Business English on the phone - 4 tips to stop customer service going bad

Es ist nicht immer leicht, Kundenbeschwerden professionell und verbindlich am Telefon zu behandeln.

Mit diesen vier Tipps des Newsletters Secretary Today - Professionelles Business English für Sekretärinnen und Assistentinnen gelingt Ihnen in Zukunft auch das schwierigste Telefongespräch mit Ihren Kunden.

Handling customer complaints is never easy, especially in a foreign language. Use these four tips to give your customer perfect service on the phone when they have complaints.

1. Use, but don´t overuse the customer´s name
Have you noticed that customer service hotlines make a point of using your name two or three or even more times during a call? In principle, using a person´s name means you are taking them seriously, but overusing it can have the opposite effect. Look at this sentence:

"Well, Mary, I´m really sorry you are not happy with our offer. So tell me, Mary, what can I do to make it more interesting? Because I´m sure you´ll agree that this is a good idea in principle, Mary."

This does not sound genuine at all, don´t you agree? The name Mary is just being used far to often. The first time is enough; after that, there is no need to use it. After all, you wouldn´t talk to someone you knew like that, would you?

2. Don´t mispronounce your customer´s name
Some people have names that are difficult to pronounce. This is particularly the case with English names, which are often pronounced completely differently from the way they are written. For instance, the name Geoff is pronounced Djeff, Sean is Schorn. If in doubt, ask straight away if you have got it right.

"Mr Finch ... Have I got that right?"
"Your name is Aaron. Have I pronounced that right?"

3. Sympathise with the customer
Show the person that you understand how they feel.

"I can understand how frustrated you feel. Let me see what I can do for you."
"I know exactly what you mean."

4. Prepare to take action
Even if you´re not sure what to do, promise to take action.

"I´d like to see what I can do to help you."
"I´d be glad to help you to solve this problem."

How to end telephone calls in Business English on a friendy note

Der letzte Eindruck bei einem Telefongespräch ist ein bleibender. So beenden Sie Ihre Telefongespräche in perfektem Business English.

Ending telephone calls on a friendly note is an important skill. After all, the last impression you make is just as important as the first.

There are many ways to say auf wiederhören. Some are formal, some are very informal. Here are some handy Business English phrases for you to use at the end of phone calls with business partners and colleagues.

"Goodbye"           formal
"Bye bye"            semi-formal
"Bye"                  less formal
"Bye for now"      less formal
"Cheerio"            less formal
"See you"           informal
"Take care"         informal
"Cheers"             very informal