Do you know the power of the words you use in customer service? Your vocabulary is so important when interacting with customers. It’s not about the size of the words you use – it’s about their meaning and content. Certain words carry a positive, negative, or neutral connotation. Using too many “negative” words – words customers hate – can make your customer service interactions quickly head south. Too many neutral words can have the same effect.
The trick is learning to avoid the words customers hate and replace them with words that customers will embrace and respond positively to.
These Are the Words Customers Hate the Most
Following is a list of the words customers hate the most. If you can, do a quick site-wide audit searching for your uses of these words customers hate. Replace them with the suggestions listed by each word, or come up with a suitable replacement of your own. Note when you made the changes and track the results of changing your phrasing! You may find you close more sales, drive more traffic, decrease your bounce rates, and increase audience time spent on your website.
Without further ado, these are the words customers hate the most!
Details – Unless they’re already signing up and want to find out every little thing there is to know about a service, product, or company, the word “details” can be enough to send a customer packing. Details sound menial, time-consuming, and heavily involved – 3 things your customers want to avoid. Use instead: Information or insight
Advise – Unless you’re a company that is paid to advise customers, avoid using the word advise in your materials and website. You may want to position yourself as an expert, but ‘advising’ brings an air of condescension to the arena. Use instead: Recommend
Problem – Houston, we have a problem. A problem just sounds like it’s not going to be easy to solve, even more so than a challenge or issue. That’s why it’s one of the words customers hate – it makes it sound as though there’s no solution in sight. Use instead: Challenge, delay, or issue
Learn – Everyone, your customers included, knows that learning takes time. Time is something people are in very short supply of, and your product may be lauding itself as one that helps customers save time. If that’s the case, asking customers to learn about something will only sound like a cover for “time and productivity black hole that won’t be worth the effort in the end and definitely won’t save you any time.” Use instead: Discover
Cheaper – The word cheaper is usually used in comparisons – this one is cheaper than that one. Our product is cheaper than our competitor’s. The bad news is that cheaper makes things sound like they’re of a lower quality, not just a lower price. Don’t advertise being cheaper. Advertise being better. Use instead: Value, cost-effectiveness or affordability
Teach or educate – You may have all the right intentions – you want to educate and teach your audience about something they may not know about yet. But the words teach and educate can come off as condescending to a customer, who isn’t enrolling in a course, but simply trying to make a purchase or check out a website. Use instead: Share
Guaranteed – Nothing brings a 1970’s used car salesman to mind quite like the word guaranteed. It just sounds tacky because of all the bad marketing that has taken the once-innocent word over. Not your fault, but you can help whether or not you use it on your website or in your customer service interactions. Use instead: Promise, assure, ensure
Purchase – This is one of those words customers hate because it reminds them of what exactly it is they’re doing: Spending money. Purchasing. Buying. Try to direct their attention toward the positive part of the interaction for them: The benefits they will experience after the…okay, just this once…purchase. Use instead: Own