57 Essential Customer Service Terms Every Support Agent Should Know

Lavender Nguyen
January 26, 2021
Every industry has its own language atmosphere, and customer service is no exception. There are a lot of words and phrases that sometimes, only customer service representatives can understand.

The more involved you’re in this industry, the more terms you might need to learn. 

In this post, I’ll share 57 popular customer service terms to give you a quick boost of customer service fluency. You’ll also learn positive words for effective customer service, plus negative ones to avoid. 

Popular customer service terms

1. Agent

An agent or a support agent is someone who interacts directly with customers and solves support requests (or tickets).  

2. Average first response time

Average first response time is the average time it takes for your customer service team to send the first response to a customer after receiving a request. 

3. Average handle time

Average handle time is the average time it takes for your customer service team to handle a case from start to finish. 

4. Average response time

Average response time (also average reply time) is the average time it takes for your customer service team to get back to a customer throughout an entire customer ticket lifecycle.

5. Backlog

Backlog or ticket backlog refers to unresolved customer support tickets in a specific period. These tickets go into a backlog of requests due to ticket volume, agent performance, or complexities that require additional time to be solved. 

6. Business hours

Business hours refer to the days and times when your support agents are available to support customers.

7. Call center 

A call center refers to an office where agents are receiving and answering calls from customers. 

8. Channels

Channels refer to all the possible ways—for example, phone, email, SMS messaging, social media, live chat—your customers can reach your support team. 

9. Churn

Churn happens when a customer stops using your product or service over a certain period. 

10. CRM

CRM or customer relationship management refers to the software that helps manage customer relationships, customer interactions, and lead generation. 

11. Collision detection

Collision detection refers to sending alerts to agents when another agent is viewing and possibly updating the same ticket. 

12. Conversion rate

For ecommerce-dedicated customer service tools like Gorgias, conversion rate refers to the ratio between created and converted tickets. 

13. Converted tickets 

For ecommerce-dedicated customer service tools like Gorgias, a converted ticket is a ticket that is followed by a sale within 5 days. 

14. Customer effort

Customer effort refers to the amount of work a customer has to take to resolve an issue themselves. The lower the customer effort, the better. 

15. Customer experience

Customer experience refers to the impression your customers have with your company throughout all aspects of their lifecycle. 

16. Customer intent

Customer intent refers to the thoughts of driving a customer’s action. In Gorgias, customer intents include shipping/status, refund/request, exchange/request, order/damaged, order/cancel, and many others.

17. Customer journey

Customer journey refers to the complete experience that a customer goes through when interacting and engaging with your company.

18. Customer ticket lifecycle

A customer ticket lifecycle or simply ticket lifecycle refers to various phases (e.g., New, Open, Resolved, Closed, Reopened, Marked, Deleted) a ticket can go through. 

19. Customer satisfaction (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) measures your customers’ general satisfaction and happiness with your products and customer service. 

20. Customer service

Customer service refers to the service you offer to customers after they purchase your product or service. 

21. Downtime

Downtime refers to when your website is unavailable for customers due to an issue or maintenance. 

22. Escalation 

When a ticket can’t be solved by one support agent and needs to be transferred to the next person who has the expertise to provide support, it’s called escalation. 

23. Feedback

Feedback refers to customers’ opinions about their experience with your company and how you could improve.

24. Feedback loop

A feedback loop refers to a process that involves gathering customer feedback, taking necessary action, and communicating the results back to the customers. 

25. First contact resolution rate (FCRR)

First contact resolution rate measures how often your support agent resolves cases in a single response.

26. Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions refer to a collection of the most common questions about your product/service and the answers to them.

27. Help desk

A helpdesk tool like Gorgias is the software that companies use to streamline their support workflow and offer customers a positive experience. 

28. Key performance indicator (KPI)

A key performance indicator is a data-driven goal that measures the performance of a support agent or a team.

29. Knowledge base 

A knowledge base is a self-service online library containing all the information about your product or service.

30. Live chat

Live chat is a support channel that allows you to talk with your customers in real-time.

31. Loyalty

Customer loyalty refers to customers’ choice of using your product or service over competitors.

