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Tragic Words and Phrases

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on 26 March 2015

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Transcript of Tragic Words and Phrases

Tragic Words to Avoid
"Hold on" or "Hang on"
"What's the issue?"
"Just a sec"
"Here's what I'm gonna do..."
"Let me pull you up" (on my screen)
Subtle Tragic Words and Phrases
Another form of a subtle, yet commonly used tragic word is the use of the word, "we." "We" can sound vague; it can leave the customer wondering who will take action and who will follow up with them.
Subtle Tragic Words and Phrases
Tragic Phrase:

"As soon as possible"

"I'll try"

"The truth is..."

"To be honest..."

Tragic Words and Phrases
Words and Phrases

The words we use can affect how others see us. Many of us use phrases that can chip away at our credibility--and a customer's service experience. These are known as Tragic Phrases.
Other Forms of
Tragic Language
It is always good practice to avoid slang during
interactions with customers. These expressions
bring our professionalism into question.

Inspired by
How To Talk to Customers: Create A Great Impression Every Time With Magic
®, Jossey-Bass, 2007
They are phrases that:

Put distance between you and a customer
Create uneasiness
Imply a lack of action or responsibility
Are impersonal or vague
Are slang/jargon
"I can't do that" or "We can't do that"
"He's very busy now"
"That's not my department. You'll have to speak with someone else."
"I don't know"
"We'll have to call you back."
"You have to..." or "You should have..."
"That's against company policy"
"Don't get upset"
"Like I said..."
"If you had read the policy..."
Implied Meaning:

"When I can get to it"

"Not sure I can do it"

"I probably shouldn't tell you this"

"I was lying until now"

"Who really knows?"
Tragic words and phrases are not always obvious. They can be subtle and imply messages we do not intend.
All of these examples are impersonal. Instead of bringing us closer to the customer, they create distance and rigidy--a "take it or leave it" attitude.
"We'll call you back"

"We'll take care of that for you"
If you are the one who will take action and follow up, use "I" to convey personal accountability. It will help with any uneasiness the customer may be experiencing.
"I will personally address that for you"

"I will call you at 4pm to follow up"
Avoid using industry-specific terminology or acronyms that customers may not understand. This can lead to a tragic breakdown in communication.

"Your BP is slightly elevated" (
My what?
"Your LDL is low" (
Is that bad?
"Use this 'fit kit' in conjunction with a BM..."
Full transcript