call-center-english

27 English Phrases Call Center Representatives Can Use Over and Over Again

Do you know what company won the “Worst Company in America” award, given by Consumerist, twice?

Comcast.

Why?

Well, a big part of it was due to its call center customer service.

What did the call center representatives do that was so bad? Of course, we can’t say that any one representative did do anything wrong. But there were some complaints that they failed to show customers empathy.

In order words, they failed to make the customers feel as if they understood how they were feeling.

Not bothering to show empathy can make customers feel frustrated, embarrassed and even angry.

As a call center representative, it is important to use the right words. That’s right: Simply saying the right words during the call can make customers feel that the person on the phone empathizes with them.

But it can be difficult to know what the right words are in English, especially if English is your second language.

You may already have a lot of the English language you need to handle everyday business conversationscustomer complaints or even sales situations. Now you are about to learn a few more great English phrases to ensure that you can create and show empathy to customers.
 


 
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What Not to Say

Has a friend ever tried to make you feel better, but the words they chose actually made you feel worse? That is what happens sometimes with call center situations.

So, before learning what to say during a call center call, it is helpful to look at what not to say.

Here is an example of a bad call center experience:

Call Center Representative (CCR): Hello, Acme, Inc. Shelly speaking. How can I help you today?

Caller (C): Yes, hello. I have a question about my bill.

(Silence on the other end of the line)

C: Hello? Are you still there?

CCR: Yes, but I don’t deal with that.

C: What do you mean, you don’t deal with that? I’ve been on hold for the last 30 minutes. I followed all of your prompts to talk to you and now you’re telling me that you won’t help me?

CCR: Calm down, sir/ma’am.

C: Don’t tell me what to do. Just tell me how you’re going to help me with my billing question.

CCR: Sir/ma’am, if you don’t calm down, I’ll have to terminate this call.

C: What! And make me go through the process of waiting to talk to a real person all over again?

CCR: Okay, I’ll just put you on hold…

C: Maybe I’ll just cancel my service.

CCR: Look, I’m new here. I don’t know how to answer your question. Would you like to speak to my supervisor?

(Caller hangs up)

Ouch. What did the call center representative say to frustrate and anger the customer?

  • Well, the first problem was the silence on the other end of the line. The customer is already confused about his or her bill and frustrated because of the long wait to talk to someone. Silence on the other end of the line only increases both feelings. The customer does not know what is going on.
  • Telling customers that you do not deal with their problem makes them feel as if they are bothering you. These days, some customers might walk into a store with a problem and be told to call customer service. Customers understandably feel that whoever they reach is supposed to be there to help them. You are their last resort. It is only natural that customers become frustrated when you tell them that you cannot help them.
  • The call center representative makes the situation even worse by making the customer feel as if he/she is the problem. The customer has to calm down or else the representative will terminate the call. The customer feels as if the representative is treating him or her as a child who does not know how to behave.
  • The end of the call completes the negative experience for the customer. The call center representative wants to put the customer on hold. What! The customer just complained about the long wait time and now has to wait again?
  • Then the representative admits not knowing what to do. The customer is now wondering, “What kind of company is this to put such inexperienced people in contact with customers?”

What to Say

It is not a crime to be new on the job or to get a call that you do not know how to handle. It is part of the job. However, just knowing the right words to use can make all the difference in such situations. Remember the negative customer service experience above? Well, below is how the call service representative could have handled the call in a way that showed empathy.

Call Center Representative (CCR): Hello, Acme, Inc. Shelly speaking. How can I help you today?

Caller (C): Yes, hello. I have a question about my bill.

CCR: It sounds as if you need the billing department. I’ll transfer you to that number. Here it is, though, in case you get disconnected.

C: Really. You have to transfer me? I’ve been on hold for the last 30 minutes. I followed all of your prompts to talk to you and now you’re telling me that you won’t help me?

CCR: I understand how frustrating that can be—let’s see how we can work this out. We can work together to answer your questions, but only if we can discuss the matter calmly.

C: Of course. I’m sorry. It’s not your fault that I have this problem. Thank you for working with me. You see, here’s what happened…

CCR: I see. I’m going to have to consult with a colleague. I’ll be back with you soon—in 2 or 3 minutes max.

C: Okay. Thank you.

(2 or 3 minutes later)

CCR: Thank you for holding. Here’s the answer to your question…

Much better, right? What did the call center representative do to give the customer a positive experience? They showed empathy: “Of course you don’t want to have to talk to another person. I understand. Let me see how I can help.”

The representative gets this message across by using phrases like:

  • “It sounds as if you need the billing department” instead of “I don’t deal with that.” The representative does not make the customer feel as if they are a burden. They are just in the wrong place and the representative is helping them find the person who can answer their question.
  • “We can work together to answer your questions, but only if we can discuss the matter calmly” instead of “Calm down.” The customer representative shows the customer willingness to work with him or her. The customer thinks, “Oh, okay,” and calms down.
  • “I’m going to have to consult with a colleague” instead of “I’ll just put you on hold.” Now the customer knows why he or she is being put on hold and the expected wait time. The customer is willing to wait, knowing that the representative is working on his or her problem.

