In customer service, language is everything. When a customer contacts a company with a concern or needs more information about a product, clarity is critical to making sure both the agent and customer are able to work together to find a solution or the information sought. However, brands nowadays are faced with a bit of a paradox: call scripts are frequently used in customer service communication to give agents quick and consistent answers for customers, yet modern customer service trends show a demand for a more personal, conversational approach that may steer away from scripted language. So how can brands express a positive and powerful message, satisfy their customers, and deliver individualized service all at once? These five tips can help strike the balance.
It may sound obvious, but this doesn’t mean merely being polite to customers. When a customer asks for technical support, for example, an agent who may not have the answers immediately should refrain from using any language that suggests an inability to solve the problem: “I’m not sure,” “I can’t find the page I’m looking for,” “I don’t know if we offer that,”—or worse—“We can’t do that.” Such language may not only frustrate a customer but make him or her lose trust in a brand. Customers contact brands to be reassured that there is a solution to their issue, and it’s the agent’s job to help find one.
In moments of uncertainty, it’s therefore critical for agents to use positive language that shows confidence. For example, an agent may say, “I can certainly check that for you” or “I believe there is a way to do that. Let me check that for you.” Such language is immediately encouraging to the customer, personal, and proactive—all critical to defining a great customer experience and giving the customer confidence in a brand. It’s likewise important to use language showing empathy for a customer’s situation, apologizing for any inconvenience and using phrases such as “I understand” to show consideration for a frustrating situation.
This can be a tricky concept, as it is important to keep a friendly, conversational tone with customers as it humanizes a brand and evokes customers’ trust. However, be sure not to extend pleasant talk too long and stick to the topic for efficiency. This is especially important on channels such as social media messages and tweets, chat, and SMS—all typically concise by nature. Even in a back-and-forth exchange, customers will want quick answers and relevant information. Lastly, emails—while typically more formal in structure—should also be kept to a length that gives just the right amount of pertinent information.
In chats, social media messaging, and SMS, agents should keep the language conversational—just as they would speak on the phone. It’s especially important for customers to feel they are communicating with a human being on a non-voice channel, so using a friendly yet professional tone is vital to the human aspect of the brand. Just remember that in all written communication, abbreviations should be used with caution (clarity is key here), and slang or other informal language should never be used.
One last and critical point is brand vocabulary, or the terminology behind its products and services. When agents communicate with customers on any channel, the terms used to describe products or services should match the company website, mobile app, and social media sites. In short, brands must be consistent in the vocabulary they use across all channels, and agents should be skilled in the brand lexicon and ready to use accurate but comprehensible terms when interacting with customers. This is also true for IVR menu options, as customers need to quickly and easily navigate these menus with recognizable terms.It’s one thing to speak to customers, and yet another to communicate. By using clear, consistent language with a positive tone and a personal touch, brands can win the trust and loyalty of their customers while delivering a great experience. Learn about Vocalcom cloud contact center software solutions for an effortless and personalized customer service experience.
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