Customer Experience News & Trends

5 things reps need to stop telling customers

Talk informally with customers to build rapport and strengthen relationships. But stay away from conversations like these that will make the experience awkward.

Front-line customer service professionals want to make customers comfortable and make each interaction feel personal. So casual conversations about relevant topics are part of that recipe.

But some topics — whether they’re prompted by customers or service pros — aren’t right for discussion.

Front-line service pros want to avoid saying:

1. ‘Charlie never gets that right’

You don’t want to criticize co-workers, your boss or management to customers. From their perspective, you’re one team. A criticism of others is a criticism of you, too. It can cause customers to doubt your company’s competence.

If there’s a failure, take responsibility for the solution without pointing a finger. The customer doesn’t need to know who did what. The customers are focused on getting it fixed, which should remain your focus.

2. ‘They don’t pay me enough to …’

The old cocktail party rule holds true with customers: Don’t discuss politics, religion or money. Telling customers that you aren’t paid well enough likely makes them uncomfortable and think less of you and your company.

Plus, customers can’t do anything about your gripe. If your finances are an issue, that’s a conversation for your boss, not customers.

3. ‘I’m really not supposed to say this, but …’

Employees cannot share confidential information with customers. It might be tempting because a customer is one of the very best, or you’re excited about something new that will benefit a customer, or perhaps it’s just good news.

But you can’t compromise security or confidentiality, even if it’s for good news. There are reasons you know information that customers don’t — perhaps it’s for safety, proprietary, legal or competitive reasons. Only share what you know they can know.

4. ‘Things aren’t looking good here’

Every company has its ups and downs. If and when your company is having problems, there will be a right time for leaders to address it with customers.

Front-line customer service pros shouldn’t talk about sensitive internal information that may or may not affect customers. If you jump the gun with it, you might scare away customers. If you don’t have all the information correct, you’re just gossiping.

But, if your company is having problems, and customers have been told that, you want to be helpful with all the information you have when customers naturally ask for more details.

5. ‘I’m going through a tough time’

Front-line customer service pros who work with the same customers for a long time will likely become friendly with them. But you can’t assume customers are your friends. Don’t spill personal information or crisis on customers.

Customers don’t want to hear about a husband who doesn’t listen, a dog’s emergency surgery or a recent breakup. They want to take care of business, not get a spectator’s pass to your drama.

Stick to business, with an occasional side of pop culture, sports or weather.

Think of Twitter before you speak

The list of what not to discuss or say could go on and change with each passing day. If you’re ever questioning whether something’s a safe subject to discuss, consider this: How would it look trending with the company name on Twitter?

If what you’re about to say would go viral for the wrong reasons, zip it.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.