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Customer Advocacy Language in Customer Care

Somebody will contact you … (In an hour, in a day, or in a month?) 

You’ve called the wrong department. Dial again and choose the correct extension…

Customers are willing to sit through yet another ‘Opus No. 1’ orOnly Time‘ musical track only when facing tricky and urgent matters. That’s why, for simpler questions, we’ve got self-service and chatbots to help, without the hassle of waiting on hold. We expect a robotic response from a robot, but when contacting a human representative, we need them to understand us, plead on our behalf, and provide a solution to the best of their ability.

This is what Customer Advocacy is all about.

To communicate that care over the phone or live chat, the language used makes all the difference. This is where the concept of Customer Advocacy Language comes into play.

In this blog post, we will review what Customer Advocacy Language is, explain why it is important, and provide a list of nine best practices and useful specific phrases to use in your customer service.

What is Customer Advocacy Language?

Customer Advocacy Language is a set of communication strategies, soft skills, choice of language, tone and phrases that your customer-facing teams should incorporate to demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction.

Advocacy is defined as any act that endorses, supports, defends, speaks in favor of, or pleads on behalf of others. The focus of Customer Advocacy Language is on building a positive relationship with the customer and creating a sense of trust and reliability.

Why is Customer Advocacy Language important?

Over the phone, the lack of body language and visual cues makes tone and language vital for effective and clear communication.

Your customer service representatives are (literally) the voice of your company. Every word said is one that your customers will associate with your brand.

It’s essential to convey empathy and support the customers’ needs in every conversation. Words have the power to shape thought. Even a single misused word that doesn’t align with the customer’s mindset can give the impression of insensitivity.

Customer Advocacy Language in Customer Care: 9 best practices with examples

1. Use the power of personalization

“A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” 
– Dale Carnegie.

Personalization through name mention

Addressing the customer by name establishes a bond in which you identify them as a named human being and more than just another ticket. When interacting with a new customer, politely ask for their name and use it throughout the conversation. For returning customers, consult your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system to find their contact details. This will leave your customer feeling like their needs have been cared for by someone who truly understands them. 

However, make sure the name-mentioning doesn’t sound forced, scripted, or overdone. A good rule of thumb is to mention their name at the beginning and end of the conversation.  

The trick here is to strike the right balance between professional and personable. Avoid using overly friendly or informal language, as it can undermine your credibility and authority.

Personalization with a CRM tool

Use a CRM tool to take personalization to the next level. This software lets you organize relevant customer contact details, previous interaction with the service, frequent concerns, purchasing history and more ‒ displayed in a timeline layout. That way you can anticipate their query and needs based on previous interactions.

Personalized incentives

Instead of offering one-size-fits-all incentives, use the information you already have on your customer to reward them with personalized perks. VIP programs, loyalty points, personalized discounts, freebies, surprise gifts, exclusive events, and early access, are all examples of different incentive types.

Did you know: 71% of customers want companies to provide personalized experiences, and 76% are left frustrated when this does not happen. (McKinsey)

2. Use positive language

Working in support involves dealing with customers who are experiencing problems with your product or service, and you might experience some emotionally-charged scenarios. Your job is to provide effective solutions to customers’ problems while maintaining a positive and professional attitude.

This means using words and phrases that communicate positive connotations.

  Positive language examples:

Avoid negative action words such as ‘won’t’ and ‘can’t’ that sound dismissive. Instead, focus on what you can do.

Instead of “That item is not available” try replacing it with “That item is currently out of stock, but I’ll be able to pre-order it for you. Would you like me to go ahead with that?”

Or instead of, “This is the hard part,” say, “This is the interesting part.”

Try replacing ‘You’ statements with ‘I’ statements and probing questions instead. That way, you show initiative, care, and responsibility while working together on finding a solution.

Instead of “You should call another department,” you can say, “I can transfer you to the right department.”

Or “You haven’t fully charged the battery” can be replaced with a probing question: “Have you tried fully charging the battery?”

3. Avoid passive voice

There is no faster way to lose customers’ trust in your business than to use the passive voice to distance yourself from accountability. This is particularly true when responding to customer complaints, as it may appear that you are not acknowledging responsibility.

