help the customer with their problem first, before suggesting they contact the manufacturer.

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