GoResponse Telephone Answering Service Staff

Don’t ban negative words to enhance customer services

Modern call centres are making a big effort to provide the best quality consumer care. In their pursuit of excellence, some have banned agents from using negative words to promote positive conversations and interactions with callers. However, a study by Dr Anna Kristina Hultgren suggests that banning words can result in increased call duration as telephone answering services agents struggle to get to the point.

In one case, call centres were prohibiting the use of “unfortunately”. The unforeseen effect of this, however, was that agents spent a lot of time finding a different way of telling consumers they could not meet their demands. As a result, call duration increased and the quality of customer services was negatively affected. It remains important, therefore, to consider every action and ensure it does not lead to a potential problem.

One way to deal with negative words is to teach agents better conversational techniques instead of simply banning specific terms or phrases. For example, call centres often use the acronym PIA (Power Word, I statement, Assurance). This helps to create a structured response to consumers that builds rapport, gains trust and effectively solves problems quickly.

Instead of banning words, especially those that are concise and help agents keep call duration as short as possible, staff should be taught to use conversational techniques. Even though these might be a challenge initially, they become second nature to many agents over time and can improve the overall level of consumer care for a brand.

award winning