32. Macros

A macro is a pre-made response you can use to respond to your customers faster. In Gorgias, Macros can perform many actions on a ticket, for example, adding tags, adding an attachment, inserting response text, and more. 

33. Multi-channel support

Multi-channel support refers to providing support in more than just one channel. 

34. Net promoter score (NPS)

Net promoter score measures how likely your customers are to recommend your product or service to others. 

35. Omnichannel support

Omnichannel support refers to offering support across many channels, making customer experience completely seamless. 

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36. Onboarding

Onboarding refers to the process of walking new customers through your product or service.

37. One-touch ticket 

A one-touch ticket is a ticket that gets a single reply from an agent and is then immediately closed. 

38. Open ticket

An open ticket is the default stage of the ticket lifecycle. It indicates a ticket that needs to be assigned to an agent or dealt with in any way.

39. Overdue ticket

An overdue ticket is a ticket that hasn’t been solved during the agreed time according to the Service Level Agreement.

40. Quality assurance

Quality assurance refers to the process of monitoring and maintaining customer support standards under pre-defined criteria. 

41. Reassign 

Reassigning a ticket refers to a ticket that is already assigned to a particular agent but now gets handed over to a different one. 

42. Resolution rate 

Resolution rate refers to the percentage of issues your customer service agents actually resolve from the number of total tickets received. 

43. Resolution time 

Resolution time refers to the amount of time between when a ticket is opened, responded to, and closed by an agent. 

44. Retention 

Customer retention refers to a company’s ability to retain its customers over a specified period.

45. Rules

Rules refer to the event and trigger conditions that allow you to perform certain actions like assigning tickets to a specific agent or tagging tickets. 

46. Scenario

A scenario refers to a schematic script with pre-made answers to some common questions or issues. 

47. Self-service portal

A self-service portal is an online platform that allows customers to access information and resolve their problems by themselves. It’s also where support agents can find important information quickly to share it with customers.

48. Service level agreement (SLA)

A service level agreement is a set of performance standards you set for your support team, and their jobs are to meet those expectations. 

49. Shared ownership

Shared ownership is the ability to share a ticket between team members. In Gorgias, you can access this feature regardless of the plan you subscribe to. 

50. Survey

A survey is a well-designed questionnaire sent to customers—generally, after resolving an issue—find out their satisfaction level or collect feedback.

51. Ticket

A support ticket or support request describes a customer’s problem that you need to handle. 

52. Ticket routing

Routing refers to the process of determining which agent will resolve a customer's request. It’s useful to avoid workload for an agent, increase agent performance, and streamline your support workflow. 

53. Ticket status

Every ticket that is created in a helpdesk like Gorgias has a status. It can be Open, Closed, Delete, or Pending.

54. Ticket view

Ticket views are useful to filter tickets according to your preferences. For example, Gorgias supports 4 ticket views, i.e., open tickets (all the tickets that are open), my tickets (all the tickets that are opened or assigned to you), support@company.com (Open tickets from your support email address only), and closed tickets (all the tickets that are closed)

55. Ticket volume

The number of tickets that support agents or customers creates on a day-to-day basis. It’s important to know your ticket volume to scale and organize workloads. 

56. Touchpoint

A touchpoint refers to any contact a customer has with your company. It includes interacting with a live chat on the checkout page, clicking on a website CTA, or filling in a form. 

56. Unassigned ticket

An unassigned ticket is a ticket that hasn’t been assigned to a specific agent.

57. Variable

In helpdesk tools like Gorgias, variables include ticket channel, ticket subject, ticket id, and more. You can insert variables into macros to automatically bring customer data from third-party apps into your helpdesk. 

Powerful customer service phrases

One of the most important rules in customer service is no matter who you’re dealing with—an irate customer or a happy one—you always have to give them great support. That means you have to show a helpful attitude, a smiling face, and a gentle voice.

Of course, customers aren’t always right, but when you work as a customer support agent, it’s your job to be courteous and respectful. You need to learn what to say/what not to say and how to say the right way. Otherwise, you’ll leave a bad impression, which eventually harms your business. 

