Customer Service Words You Should Stop Using

Words have power. This is especially true in the world of customer service.

What you say to your customers can make them happy or add to their frustration. It can either turn them into loyal, long-term customers or damage their perception of your brand. This is why it’s crucial to choose your words carefully. And to help you out, we’ve listed the negative phrases and customer service words to avoid at all costs.

If you’ve been using these words to deal with customers, now is a good time to stop. Avoiding these words will help ensure that you provide a positive customer service experience from beginning to end.

Things You Can Do To Provide Better Customer Service

There are many ways to provide better customer service to your valued customers. Here are a couple of things that you should keep in mind: 

  • Always be polite and respectful. This is a non-negotiable thing to do when interacting with a customer. You want to be professional and give them a positive experience with your company.
  • Try to be as helpful as possible. If a customer has a question, do your best to answer it fully and accurately. If they need assistance, go out of your way to assist them. 
  • Always show appreciation for your customers’ business. Thank them for their time, and let them know that you value their business.
  • Use positive words. This helps to create a positive and professional image for your company. It also makes customers feel good about doing business with you, which can lead to repeat business. 
A yellow x mark painted on a concrete surface.
Photo by Cole Ankney on Unsplash

Customer Service Words To Avoid

I don’t understand

Communication can sometimes be challenging. Language is imprecise, and we are sometimes at a loss for the right words to explain ourselves.

Nevertheless, your job is to answer specific questions that solve the customer’s problem.

When you tell them, “I don’t understand,” they’ll feel you aren’t listening or unaware of the issue. This can lower your credibility as a business.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • Let me clarify this one more time.
  • If I’m not mistaken, the problem seems to be
  • If it isn’t too big of an issue, please be more specific.

Let me check.

“Let me check” is a vague response to a customer issue. This may lead to a loss of confidence that you can provide them with a proper resolution. You want to be more specific. Instead of just saying, “Let me check” alone, try to add specific details.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • Let me check with my manager.
  • Please give me a moment to check your latest account activity.

I can’t help you.

This is a clear miss on the goal of good customer service. You should never decline help to your customer without context.

The standalone phrase “I can’t help you” does not belong in your customer service vocabulary. It is inherently rude and offputting.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • Let me connect you to the finance department to assist you with your concern better.
  • The options available to you are [Options or Resolutions]

Calm down

Telling frustrated customers to calm down is like telling them they’re overreacting. Nobody likes to be told how they should feel. The best way to calm a customer down a customer is by solving their issue as quickly as possible.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • “I understand how this must have upset you, and I’ll get on it immediately.”
  • “I’m sorry to hear about your frustration. Let me help you with this right away.”

There’s nothing we can do

Some customers may complain about something unrelated to your responsibility or expertise. The warranty might have expired, or company policies don’t protect against the problem.

But this doesn’t mean you can ignore their problems and tell them you can’t do anything about them. You could offer advice even if there is no way to fix the problem.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • I’m sorry to hear about your negative experience. I hope to solve this problem for you. You could try [Insert options].
  • I realize the extent of the problem, and I am sorry to tell you my hands are tied regarding this.

I’m not sure / I guess

Your customers want to feel confident about doing business with you. If you sound uncertain, you signal that you don’t care about their experience or lack the necessary competency to help them. Your job is to make customers feel like they are in good hands and that you are an expert in what you do.

What service phrase to use instead:

  • I believe we’re this issue is
  • According to what you have described, the issue appears to be most likely caused by

No

Your customer conversation needs to be free of negativity. That is not to say that you need to become a literal yesman, though. There are other more polite ways to disagree or say “no” to customers.

Here’s a quick example of scenarios of how to avoid saying straight-up “No.”

  • The customer is looking for help from a different department.

Don’t say: No, our department is not responsible for that.

Instead, say: Let me transfer you to another department.

  • The customer is asking if you see their point.

Don’t say: No, I don’t.

Instead, say: I do, but I would greatly appreciate it if you elaborate just a little.

Conclusion

Customer service is at the heart of every business. It provides the connective tissue that enables a company to thrive, inspire trust and carry out its mission.

And what you say to your customer matters. One wrong word or phrase can destroy the relationship you’ve worked so hard to build. This is why it’s important to remember these customer service words to avoid.

Customer Service Words You Should Stop Using

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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