27 English Phrases for a Positive Call Center Experience

Below are 27 phrases a customer center representative can use to create a positive call center experience.

Phrases for Dealing with an Angry Customer

1. I understand that this has been inconvenient for you.

2. What I can do right away is…

3. I apologize for the inconvenience, and I assure you I’ll do everything I can to help you.

4. I understand how frustrating that can be—let’s see how we can work this out…

5. I appreciate your patience in this matter.

6. I’m going to do everything I can to get this resolved as soon as possible.

C: Really. You have to transfer me? I’ve been on hold for the last 30 minutes. I followed all of your prompts to talk to you and now you’re telling me that you won’t help me?

At this point, the call center representative could use any of the following combinations of phrases:

  • I understand that this has been inconvenient for you, and I apologize for the wait.”
  • “I understand that you’ve been waiting for a long time and need to have this issue addressed. What I can do right away is consult my colleague about your problem. It will only take 2 or 3 minutes.”
  • I apologize for the inconvenience, and I assure you I’ll do everything I can to help you. Now, what is your question?”
  • I understand how frustrating that can be—let’s see how we can work this out.”
  • I appreciate your patience in this matter. I’m going to do everything I can to get this resolved as soon as possible. Can you hold for 2 to 3 minutes while I contact a co-worker who would be better equipped to answer your question?”

Phrases for Advising a Customer

7. I would suggest / recommend…

C: I just spilled water on my keyboard. Now it doesn’t work. Can you fix it?

Here, the representative could use this phrase in the following way:

  • I would suggest that you buy an external keyboard and attach it to your computer. That way, you won’t have to buy a new one.”

Phrases for Making a Process Sound Easy

8. All you need to do is…

9. An easy way to do that is to….

C: I think I’m going to need to upgrade my browser. How do I do that?

At this point, the call center representative can use any of the following phrases:

  • All you need to do is to click on the link that tells you that it’s time to upgrade your browser. It will take you to the correct page.”
  • An easy way to do that is to click on the link that tells you that it’s time to upgrade your browser.”

To Upsell (To Sell Other Areas of the Business)

There are times when your job may be to sell customers other products or services that they did not ask for. When this happens, it is important to use the right phrases to gain their interest and trust.

10. You will only be charged…

11. We offer a variety of options…

12. It’s a great service / product that gives you the option of / capability to ___.

13. This is the best plan / product for your particular needs.

14. For just ___ , you can ___.

15. For special customers like you…

Here is how you could use them in complete sentences:

  • “I was just checking your account and I see that you are eligible for our in-home security package. You will only be charged for the set-up and the first six months of the service are free. You can cancel at any time.”
  • We offer a variety of security options that might interest you, since you’re often away from home.”
  • It’s a great service that gives you the option of checking in on your apartment on a regular basis no matter where you are. So instead of worrying about what’s going on when you’re away, you can rest assured that everything is safe and sound in your absence.”
  • This is the best security plan for someone with your particular needs.”
  • For just $50 a month, you can feel secure about your home when you’re away.”
  • For special customers like you, I’m willing to give the first six months for free.”

To Show Your Willingness to Help

16. With pleasure.

17. I would be happy to help/assist you.

C: I was wondering if you could answer a question for me.

At this point, the call center representative can use either of the following phrases:

  • With pleasure.”
  • “Certainly, I would be happy to assist you.”

To Make a Customer Feel You Are Their Partner in Solving a Problem

18. Let’s take a look at this…

19. That’s a good question…

20. I would be more than happy to…

C: Hello. I’m calling from out of town because I noticed that I wasn’t billed this month. This is a bit strange. Do you know why?

At this point, the call center representative could respond like this:

  • “Hmm. Let’s take a look at this.”
  • That’s a good question. I would be more than happy to look into that for you.”

To Make a Customer Feel Good About Their Choice

21. That’s a good choice / a popular item.

22. We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on ___.

C: I think I’ll take the tablet upgrade.

At this point, the call center representative can use any of the following phrases:

  • That’s a good choice.”
  • That’s a popular item.”
  • We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on the new tablet.”

To Make a Customer Feel That They Are Part of a Tribe (A Group of People Like Them)

23. A lot of people prefer to…

24. What other customers have done in your situation is…

C: I’m trying to choose the best computer for my home-based business.

At this point, the call center representative could use either of the following phrases:

  • A lot of people prefer to use a desktop for working at home and a tablet for when they travel.”
  • What other customers have done in your situation is to use a desktop for working at home and a tablet for when they travel.”

To Make a Customer Feel Special

25. Because you’re a valued customer…

26. It’s your right to know…

27. I’m happy to let you know…

The call center representative might use the phrases in the following ways:

  • Because you’re a valued customer, I’m happy to let you know that we’ll be sending you a special gift. You will receive it on December 15, right in time for Christmas.”
  • “Now, it’s your right to know that this offer is only valid for a year. Afterwards, you will pay the market price.”

 

Now, wouldn’t you feel as if a call center representative empathized with you after hearing those phrases?

Creating a positive call center experience is simply about creating empathy.

You can easily do that with the right choice of words. Using this list as your guide will give you a great start.

Now go out there and create great experiences. Good luck!
 


 

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