Our words carry a lot of weight.
Using the right words in a tense situation can help build trust and relieve stress. Use the wrong words and you could end up compounding the problem. This is especially noticeable in customer support. In our remote team, word choice might be even more important for support than normal everyday communication. A lot of my interaction with customers happens through a written message, which means they don’t get to hear my tone of voice. When I send a message, I want to make sure that my word choice is clear, and it communicates the tone I’m trying to convey.
Though every response I send to customers is unique in some way, there are certain phrases I find myself coming back to time and time again to communicate a warm, helpful tone to our customers. Having these phrases in my back pocket helps me respond to customers faster, but still keep a personal touch. Here are a few of the phrases I use the most:
Thanks for letting us know.
I start most of my responses with some sort of “thank you.” Expressing appreciation for the customer is appropriate in just about every scenario. If the customer ran into a bug, I thank them for notifying us about the problem so we can get it fixed. If they’re unhappy about an issue that came up, I start by telling them thanks for letting us know about their concern, so they’re aware it matters to us. If they simply have a question or are sending a response to a previous email, I’ll say “thanks for reaching out” or “thanks for getting back to me.” Thanking the customer can help get the conversation off to a positive start and let them know we’re glad they got in contact with us.
Is there anything more frustrating than talking to a support rep who just doesn’t get your problem or understand why you’re agitated? Most of us likely have had negative experiences with customer support at some point, and we should try to use those experiences to learn how we can do better. I don’t find it pleasant talking to reps who don’t seem to recognize why I’m disappointed or upset. So when I talk to our customers, I want to express empathy for their situation and validate their experience. I want them to know that I get why they’re frustrated about the problem. And if I don’t understand yet, I ask a couple of thoughtful questions to help me get there.
Happy to help!
Sometimes customers might feel awkward contacting support about what they think is a trivial problem or feel embarrassed sending us back-to-back emails because they remembered things they forgot to include in their first message. Using positive language like this can help assure them that I care about their questions and am not bothered by their emails. In fact, that’s why our support is here. If a customer feels comfortable contacting support, they might be more likely to stick around when they run into an issue down the road, instead of jumping ship because they don’t want the trouble of asking for help.
Would you mind…?
Customers are busy. When I ask a customer to try completing a certain step or provide me with more information, I don’t want to assume they’ve got all the time in the world to do what I’m asking of them. Framing my request in this polite tone (e.g. “Would you mind resubmitting that form when you have a chance and let me know how it goes for you?”) is a simple way to communicate respect.
I’d like to help you get this sorted out.
At times, support conversations can get off to a somewhat negative start – the customer describes their problem, the customer is understandably frustrated about said problem, and the customer wants a speedy resolution. I like to use this particular phrase to reassure them and let them know I’m in their corner. I want to see their problem resolved, just like they do, and I’d like to team up with them to make it happen. Instead of it seeming like the customer vs. me + the problem, I want to change the perspective to be the customer + me vs. the problem.
Thanks for your patience.
Sometimes it takes a little while to find a solution and customers have to wait. When that happens, I want to acknowledge the delay and let them know I realize their time is valuable. Waiting isn’t ideal, but at times it’s necessary. Recognizing the inconvenience it causes for the customer can help diffuse potential frustration that might be caused because of it.
Thanks for your feedback.
Customers who go out of their way to give suggestions deserve a huge thank you. Not everyone will do this, so it’s important that the ones who do receive a warm response. Some of the suggestions might be genuinely good ideas that get implemented, while others might not quite be relevant to the direction we’re headed at that time. But either way, when customers take the time to proactively give us feedback, I want them to know I appreciate their time and their thoughts.
Please let us know if we can help with anything else.
I like to close out most of my support responses by leaving the door open on our conversation. Sometimes my replies don’t actually answer the customer’s question like I thought they would, and I want them to tell me so I can fix that. Or the customer may come up with other questions later, and I’d like them to know that we’ll be available when they need further help.
You might’ve noticed that almost half of the phrases in this list are some sort of “thank you.” There’s a reason a heartfelt thanks is among the “magic words” we learned as kids. Showing gratitude is important in our daily lives, and the same is true for customer support. Thanking a customer tells them they’re appreciated. It lets them know we value having them as a customer and we’re glad they chose us, instead of a competitor. It can help build rapport and turn a conversation around towards a positive resolution. Among the phrases I keep handy when responding to customers, a good old-fashioned “thank you” is likely the one I use most.
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Marketing & Product Manager
Emily can often be found reading, enjoying the outdoors with her dog, and trying to keep her houseplants alive.