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Customer Service Phrases to Avoid: Part 2

Category: Blog

Every brand makes mistakes sometimes, and interactions can be tricky for the customer service team when customers are feeling frustrated, but it’s the team’s job to turn this around.

As a Customer Service Advisor/Assistant, what you really don’t want is to be the cause of that frustration- or to escalate it. The key is to remain genuine, human, empathetic… oh, and steer clear of these phrases (trust us)…


“Actually, it’s…”

What’s the most common rule of customer service? The customer is always right!

OK, well, we know that they’re not technically always right… but it’s most definitely not for the Customer Service Team to point out. If a customer has misunderstood a situation, the chances are it’s been down to poor communication somewhere along the line.

That considered, instead of “actually” or “that’s incorrect”, you could try: “Let’s work through this together from the very top, so that we can get this sorted for you as soon as possible”. This will give you the chance to iron out any areas of confusion, whilst helping the customer resolve their query once and for all.


”I’m afraid a different team handles that. Try getting back in touch by contacting…”

Heralded one of the most annoying customer service phrases of all time in multiple surveys, this one is never a good idea.

Instead of putting the customer out by making them contact someone else, instead try something like: “I’m not too sure on that one; we have a specialist team who handle that and I want to get this right and all sorted for you. Would you mind if I check with them for you now?”. Alternatively, you could warm transfer the customer, asking the customer if you could place them on hold whilst updating your colleague on the case before transferring the customer.


“I can’t do that”

This blunt response is bound to annoy your customer.

First and foremost, it’s probably likely that a lot of the time there is something you can do.

If ever there really, really isn’t a thing you can do, then the chances are it’s a fairly reasonable and robust process that’s preventing you from taking the action the customer would like. In this case, why not try simply explaining the logic around the process to the customer, and then explaining what it is you can do to help their situation/query.


“Can I be honest with you?”

Your customer’s response to this question will always be a resounding “Of course!!” followed by the thought, “Were they not before?”
If you wanted to be a charitable person, you wouldn’t just say you’re a charitable person; you’d go out and get involved in charitable work! Well, this is no different. If you want to come across as honest and integral, you don’t need to tell your customers that you’re honest and integral, you just need to be it.

Actions really do speak louder than words.


“What’s your name again?”

A customer is likely to present their name at the very start of the conversation, so the best way to handle this is to make sure you’re switched on and ready to go straight from the very start of the interaction. Great listening skills are the key to avoiding this tricky situation.

That said, we’re all human, and sometimes mistakes happen! Sometimes we all mishear, and your customer will be no exception. Your customer has gotten in touch for help from a human, so use this blunder to turn the situation around and help the customer relate to you. Instead of simply saying “What’s your name again?”, you could try: “I’m awfully sorry, I know that you just gave me your name, but I just slightly missed it. I’m [name] and I’m speaking to?…”

A flippant “What’s your name again?” could come across as though you were never listening, but by acknowledging that you know they did give you their name- and apologising that you missed it- you’re showing that you were actively listening to them in the first place. By clarifying your name, you’re cementing the fact that you’re a human too; helping the customer relate to you, and hopefully forgive your mishap!


If you liked this article, and you missed the first one, why not give it a read: Customer Service Phrases to Avoid

Think you need some help with your customer contact? Just get in touch to find out what we can do for your business.