Agent Experience

3 Phrases to Avoid in Customer E-Mails

Sending e-mails to customers is one of your main ways of keeping in touch. Make sure to avoid these three pitfall phrases.

Good communication is key to any business relationship. These days, there’s fewer phone calls and meetings and way more e-mails. But communicating over e-mail can sometimes be tricky. Why?

  • It’s harder to read someone’s tone over e-mail.
  • It’s easier for e-mails to get lost in the shuffle.
  • One minor typo could make you look unprofessional.
  • There can be a major lag time between e-mails.

But the major downside of e-mails? The possibility of coming off in a way you didn’t mean to. It’s incredibly easy to make a slight misstep in e-mail communication and regret it later. To make sure you’re keeping your communication clear, concise, and professional, avoid these three phrases.

  1. “There’s nothing we can do.” There’s never, ever nothing you can do. Maybe you can’t give the customer exactly what they were looking for, whether it was a refund or a product you don’t sell. But there’s always something you can do, like offering a discount on future products, fixing their product at little or no cost, or problem solving alongside them. By saying there’s nothing you can do, you’re shutting the door on the conversation and essentially telling them to stop communicating with you. That’s the kiss of death for a business relationship. Before you hit send, change it to something like, “Unfortunately I’m unable to take that particular course of action, but here’s what I can” You could even refer them to your supervisor if there’s truly no action you feel comfortable taking.
  2. “I don’t understand.” We all want to be understood. It’s human nature. Telling a client you don’t understand him or her or the problem—even if you don’t—comes off as cold, especially over e-mail. It makes it seem as if they’re not explaining things well or are unintelligent, when really there’s just some sort of miscommunication happening. Instead, say “Let me see if I’m understanding you correctly,” and try to articulate what the client said back as best you can.
  3. “That’s incorrect.” Correcting a customer is a huge no-no. We’ve all heard “the customer is always right” a thousand times, and although we all also know that isn’t true, it’s important to act as if it is. If the customer is wrong, assume that you or someone in your company gave them misinformation and say, “I’m so sorry that someone didn’t explain that properly. Here’s what’s actually going on.” By putting the blame and burden on your business instead of the client, it’ll help ease tensions while still correcting the information.