True, customer service agents may feel tempted to use the passive voice in hopes of avoiding becoming the target of a customer’s wrath. But, wrong word choice can only aggravate an already irritated customer.

Instead of “There is a payment issue…” use “I have found the source of the issue, the payment…”

Keep in mind that using the active voice communicates a more personal and casual tone. Passive voice appears deceptive, lacks clarity and directness, and can lead to misunderstandings by failing to clarify who did what.

4. Remove the “Us versus Them” dynamics

“Sorry, that is our policy” is possibly the most annoying customer service phrase.

Customers are already under the idea that they are interacting with a faceless business representative who is biased in favor of the company. By using inclusive language when dealing with customers, you eliminate the Us vs. Them dynamic.

Instead of saying, “Sorry, that is our policy,” consider going the extra mile. Instead, say “We are able to do [ABC] or [XYZ], does either of that sound good to you?”

This way, you are downplaying the negative and offering an option to choose from, which helps your customer feel in control of their choices.

5. Avoid politely masked passive-aggressive phrases

It’s best to steer clear of phrases that appear polite but are actually passive-aggressive. 

Instead of saying, “As you are no doubt aware, our return policy is…,” simply state the policy. The same goes for “just so you know…” and “for future reference…”

Replace “Correct me if I’m wrong…” and “Let me know if I misunderstood…” with “What I’m seeing here is [XYZ], correct?”

Practice being clear about what you want to say, without hiding behind overly polite or passive language.

6. Maintain a consistent tone throughout 

It is easy to unintentionally adopt a dismissive and closed-off tone when the customer is asking seemingly basic questions after a long conversation. However, it’s important to remember that even though representatives may deal with similar issues every day, each customer’s problem is unique and unfamiliar to them.

Try to keep a consistently warm and friendly tone throughout the entire conversation. For example, instead of asking, “Would that be all?” ‒ which may come across as cold or dismissive ‒ try asking, “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

This demonstrates your willingness to be of service and makes the other person feel valued and respected ‒ no matter how trivial their issue is.

Tip: If your service reps are receiving multiple support requests for the same issue, consider developing a business-specific knowledge base that includes frequently asked questions and their solutions.

7. Don’t waffle

Customers only want their problem resolved so they can get back to their day ‒ and you have other tickets in the queue. Use brief, clear statements without getting bogged down in too many details. Focus on addressing their issue while providing additional information only if needed.

However, when trying to keep things short and sweet, make sure you don’t accidentally come across as abrupt. Take the time to ensure you fully understand the issue and that the customer is satisfied with the solution. Even after you’ve resolved the problem, don’t forget to ask if they need help with anything else.

8. Don’t get too technical

“Recalibrate the sensors and do a hard reset…”

It’s important to remember that customers may not be as familiar with the product or technical details as the support representatives. That’s why they’re reaching out for help in the first place! To make things easier for them, try to use simple language that everyone can understand and avoid technical jargon.

9. Show empathy

The name says it all ‒ customer care representatives should represent care and plead on behalf of the customers. They should be the friendly faces you reach out to when you need help or have any concerns.

As a customer rep, it’s important to show empathy by acknowledging customers’ feelings. It’s as simple as saying “I understand how frustrating that must be for you” or “I would feel the same way in your situation.” This lets them know you’re listening and that their experience matters to you.

Advocate for your customers and they will become your brand advocates. 

Some quick Customer Service stats: 

89% of customers are more apt to make another purchase after a positive customer service experience (Salesforce).

78% of customers would continue doing business with a company following a negative experience – if the customer care was good (Salesforce).

93% of customers are more likely to make repeat purchases from businesses that provide outstanding customer service. (HubSpot).

83% of customers are more loyal to brands that react to and resolve their complaints (Khoros).

6 simple yet powerful strategies to improve customer retention

Can you remember the last time you re-engaged with your customers and tried to win them back?

These strategies will do exactly that and more.

At FrontLogix, we know that customers’ interactions with our agents play a critical role in shaping their overall opinion of your business.

Therefore, we have implemented a rigorous 6-stage recruitment process to vet our customer rep candidates thoroughly. We evaluate their verbal and written communication skills and look for individuals with a “service-oriented” attitude.