A moment of truth is anything you do that affects the customer’s perception of you or your company. Sometimes the most costly business mistakes can happen in only a few seconds upon making a customer contact. How you handle these moments of truth will often determine your success in helping a customer. Here are five moments of misery phrases that create dissatisfaction for customers, and how to make them positive if not magic moments.

Misery Phrase #1: “I don’t know.”
There is no need to ever utter these words. If you don’t know, find out. Usually there isn’t a thing you can’t find out, outside of sensitive and financial information. Instead, create positive moment by saying, “ That’s a good question. Let me check and find out.”

Misery Phrase #2: “We can’t do that.”
This one guarantees to get your customer’s upset and dissatisfied. You are supposed to help. After all they are paying the bill. Instead respond by replying, “Boy, that’s a tough one. Let’s see what we can do.” Then, find or brainstorm an alternative solution. You create positive moments when customers know you are on their side and are trying.

Misery Phrase #3: “You’ll have to…”
NO way. This sounds like an order or edict. The customers don’t have to do anything but maybe spend their money somewhere else. Or, pay taxes.
Instead: Use phrases such as:

  • “A good next step is…”
  • “Here’s how we can help with that…”
  • “The next time this happens, here’s what you can do…”

Misery Phrase #4: “Hang on a second. I’ll be right back.”
Wow! What a promise. Remember, your create positive moments when you under-promise and over-deliver. When you say a second, you told a little white lie. Try telling the truth and see what happens. “ It may take me 2-3 minutes to get that information. Are you able to hold while I check or do you want me to call you back.” Or, “ I need to do some research on that how soon do you need the information? When I find the information when is a good time to get back to you? ”

Misery Phrase #5: “No!”
There are times that you can’t do exactly what the customer wants. However, the word “no” is useless and conveys a lack of willingness to try as it rejects the customer totally. Turn a negative into a positive; misery into magic by saying: “We aren’t able to refund your money. What we can do is replace the product at no charge.”

These misery phrases put a stop to communication with the customer. Through some creative thinking like the comments above you can take a potentially difficult situation and you can genuinely keep the dialogue positive, which gives you a golden opportunity to keep a customer.