How a Language Lexicon Can Improve Your Customer Relationships

Refining customer service processes is an art, and one worth pursuing. The right customer service enhancements could be the difference between a loyal repeat customer for life and a one-time sale, to say nothing of your desire to avoid scathing reviews from unsatisfied customers.

Good customer service is all about customer relationship building, and one of the ways to instill that is through a uniform language that customer service representatives use — in other words, a language lexicon. The language lexicon is a list of ways that the customer service representative can interact with the customer so that they feel valued and listened to.

For example, sometimes you will have to put a customer on hold, if only to better serve another customer who called for help first. You may decide that for your customer service representatives, the classic “hold, please,” or “please hold,” is not sufficient. It feels dismissive and almost rude, despite the “please.” Better to instruct your staff to say something like, “Is it all right if I put you on a brief hold?” and wait for an acknowledgment before actually doing so.

Another example would be instructions on how to avoid certain trigger words like “need” or “owe,” as in, “This is what you need to do,” or “You owe us X amount.” These are words that tend to make the customer feel bullied. Much better is something like, “We show you have an outstanding balance of X.” Phrases like this communicate the point without being overly confrontational or critical.

Whatever you determine the preferred method is, your customer service representatives should have access to the lexicon and know immediately which words and phrases to avoid and which ones to substitute. This way, they can respond quickly and correctly in a wide range of customer service situations.

Another classic example is when the customer service representative responds with “No problem!” after being thanked by the customer. Presumably, the customer called because they were having a problem, so this response, while perfectly acceptable in casual conversation, may feel too dismissive. If your customer service reps have an automatic response to “Thank you,” such as “You’re quite welcome,” or “It’s our pleasure to serve you,” you are less likely to run into this problem.

Creating Your Lexicon

Developing your customer service language lexicon may take some trial and error, especially if you are not particularly experienced with customer service processes or customer relationship building. You can look at various customer service resources online to help you develop your lexicon, as well as communicating with your fellow executives and other employees about what the best approaches may be. After all, everyone on your staff is a consumer, too.

Customer service is critically important in every industry today, from manufacturing to retail and beyond. Taking the time to refine and standardize your customer service process can pay off in a big way when you are trying to develop a loyal customer base.

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