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Four Magical IT Customer Service Phrases (What to Say in Nearly Any Situation)

customer service

Customer service is all about relationships. Admittedly, sometimes the relationship has a very short life, such as when a call center technician gets a call for simple tech support like a password reset. Still, there’s a relationship. Even if the interaction lasts only two or three minutes, the other person’s memory of the interaction becomes their understanding of the relationship. That can last for years! Other times, the relationship is ongoing and long-term, such as the relationship between an MSP technician and a long-time client. Obviously, there are differences in how long-term relationships are handled compared to short-term relationships, but some practices apply regardless of the length of the relationship.

One constant, no matter the length of the relationship, is the importance of basic manners. In fact, basic manners are part of four phrases that can help in nearly any situation. I wrote about these four magical phrases back in 2015. They’re even more relevant now. Here are four magical and simple customer service words and phrases that are just basic manners. Frankly, they’re good to use in all relationships, not just in customer service.

4 Magical IT Customer Service Phrases

Phrase #1: Say please. It’s such a simple word, yet it conveys respect, caring, and civility. Well-trained law enforcement officials use “please” even when dealing with difficult people. The word please, although simple, is powerful in its ability to calm tempers and restore broken relationships. The use of the word “please” conveys kindness, respect, and civility. Here are some examples of how to use “please”: “Please let me know if that solved the problem.”, “Please describe what happened when you logged on.”, or “Please tell me any error messages you received.”

Phrase #2: Say thank you. “Thank you” is as powerful as “please” in customer service and, frankly, in life. Say “thank you” for small gestures, big favors, and everything in between. Say “thank you” for routine activities or something exceptional. When you say “thank you”, you’re saying that the other person matters, that you appreciate them, and they’re making a difference. Some examples: “Thank you for letting me know about the issue you were having with Slack. We weren’t aware of it and we were able to get it fixed, thanks to your letting us know.”, “Thank you for emptying the trash.”, or “Thank you for whatever it was you did to the database. It’s running much faster now.” Look for opportunities to say “thank you”.

Phrase #3: Ask, “How can I help?” This simple customer service question, asked sincerely, can disarm even the angriest customer or coworker. It says you want to be of service, you want to solve whatever the problem is, and you care, one human to another.

Phrase #4: Say, “I’m sorry.” Saying “I’m sorry” conveys both compassion, that you care, and empathy, that you’re trying to imagine what the other person is going through. It can also be an apology when a system fails to perform as expected. Similarly to “How can I help?”, saying “I’m sorry.” conveys human-to-human caring and starts the process of repairing damaged relationships.

Obviously, there is more to customer service than just using basic manners. Still, being polite and civil to your customers and coworkers, using these four magical customer service words and phrases, goes a long way toward building positive relationships that will stay with you throughout your career.

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