A smart strategy is to use powerful words. These phrases will help you communicate with great confidence and make customers feel positive about your products, enabling you to deliver great customer service.

The following are some powerful customer service phrases that you can use to enhance your communication with customers (in no particular order):

Greeting customers:

  • Thank you for visiting our website. My name is [...], I’m here to help you. 
  • Thank you for chatting with me. I’m here to help you with anything you need.
  • What can I help you with today?
  • Can I help you with something?
  • I’ll be happy to help you with that. 
  • Hi [...]. Happy to see you back here! How can I assist you today? 
  • I’d understand your situation, and I’d love to help you out. 

Telling customers that the chat may be recorded:

  • I want to let you know that we’ll keep a transcript of our live chat for quality assurance. 
  • I hope you won’t mind that I keep our conversation. It’ll be used for improving our customer service.

Apologizing for an issue: 

  • I’m really sorry that you haven’t got your order. Let me check it for you now.
  • I completely understand your frustration, and I apologize for the inconvenience. Let me look into it and fix it for you.
  • I apologize for the inconvenience you’re experiencing. I’ll look into it right now and get back to you with more details.
  • I’m deeply sorry about your broken order. I’ll check with the shipper right away and see how we can solve this issue for you. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding.
  • I’m very sorry, but we’re not shipping to that region. 

Offering a solution:

  • I think the best way to go about your issue is to do the following [...]
  • May I suggest you try [This] or [That]
  • I looked into your issue with [X], and here is the solution that would fix your problem.

Putting customers on hold:

  • I don’t know, but let me find out.
  • Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
  • I certainly can check that for you. Can I get back after some minutes?
  • I understand your feelings, and again, I’m sorry. Please let me talk to the team, and I’ll get back to you soon. 
  • Will you hold for a moment while I check on that.
  • Thank you very much for waiting. 
  • May I put you on hold while I check the status of your order. 
  • Can you please hold for a moment while I review the information you have provided? I’ll be right with you.
  • I’ll put you on hold for a moment while I review the information. I’ll get back to you with an answer shortly.

Asking for additional information:

  • I’ll be happy to check on that for you. May I please have your name?
  • Can you please give me your [...] so we can verify your account?
  • Do you mind if I ask for more information before we proceed?
  • Can you please give me your credit card number so I can place this order for you?
  • May I ask for your billing address?
  • Can you give me your address so I can check the shipping fee for you?
  • May I ask you for your birth date so I can verify your identity?

How to thank customers:

  • I’m so glad I could help you.
  • Is there anything else I can help you with?
  • I’m glad your problem is solved. May I help you with anything else? 
  • Thank you so much for letting us know. 
  • Thank you for shopping at our store. I hope to hear from you soon!
  • Thank you for chatting with me. I hope you have a great day.
  • Thank you for using our live chat. If you don’t have any more questions, may I close this chat?
  • Thank you for contacting us for help. If the problem arises again, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Negative words to avoid in customer service

Here are some phrases you should avoid when dealing with upset customers. 

  • No, I can’t help you.
  • I can’t do that for you.
  • It’s not our fault.
  • I don’t remember.
  • I don’t know.
  • I already told you before. 
  • Read our FAQ first.
  • We’ve never had this issue before. 
  • It’s weird.
  • Okay. What do you need? 
  • What’s wrong?
  • Are you unsatisfied?
  • Are you confused?
  • What’s your problem?
  • Did you check your bank account? Maybe the problem is with you.
  • It’s not our responsibility to answer your questions.
  • You have to handle the shipping yourself. 

Ready to advance your customer service skills?

Now you’ve known the top 57 customer service terms. Master them, and you can bring your customer communication skills to the next level.

For customer service phrases to use, remember that there is no magic word or one-size-fits-all solution to all problems. There are times when saying “I’m really sorry about your missing order” is enough to calm a customer down. But it might require more than that, plus years of experience to deal with customer complaints and angry customers. 

The best practice is to learn power words for customer service, then adapt them to a specific situation. 

Ready to take your customer service performance to the next level? See what Gorgias can do for you by signing up for a 7-day free trial today!

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