Customers Do Not Want to Hear This

“Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. – Damon Richards

We stress the importance of communicating with customers because without constant interaction it is very likely that customers may forget about a company / product. However, despite the importance of communication, companies must know all the things that customers do not want to hear, simply because these words may come across as flippant, annoying, creepy, tacky, and other not so pleasant adjectives to describe them. Without an understanding of what could tick customers off, a company may continually use words that customers do not want to hear, which could easily serve to ruin the customer’s experience with the company, and sever ties for good.

We know that at least 70% customers stop engaging in business with a company when they believe they were treated shabbily or had poor experiences. What is worse is that representatives of the company who may have used words customers do not want to hear, may not even realize they did something inappropriate. Every customer is different and while it may be tough to understand what could potentially turn off customers, it would be essential for customer facing employees to receive proper training in the words, tone, and pitch they use when speaking with customers. This would be true for both written and verbal communication. The scarier part is that most customers would remain silent even if they were offended, but they would leave and let everyone else know of the treatment they received.

It is extremely critical that a company and its representatives choose carefully what they say to customers, and refrain from using words that customers do not want to hear. At all times conversations must remain polite and pleasant, with thank you, please, happy to help, and other such phrases lavishly spread across. There would be times when customers would be unreasonable, and it is only natural that employees could want to let loose their anger and use words that customers do not want to hear, but it is vital to maintain balance and refrain from engaging in a war of words with customers. Some things are better left and some words left unsaid.

We know that the pet peeve of most customers is that they do not receive good customer service. The first people within an organization to be at the receiving end of customer ire are the customer service representatives, despite the fact that they are the ones who would be responsible for helping customers and sorting out their issues. As customers, we know that despite best efforts, service representatives offer say things we may not want to hear either because they do not realize what they are saying, or may be because they simply ignore common service etiquette. Either way customers hear what customers do not want to hear, which in turn leaves them feeling disappointed, angry, and even vengeful.

How often does your company say things that customers do not want to hear? Do your representatives realize that they may have committed a faux pas, or do most of these mistakes go unnoticed and unresolved? What are some of the things that customers do not want to hear? We list out some of the things (in no particular order) that research show are major turn offs for customers, and it would be best that companies stopped doing them. For customers, their every need, issue, problem, and even query is important to them, and would be unique and a big deal for them. On the other hand, customer service staff may deal with similar issues and problems all the time, and hence one customer’s issues would not be exclusive or different for them, but they must never express this fact. Telling a customer that their issue or problem is a regular thing, or not anything that requires attention, is possibly one of the top things that customers do not want to hear. Treat every customer as an individual, and the issues as being important and unique. This will encourage engagement and loyalty over time. Tying in closely with the callousness of saying to customers that their problem is just one of many, is telling them that they may be worrying or being anxious for nothing, and they should not. Customers do not want to hear this since it makes them feel inadequate, or being undermined. It really is the onus of the customer to deal with their issues as they deem appropriate – and would be inappropriate to tell them otherwise. It would be more prudent and polite for the customer service staff to tell customers that whatever their problem, the company would ensure it is taken care of and resolved. This is pretty much all that customers want to hear.

Another thing that would be irritating and therefore customers do not want to hear it, is making comparisons, or telling them that their issue is ‘similar’ to someone else. Also commenting on their tone of voice or mannerisms is a big no-no and doing so could pique customers enough to not only leave but also let others know about the ‘misdemeanour’ of the company. In addition, customers do not want to hear company representatives telling them to calm down. This sentence has a diametrically opposite effect, and results in customers actually flaring up, even if they may not have been as angry when the conversation began.  Never interrupt a customer or try to placate them with words that could seem like insults. Active listening is essential to allow a customer to vent – allowing them to do so usually make them calm down without the need to mention it expressly. Once they have vented, they would be in a better frame of mind to listen, and this is when the company representative must put forth her or his views.

Two other things, linked together, that customers do not want to hear is telling them that they do not understand the issue, and are the first to complain about something. The fact is that a seemingly ‘unique’ complaint would actually be pointing towards a bigger and more deep-seated problem, and it would behove the company to thank the customer for bringing it to their notice. By listening attentively, the company representatives would learn that even though it may seem like the customer may not have grasped the problem and hence the complaint, the truth would be that the customer might have uncovered a potentially disastrous issue. Customers want to be heard to feel important, and then there are things they do not want to hear from the company, and it would be necessary to feed both these needs.

It is not the job of a customer to listen – and hence one of the things that customers do not want to hear is being told that they are not listening to the service representative. Customers would have several things on their mind at any given time, and could feel distracted by either those things or the boring way the company representative may be giving them information. To capture and retain the customer’s attention, service representatives must know how to engage customers with an interesting conversation, and assure them that whatever their problem, the company would do its best to resolve it.

There are several other things that customers do not want to hear, but we think you would have got an idea. Customers today expect top class service from any company they interact with, irrespective of the size of their business or duration of association. Given the high expectations and the competitiveness they deal with, customers are easily frustrated and there is a lot more they do not want to hear. They expect the company to understand their needs, respond swiftly, and resolve their problem in a moment. For a company it is essential to get a handle on the things that customers do not want to hear, and train their staff to refrain from using those words or phrases.

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