Familiarity with idiomatic expressions is a must for call center agents. Idiomatic expressions or idioms are non-standard speech, slang or figurative expressions whose meaning cannot be directly deduced from the meanings of the words that composes it. Idioms are frequently employed by native speakers of English, which more often than not are the clients of our call center companies.
More importantly, call center agents must be familiar with idiomatic expressions because the use of idioms do not randomly happen in ordinary conversations but happens most often when one speaker is complaining to another. Studies show that the complaints play a significant role in throwing personal troubles or concerns publicly that is why complaints are formulated idiomatically. Idiomatic expressions are showed in unpromising unfavorable environments in which recipients have suspended commiserating or supporting with a complainant. Moreover, they also have a special heftiness that helps summarize a complaint in order to enhance its authenticity, and concurrently bring the grumble to an end.
Here under are some of the most common idiomatic expressions that a call center agent must know in order to ensure understanding communication with customers who native English speakers:
Beat around the bush –avoiding coming to the point or talking about what the client needs to know directly.
Give me the runaround – trying to evade the issue or to fool the client by not giving the correct and pertinent information needed. The customer is frustrated and felt being tricked or deceived by the agent.
Catch 22 – the dilemma of facing two unwanted or objectionable alternatives like the devil and the deep blue sea. The customer has no choice.
Lemon –description given to a defective or substandard product.
All ears – listen carefully or attentively
Cry over spilt milk – useless complaint for something that cannot be recovered.
Eat one’s words – admit mistake
Figure out – try to understand or solve the situation such as how to operate a product and solve the problem.
Fed up – tired, bored and dismayed with someone (agent) or something (product)
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