When it comes to the perception of your business, you’re not in the driver’s seat. This is the age of the empowered consumer, and your customers are the people who will ultimately make or break your brand. To win them over, you need to deliver outstanding customer service. And to do that, you need to weigh your words.

Words are no less important than actions in the customer service world. It’s no surprise that the language you use has a huge impact on how the customer perceives quality of service. But it might come as a surprise that the 4 most important phrases in customer service are all 4 words or less.

As it happens, those well-crafted, word-perfect customer service scripts aren’t what make the biggest impact on your customers. The sentences that most matter are small and simple. So, here’s the 4 magic customer service phrases that make a difference – all in 4 words or less.

1. “How can I help?”

The combination of these 4 words will always be the single most important phrase in customer service. It’s not about you. It’s about the customer, and they’re only interested in how you can help them.

The fundamental purpose of any customer service function is to add value to customers’ lives. If you’re not helping, you’re not adding value. It’s as simple and essential as that.

For that reason, nothing matters more than finding out how you can help. Everything else is secondary and dependant on the answer to these 4 words. As well as enabling you to add value, establishing that you authentically care and that you’re there to help makes a powerful, positive impact.

“How can I help?” establishes trust. And where trust is the foundation, happy customers are the upshot.

2. “Thank you.”

These two small words make a big difference. If it sounds obvious, just ask yourself when you last took the time to thank your customers purely for being customers. It’s probably not all that recently in most cases… right?

Saying a simple thank you is about showing gratitude: which there’s never too much of in customer service. But it’s about more than appreciation alone. Thanking people – and doing so authentically – automatically makes your business appear warmer and more personable. That combination of appreciation and engagement is winning.

With two small words, you can help strengthen your relationship with customers and win loyalty. Seriously, you can’t afford to forget giving thanks.

3. “What are your thoughts?”

You might be surprised by this one. But think about it: when was the last time you listened to your customers? Actually listened? To their opinions on your brand and products, to their feedback and comments, to what they’d like to see from you in future?

Nothing makes a customer feel valued like showing them that their opinion matters. It’s flattering. And with the opportunity to converse with customers about your business, it’s also a great engagement tool.

By giving customers the opportunity to have their say, you show that you care. More than that, you gain real insight into your company from an external perspective. If you don’t know what your customers think, you can’t give them an improved experience.

To drive a customer centric culture across your business, start using these 4 words. After all, you’re blind without asking for thoughts and feedback.

 4. “I’m sorry.”

Never underestimate the power of an unconditional apology. Unhappy customers don’t want excuses: they want ownership and openness.

A genuine apology can work wonders. With a sincere “I’m sorry”, you can instantly transform customers from displeased to appeased. If you’re at fault, admit it. Any explanations and solutions can come after you’ve taken accountability and apologised.

Apologies help repair damaged relationships. They can’t undo the cause of the upset, but they can resolve the aftermath. In the long run, your empathy and answerability help build trust. And as everyone in business knows, trust drives revenue.

There you have it. These are the 4 miniscule phrases with serious customer service muscle. Try using them and see the huge impact of simple, meaningful words.