Quick Post: Use the right words.

I called a company yesterday and asked to speak to a friend of mine who works there. The person who picked up the phone informed me that my friend wasn’t in the office today. I thanked and him and he said “no problem, man.”

Besides that one word, the customer service experience was just fine. The phone was answered quickly, the representative was friendly and polite, and all of that good stuff. It was just that one word that threw the experience off.

Short story shorter, don’t use words like man, dude, brother, sister, etc. when talking to customers. Inform your representatives not to use words like that. They aren’t bad per say, but they definitely aren’t appropriate for a customer service call.

For most companies, you are better off to avoid using that language when doing anything associated with work. I’ve had a client call me brother several times in a phone call before. I wasn’t going to say anything, but it’s funny.

I’m not old by any means and those words are familiar enough to me. I know whoever is saying them means well – they just aren’t called for in a professional environment or interaction.

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(I wonder if Google is going to punish my lame sense of humor.)

3 Responses to “Quick Post: Use the right words.”

  1. Major said:

    Jul 04, 07 at 11:33 am

    I have to agree with you here. However, it depends on the type of relationship that you have with the customer as well. When I speak to the same customer repeatedly, I begin to build a rapport with them, and conversion can occasionally turn casual.

  2. Service Untitled said:

    Jul 04, 07 at 9:27 pm

    Hi Major,

    Thanks for your comment! Definitely. As you build a rapport with particular customers, it is a different story. Some people are okay with it – others aren’t. When you get to know someone better, you can read that and act appropriately.

  3. vin Subrajmanan said:

    Jun 30, 08 at 5:46 pm

    This post made me laugh. One of my first jobs was at a call center. Although it wasn’t too long ago, it seemed like we all knew how to handle ourselves on the phone, and do our best to make sure the consumer was happy. Since then I’ve seen a decline in the quality of customer service in general. some companies still surprise me, but most, even the stalwarts of old, are starting to totter on the brink of mediocrity. I recently picked up this book called Deliver and Measure, by the President of MindShare. It focuses on reintroducing old customer service ideas into 21st century business.