As that old saying goes “you catch more flies with sugar…something, something.” While I have never tried to catch flies, I have always assumed the saying means that when dealing with people, you get farther with them by being nice.
In the office talking to your coworkers in a pleasant, helpful way can lead to better, more productive interactions with them than if you are mean and nasty to everyone.
To accomplish this, take a cue from software-maker Help Scout’s customer service team and borrow some of their common phrases to have better interactions with your co-workers. Help Scout’s Gregory Ciotti has put together a list of phrases you can use for most common work situations:
“Happy to help.” Most unhappy customers don’t tell you they’re unhappy, they just walk away and the same thing is true for your coworkers. Ending conversations with this phrase lets the other person know you are willing and able to help resolve any lingering issues.
“Great question, I’ll find that out for you.” This phrase not only buys you some time, it keeps the focus on your customer. The biggest mistake to make is inserting yourself into the situation with something like: “I’m so sorry, I’m new!” or “Sorry, I’ve never been asked that before!” Reasonable people won’t mind a short wait for the correct answer.
“May I ask why that is?” A handy way to dig deeper into a complaint without without sounding abrasive.
“As much as I’d love to help…” This phrase avoids “We can’t do that…” or “to be honest with you…” (both phrases you should always avoid) and and puts a softer blow on your “no” while adding the reason why to the end. Because sometimes the answer is no.
Don’t forget the way you say these phrases is just as important: as Gregory says: “mastering [customer] support requires the experience of knowing just what to say and the wisdom to recognize the best way to say it.”
There are a couple more good phrases at Help Scout. Check them out!