Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hateful Phrases

Yesterday I ran across an article aimed at small businesspeople that everyone in business or government ... or any service-related position ... ought to read: 5 Phrases Customers Hate the Most. You can read the entire article if you want, but here are the Big Five:

"That's our policy." The author of the article says he usually responds to this weak dodge by saying, “Your internal policy decisions have nothing to do with my expectations of customer satisfaction.” I would just say something like, "I understand. My policy is to take my business elsewhere, and take as many of your customers as I can with me. Would you like to try again?"

"There's nothing I can do." Of course there's something you can do ... you can pull your head out of your backside and connect me with someone who has a functioning brain.

"Would you mind holding for a moment?" This one is bad enough, but even worse is when the person on the other end answers the phone, says "ABC Company, please hold," and then immediately sends you to Holding Hell to listen to cheezy music and recorded ads without giving you the option to say "no."
"You'll have to go to our website." I really hate this one ... generally because I've already been to the website and need to talk to a human being.


"That's the manufacturer's responsibility." No, ass clown, it's not the manufacturer's responsibility ... I bought the item from you, and you were happy enough to take my money without having me send it straight to the manufacturer. How about taking responsibility for the item you sold, eh?

Each of these is totally infuriating to Real People who are trying to get service or a simple answer to a question. My experience over the years is that it usually takes at least three phone calls to different people in any organization to finally get to the person who can actually help, or is willing to do so.

I've found that it sometimes helps if I ask for the name of the person I'm talking to, and make a point of saying that I'm noting the date and time of the call. Asking to be transferred to a supervisor sometimes helps also, although it usually comes at the cost of being put on hold yet again.

Here are a few more irritating phrases ...

"Your call is important to us, so please continue to hold." My call is obviously not important ... otherwise, someone would have answered it.

"Press one for (insert choice here)." The degree of infuriation here is compounded when I press the correct number and am connected either to another set of numeric menus or to someone whose English is so abysmal as to be unintelligible.

"Can I have your customer number, please?" This one is legitimate, but becomes infuriating when you've already entered the requested number at the beginning of the call, before being connected to a human being.

And finally,

"This call may be monitored and recorded to ensure customer service." Oh, come on ... the only thing being recorded is my phone number, so that you can sell it to someone else who can call me at inconvenient times to ask stupid questions or try to sell me something I don't need or want.

So, Dear Readers, how about you? What are the phrases that make you grind your teeth in helpless rage? Leave a comment for ol' Uncle Bilbo ... you don't even have to talk to someone in Bangalore to do it.

Have a good day. Don't bother holding ... just come back tomorrow. More thoughts then.



eViL pOp TaRt said...

"For your convenience" when it's solely for the originator of the recorded message.

Duckbutt said...

"Press one if you want to check your balance, two if you want to ....

Elvis Wearing a Bra on His Head said...

"Your call is important to us" but they leave you on hold.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I'm sure glad I don't use any of those phrases and as business owners we too believe they suck as well!!

Now if only we could have this article list what dumb ass customers shouldn't say! Now that I would pay to read. My favorite is when I am asked if we're any good? REally? I'm going to say we suck?
I could make that list trust me.

Mike said...

Hold on, I'll be right back. Making a comment is important to me.

Bilbo said...

Angelique, Duckbutt, & Elvis - noted!

Peg - I look forward to reading your list!

Mike - "click."

John said...

So has so much automation made people more rude?

Or have rude people led to more automation?