Join Fancy Mills for an in-depth discussion in this video Building rapport through writing: Words, part of IT Service Desk: Customer Service Fundamentals.
- Now that we've talked about style and tone, let's discuss our third element in written communication, word choice. Word choice conveys tone in written communication. Since we have no voice with the customer. To build rapport we'll need to choose words that state our message simply, positively, and succinctly. There's one word to avoid as much as possible in all communication. You. You can be construed as accusatory and negative.
It can cause a customer to think I didn't do anything, Why are you blaming me? Let's look at some examples of how we can limit, replace, or drop the word you. So what were you doing when it crashed? Versus What was happening when the system crashed? Who told you that information? Versus Where did that information come from? You'll need to click on the start button first before you go to the menu button. Versus To get into the system, click on start, then menu.
I will give you the instructions for changing the billing interval of your account here, and you can email me if you need further assistance. Versus Here are the instructions to change the billing interval. If there are any questions, please feel free to contact me. In these examples, we took out the you while keeping our message positive and moving forward. It takes practice to master this shift in your writing and speaking. So think about adding this to our list of takeaways.
Again, it's not wrong to use the word you, but we want to try to limit it as much as possible, and shift our focus to using more positive words. Let's look at some additional positive word selections. Often, using a we tone, puts us all on the same team. And it also helps us because it may not just be one analyst handling the issue. The we can convey an entire support organization tone as well.
The other words are just simple, positive word choices that convey a willingness to help, expresses empathy and keeps the contact moving which is extremely important. Let's look at some real-life negative examples and turn them into positive phrases. You need to long in to your account first. Becomes Here are the steps to log in to the account. I can't do anything until you resubmit the information.
Becomes, The process will start once the information is received. You should never click on that link ever again. It's dangerous. Becomes, We recommend to avoid those types of links. Clicking on them can open the system up to security risks. We can't do anything until we hear back from you. Becomes, Once we hear back, we can start the process. We assume this ticket is closed as we have not heard back from you. Becomes, The process is to close the ticket if no response is received in three days.
Please let us know if there are any issues. What you will need to do... Becomes, Here's what we recommend... Written communication doesn't have to be daunting or mundane. By focusing on style, tone and words our communication with customers can be handled efficiently, effectively and consistently.
First, Fancy provides guidance on how to use the right types of questions to gather information about an issue. Then, she explains how to professionally handle common customer service tasks, like escalating and transferring calls. Then, she shows how to hone interactions with customers by refining communications—acknowledging how tone and word choice can diffuse tension. She wraps up by covering common customer behavior scenarios in which the tools, techniques, and strategies from the course can be applied.
- Greeting and validating contacts
- Asking investigative and diagnostic questions
- Confirming and validating responses
- Reaching resolution and closure
- Using mute or hold on a call
- Escalating or transferring a call
- Building rapport over the phone, in writing, and face-to-face
- Refining word choice, style, and tone
- Managing conflict effectively
- Recovering unsatisfied customers
- Redirecting customers
- Identifying customer behavior