Complete Guide To Dealing WIth Difficult, Angry, Aggressive And  Abusive Customers

Learn what to say, when to say it and stay stress free, safe, and professional under pressure

What's a Verbal Softener?


Verbal softeners are phrases and words like "sometimes", "it could be", "perhaps" and so on that state things in a more ambiguous and less harsh way. They fall into the family of techniques that we call cooperative communication techniques, and are used both to prevent escalation and to defuse emotional situations.

From "Perfect Phrases For Customer Service":

People don’t respond well to language that sounds absolute,authoritarian, or harsh.For example,“We never make those kindsof mistakes” is very categorical and likely to antagonize evenmild-mannered customers. Here’s another way to put it: “It’sunlikely we’ve made a mistake.” The word “unlikely” is a verbal softener. Other softeners include “perhaps,” “sometimes,” “it’s possible,” and “occasionally.”
Here’s another example for a situation where the employee believes the customer has made a mistake.You could say,“Clearly,you’ve made a mistake.”That would be bad.You could soften the sentence by saying, “Perhaps you’ve misinterpreted something here.”“Perhaps” is the softener, but notice we’ve also replaced the word “mistake” with “misinterpreted,” a less harsh word.
Verbal softeners are valuable tools in helping you appear more cooperative and likable to customers and to prevent conflict.

For more on cooperative language techniques see:  What Is Cooperative Communication?

Search Our Site:

Most popular FAQs RSS

  1. Customer Needs/Wants/Customer Expectations - What's The Difference (100811 views)
  2. What To Do When You Don't Have An Answer ... (51381 views)
  3. When Does Customer Behavior Cross the Line To Verbal ... (49167 views)
  4. What Is Hostile and Abusive Customer Behavior? (44572 views)
  5. How to handle a customer who interrupts my conversation ... (40101 views)
  6. Should I Ever Hang Up On A Customer? (39137 views)
  7. What Is Cooperative Communication? (36415 views)
  8. How To Build Rapport During The Customer Greeting? (36030 views)
  9. How Do You Use The Non-Verbal Stop Sign With ... (33896 views)
  10. How Can I Be Notified Of Updates To angrycustomer.org? ... (30970 views)

Latest FAQs RSS

  1. I'm a manager and often have to deal with ... ()
  2. I want to fire a customer who is very ... ()
  3. Are My Peers (the people I work with) Internal ... ()
  4. Why do some customers stay angry even after I've ... ()
  5. Should I Ever Hang Up On A Customer? ()

Sticky FAQs