An increasing number of businesses operate in a multilingual environment. Language skills have become an essential part of customer service, and making sure that clients have a positive experience.
Language is one of the most undervalued tools to improve customer experience. You can increase client satisfaction and even turn a bad experience into a positive one simply by using the appropriate terminology.
Whether you work in a café, a restaurant, or a boutique, there are some key French phrases which you can use to improve the quality of your customer service.
If you are an English speaker who wants to better interact with francophone clients, you have come to the right place. This guide will cover the essential French customer service phrases, and explain how to use them.
One of the hardest things to do when working in customer service is dealing with unhappy clients. Fortunately, there are some phrases you can use to de-escalate the situation and improve the customer’s experience.
When dealing with a customer complaint, the first thing to do is apologize for the issue to show that the business is taking ownership of the problem and is committed to fixing it.
It is important not to be dismissive and instead show empathy towards the client, so they feel heard and trust you will take their complaint seriously.
Here are two French customer service phrases which are useful for apologizing to customers:
Je suis sincèrement désolé(e) que vous ayez ce problème.
I am truly sorry you are having this issue.
Je prends votre plainte au sérieux et nous allons travailler avec vous afin de résoudre ce problème.
I take your complaint seriously and we will work with you to resolve this issue.
When a customer issues a complaint, they expect you to offer possible solutions. Sometimes, not much can be done to fix the problem, but even the smallest gestures count.
If you can do something to improve the customer’s experience, no matter how small, you should offer them. If you want to inform the customer of potential solutions in French, you could say something like:
Voici ce que j’ai à vous suggérer pour l’instant.
Here is what I can suggest a this point.
J’ai quelques solutions à vous proposer afin de régler votre problème.
I have a few solutions to suggest for us to solve your problem.
Bien que nos options soient limitées, voici ce que j’ai à vous offrir.
While our options are limited, here is what I have to offer.
After offering different solutions, you need to let the customer decide which option they prefer and if they are satisfied with what you are proposing.
For example, there is no point in issuing a refund if the customer simply wants a replacement product. You can use these French phrases to inquire to your client about their preferred solution:
De toutes les solutions proposées, laquelle vous semble la plus acceptable?
Of all the proposed solutions, which one do you think is the most acceptable?
Mon but est d’améliorer votre expérience avec nous, alors laquelle de ces solutions vous parait la plus raisonnable?
My goal is to improve your experience with us, so which of the following solutions seems the most reasonable to you?
It is also possible that none of the solutions you offer will be acceptable to the customer. If this is the case, you can always ask them what they would like you to do. Then, you can explain whether this is possible or not.
Comment aimeriez-vous que l’on règle votre problème aujourd’hui?
How would you like us to solve your problem today?
Je suis désolé(e) que nos solutions ne vous conviennent pas, que voudriez-vous que l’on fasse à la place?
I am sorry that our solutions do not work for you, what would you like us to do instead?
Je vais m’informer auprès de mon gérant afin de savoir si c’est possible ou non.
I will check with my manager to find out if this is possible or not.
Malheureusement, ce n’est pas quelque chose que nous pouvons vous offrir.
Unfortunately, this is not something we can offer you.
You never want to send a customer home without addressing all of their concerns. Sometimes people come in with one main complaint but also wish to discuss other matters with you.
Some of the French phrases you can use to ask your customer if you can do anything else for them include:
Est-ce qu’il y a d’autres problèmes que vous désirez adresser aujourd’hui?
Are there any other issues that you would like me to address today?
Est-ce que je peux faire quoi que ce soit d’autre pour vous?
Is there anything else I can do for you?
Est-ce que nous avons bien répondu à toutes vos questions?
Did we answer all your questions?
How you address the customers visiting your business can help develop meaningful relationships with them. The quality of the relationship with clients matters because people are more likely to become repeat customers when they feel a connection to you.
Not everyone is comfortable walking into a store and asking for help. Some are shyer than others and hate to bother. That is why you should remind your customers that they are welcomed, and you are happy to help them.
To effectively communicate this in French, you could say:
Je suis plus qu’heureux de vous aider.
I am more than happy to help you.
Qu’est-ce que je peux faire pour vous, il me ferait plaisir de vous aider aujourd’hui!
What can I do for you, I would be happy to help you today!
Faites-moi signe si vous avez d’autres questions, il me fera plaisir de vous répondre.
Let me know if you have any further questions, I will be happy to answer them.
Sometimes customers come in with specific questions, and you might not know the answer to all of them. Do not panic! It is perfectly fine not to answer right away, but you never want to leave the customer hanging. Let them know that you will find out the answer and get back to them as soon as possible. To do so, you could say:
C’est une excellente question! Je vais aller m’informer auprès de mon gérant pour vous.
That is a great question! I will go check with my manager for you.
Malheureusement, je ne peux pas vous répondre immédiatement. Donnez-moi quelques minutes et je vous reviens avec la réponse.
Unfortunately, I cannot respond to you immediately. Give me a few minutes, and I will get back to you with the answer.
Customers keep a business going, and you need to show them your appreciation for choosing you. After serving the customer, you can genuinely thank them to show you are grateful for their trust.
A sincere 'thank you' is one of the great ways to build long-lasting relationships with clients. Here are some French customer service phrases for doing thanking clients:
Merci encore une fois d’avoir choisi de faire affaires avec nous!
Thank you once again for choosing to do business with us!
Merci beaucoup de nous faire confiance et à la prochaine!
Thank you very much for trusting us and see you next time!
Besides the obvious offending and rude statements, there are also other phrases you should avoid in customer service. Although they usually come from a good place, they might come across as tone-deaf or disingenuous to your customers. Two phrases, in particular, should be avoided at all costs!
The first one, you have probably heard multiple times yourself:
Votre appel est important pour nous.
Your call is important to us.
This phrase is so cliché and overly used, it might end up irritating your customers more than anything else. Some companies will play this sentence repetitively while their clients wait for hours to speak to one of their representatives.
While it is meant to be reassuring, it usually has the opposite effect and leaves customers feeling unimportant and unheard.
The second French phrase you should avoid using when working in customer service is:
Nous nous excusons pour tout inconvénient que cela pourrait causer.
Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.
Some perceive this statement as a way for the company to avoid dealing with the issue at hand. It sounds dismissive, and it removes the responsibility from the business to help their customers.
It is also overly used, and clients are tired of hearing it. While you should apologize to customers when dealing with a complaint, you should also follow up with potential solutions.A Final Word…
Working in customer service can be tricky but using the appropriate language and terminology can help you develop long-lasting and meaningful relationships with your customers.
Hopefully, this article was able to teach you useful French words and phrases to improve customer experience, and better support your francophone customers!
PS: you can use our free language tool, VocabChat to create and record your own French vocabulary and phrase lists.