Simon Says – Keep it Positive

By Elaine Senecal / Illustration by Chris Lewis

Simon Says - April 2004

“I can’t.” “You don’t.” “It won’t.” “I wouldn’t.” “It shouldn’t.” “We couldn’t.”

It takes time, effort, and practice to turn all these do nots into a positive customer service approach. Agents are much more likely to successfully interact with callers when they use positive words and phrases.

When agents must refer the caller to another number, instead of saying, “I can’t help you here but…,” they should try saying, “Let me refer you to the department that can assist you.” These words direct the customer’s attention towards the positive and away from the negative.

We want our agents to be taken seriously, to be the “get things done” type who have definite answers. Many customer service centers use scripting to direct the conversation for agents. However, even when scripting is used, it is important to use a positive approach.

Saying, “Thank you for being so patient,” is much more positive than, “I’m sorry you had to wait so long.” No one likes to be reminded that he or she might forget something, so say, “Please remember to…,” rather than, “Don’t forget to…”

Listen to how the agents in your center respond to callers. Ask them how they could reword negative phrases to take a more positive approach. Get them involved to help them improve their skills and to be aware of learning opportunities!

[From Connection MagazineApril 2004]