Proper Verbiage for Customer Service

by Hunter Taylor; Updated September 26, 2017
Smiling clerk

Customer Service is usually the first point of contact for a current or potential customer. How the company representative interacts with the customer can be the difference between a sale or no sale, or a returning, satisfied customer. There is no specific verbiage that is better than another but there are certain elements that should be included when speaking to a customer.

Introduction

The representative must greet a caller, state the company's name, introduce himself and offer to assist. This ensures that the customer knows the company she is contacting, the person that is speaking and that he is willing to assist. Sample verbiage is, "Hi. Thank you for contacting ABC Company. My name is Jonathan. How may I assist you?" If the customer service is face-to-face, simply say, "Hi, how may I help you?"

Clarification

Often, customers are difficult to understand or hear. In these cases, the representative asks clarifying questions, then restates the customer's request. For example, a phrase to use would be, "If I understand you correctly, Ms. Smith, what you are saying is (rephrase the customer's concerns). Is that correct?" By asking questions and rephrasing the customer's needs, it shows that the representative is actively listening to the customer.

Closing

When closing the conversation, restate the customer's request, offer to provide additional assistance, then end the interaction. Restating the customer's needs assures her that the representative understood her reason for the call. The offer for additional assistance gives her an opportunity to make additional requests before ending the interaction with the company. Verbiage that can be used in the closing is: "Ms. Smith, today you requested two more CDs. We will ship them to 123 Main St. Anytown, USA 12345. Is there anything else I can assist you with? Thank you for contacting ABC Company and have a good day. Goodbye." For face-to-face interactions, simply say, "Thank you" or, if the customer is still browsing the store, "Please let me know if you need assistance."

Payment information

When the customer provides payment information, repeat the payment information back to the customer. If credit cards are used, verify the name on the card, repeat the card number and expiration date back to the customer. For instance, "Ms. Smith, the name on the card is Jane M. Smith. The Visa card number is 1234 4567 7890 0123 and the expiration date is 0511." If the customer service is face-to-face, it might be appropriate to say "Ms. Smith, please sign the receipt."

Follow-up

When customer follow-up is needed, set the customer's expectations. Let her know who, when and why someone will be contacting her. Use verbiage such as, "Ms. Smith, I will contact you on June 25th at 3pm in order to get the license number of the software."

Tips

Be courteous and polite to customers. Do not hesitate to use "please" and "thank you" when speaking to customers. Occasionally, customers can become abusive. Do not allow customers to use profane language toward you. In those cases, place the caller on hold or ask the customer to allow you to contact a supervisor or manager.

About the Author

Hunter Taylor has been a freelance writer since 2005. She has authored articles for the "The Social Contract Journal," as well as newspapers, legislative magazines and e-newsletters for state legislators and organizations. Taylor holds a Master of Business Administration from Shorter University.

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