Service Untitled calls it The Big List of Things Not To Say: “I’ve taken the time to go through quite a few posts, organize, and add to a long list of things that bloggers and their readers suggested that customer service representatives not say.”
Whether you are talking about phone communication or a website, there is a right way and a wrong way to talk with clients.
Service Untitled’s #3 thing not to say is [silence]. As in, always have some kind of answer.
Amen. If you have someone’s attention, and you stop responding, they will go away. This is what Ian says about contingency design- if someone looks for a page that does not exist on your website, great! This is your chance to take care of them and continue the conversation.
Take a look at the Search page for CASSIN Collections for an example of basic contingency design. Type in ‘boots,’ and click Search. CASSIN does not sell boots, so you get a result saying
Sorry, we didn’t find what you were looking for. Before you try your search again, you might want to look at these four hot items.
And then it shows you 4 items that CASSIN wants to showcase. (Disclosure- CASSIN is a client of ours, and I wrote that ‘no results found’ page.)
Sorry, we didn’t find what you were looking for.
First, I (the company) take responsibility for the user not finding what they want. You aren’t wrong, I am, and I am sorry. When on the phone, Service Untitled suggests “I don’t think that is 100% correct.” A tack I take is saying “I don’t get it” (making the language as formal as appropriate). It is not that you have explained your idea poorly, it is that I do not understand.
Before you try your search again,
Call to action. Of course the user wants to search again.
you might want to look at these four hot items.
Call to action. This part could be better if it was more specific. Like, “if you are passionate about fur coats, check out the Melissa. And if winter finds you lusting for color, take a closer look at the Beverly.”
And if you are serious about improving communication skills, then check out George Walther’s Power Talking.