Removing “Unfortunately” From Your Customer Service Vocabulary
A while back, Phone.com CTO Alon Cohen requested that we strike the word unfortunately from our customer service vocabulary. Admittedly, I thought the request was a bit silly at the time. Unfortunately is a very common word. The problem is that it’s usually followed up with a “we can’t do that for you.”
One of our service standards at Phone.com is “Choice” which recognizes that we want to understand the needs of our customers and have the ability to meet those needs through flexibility and creativity. One of the amazing things about Phone.com’s service is that we can tailor a phone system to meet the telecom needs of almost any customer. Our customer service representatives are trained to help find creative solutions. If for some reason our creativity hits a limit, we will be the first to admit it and help customers find solutions that work best for them; even if it means sending them to another company.
Fast forward to the present and I can see the wisdom in what Alon was saying. You see, unfortunately is a mentality that if you are not careful will infect your customer service department. Unfortunately breeds laziness, routine and lack of innovation. In a previous blog post entitled “The Power of Let Me See What I Can Do” I propose a viable alternate to unfortunately. When a customer asks you to do something, no matter how outlandish, your gut response should be “Let me see what I can do.” When you begin to discipline yourself to respond with this simple phrase, even if you ultimately have to send the customer to another company, you will never have to say the word unfortunately again.
I invite you to try this on for size this week. Yes it takes a bit more time and effort but I guarantee your customers will appreciate you for it. In most cases, when you take unfortunately off the table you’ll receive great satisfaction in creatively solving problems for your customers. Let us know how this goes. Do you have any other forbidden words in customer service?