Lara J. Fabens gives her opinion on what she feels are five of the most over used words in customer service.
Five simple words have been abused terribly by everyone in customer service:
“I’m very sorry about that.”
Some manager some years ago read the Dale Carnegie book and thought “Boy, that’s a great idea!” Unfortunately, he heard the world “apologize” but not the word “sincerely.”
How many of us have run into a problem, and we had to call, or send an email, or the latest and greatest, chat on the internet.
No matter what you say, you get the same response. It could even be “I forgot my password” and you’re admitting it’s all your issue.
And what do you hear or see? “I’m very sorry about that.” And I have to wonder, “Why?” It’s obviously not your fault, nor your business’. What is there for you to be sorry about? It seems a silly thing to say.
And what happens when you do have a major problem, and it was their fault? You get the same five words. “I’m very sorry about that.” At this point, I really don’t care that you’re sorry. In fact, I’m not convinced you, the person I’m chatting with, really care. What I want to hear is “Let me fix that for you.” Same number of words but the meaning is very different, don’t you think?
In Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, he spent quite a bit of time explaining that good customer service involves sincere apologies, and then doing what you can to fix the problem.
When I spent 2.5 years in technical support at SGI in the late 80s and early 90’s, the first thing I was taught was to diagnose the problem and then fix it. Somewhere into the early 90’s, I was taught to apologize for the inconvenience first, then diagnose, and then fix. Being as this was a new technique, it worked. People felt like we genuinely cared that they were inconvenienced that the disk crashed and they had no backup. (We didn’t.)
And maybe that is my concern.
Having sat as a telephone jockey for technical support, I knew I was going to get paid no matter what. My management would often push us to solve problems and close cases quickly, and it reached a point where they got closed before they were resolved. And you know what we said? Yes. I’m very sorry about that.
So what can you do with your company?
First, find out what the issue really is. If it is your company’s fault, then apologize sincerely for the mistake, and tell them what you personally will do to fix it and by when. If it’s not your company’s fault, figure out what the customer needs to be happy again. Remember what the customer really wants is to feel important and have their problem fixed.
About the Author
Lara J. Fabans of Lodestone Consulting Service provides quality copywriting of reports, ebooks, white papers, email autoresponders, brochures, case studies, web pages, video and audio scripts, sales packets, etc to improve your converting of prospects to paying clients in your B2B Services business.