customer service phrases to avoid

7 Deadly Customer Service Phrases to Avoid

Keeping the customers satisfied is the number one priority for any business. It’s your duty to do everything in your power to solve the customer’s problem while making them feel appreciated and taken care of.

This is why it’s so important for the agent to speak to the customers with respect and patience while avoiding phrases which might set the customer off.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 7 deadly customer service phrases to avoid.

1. “I don’t understand”

customer service phrases to avoid

When a customer reports a problem or an issue, it may happen that they start talking a little bit hasty and impulsive, making it hard for you to understand what the problem is.

However, you need to bear in mind that it’s your job to help them define the problem and make it easy for you to help them.

The worst thing you can say to a customer at that point is, “I don’t understand”.

This will make them feel like you aren’t listening or you’re insinuating there is no actual problem. There are much better ways to ask your customer to be a bit more specific:

  • “OK, so let us clarify this one more time…”

  • “If I’m not mistaken, the problem seems to be that…?”

  • “If it’s not too much of an issue, I would ask you to be a bit more specific…”

Ask specific questions about the parts you didn’t understand and let the customer know you’re listening very carefully.

2. “Calm down”

customer service phrases to avoid

A customer who wants your help isn’t going to be happy about you telling them to “calm down”.

This is the same as saying “You’re overreacting” or “It isn’t such a big deal”. And for them, it is a big deal, and they expect you to solve it.

Here’s what to say 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 that right away.”

This will help you calm them down and let them know you care about their feelings.

3. “There’s nothing we can do”

customer service phrases to avoid

As a customer service agent, you’re bound to receive complaints from people about something which has nothing to do with customer service and is a problem you’re not even supposed to deal with. For example, people might have lost or broken something they bought from you or they have other unrelated issues.

Still, you can’t just ditch them saying “There’s nothing we can do”.

Instead, try this:

  • “I’m really sorry to hear about this. I wish we could solve this problem for you. Maybe you could try…

  • “I realize the nature of the problem, and I’m sorry to tell you that my hands are tied when it comes to this.

Even though they won’t be happy to hear that you can’t help them, they’ll appreciate a softer way of letting them know.

4. “That’s impossible”

customer service phrases to avoid

This is a phrase that careless customer service agents use to signify two things:

  1. It’s impossible for me to help you.
  2. It’s impossible that you’re experiencing such a problem.

Either way, it’s completely out of lin, and your customer is most certainly not going to be happy with such a reply. Therefore, try to substitute this phrase with a better-sounding alternative:

  • “This feels like an issue which might be out of my control, but let me double check that…
  • “The problem you’re describing is rather peculiar, so allow me to ask you a couple of more questions about it…

“You need to acknowledge your customer and provide a positive, encouraging answer. You can’t let them leave feeling unsatisfied,” says a marketing specialist at PickWriters.

5. “I’m not sure / I guess”

customer service phrases to avoid

People want answers and not vague explanations and guessing.

As a customer service agent, it’s your job to make them feel like they’re in good hands and you know what you’re doing. Therefore, avoid saying:

  • “I think I know what the problem is, but I’m not sure.”

  • “I guess you can try solving it this way…”

Instead, make your level of expertise evident:

  • “I believe we’re dealing with…”

  • “Based on what you’ve described, the issue is most likely…”

This way, you’ll sound much more professional and efficient.

6. “I’ll get back to you”

customer service phrases to avoid

Putting a customer on hold is almost like telling them their problem isn’t important enough for you or you don’t want to talk to them anymore.

To avoid making your customers feel like you’ve let them down or you’re trying to get rid of them, make their wait justifiable:

  • “I understand your issue and if it’s alright with you, I’m going to ask you to hold on while I try to find the solution.”

  • “Let me get right on it. If you don’t mind, I’ll get back to you once I resolve this.”

Let the customer know you’re not putting them on hold for someone else or for dealing with problems unrelated to theirs.

7. “No”

customer service phrases to avoid

Negative energy should not be a part of your customer service conversation.

In general, you need to replace everything that carries some sort of a negative connotation. That is not to say that you need to become a literal yesman.

Let’s take a look at a couple of examples on how to avoid saying straight-up “No”:

Customer: Is this something you could help me with?

  • Bad: No, that’s not in my department.
  • Good Yes, let me just transfer you to a different department.

Customer: Do you see my point?

  • Bad No, actually I don’t.
  • Good I do, but I’d appreciate it if you elaborated a bit further.

There are sneaky ways for you to avoid using “No” and replace it with something a bit more encouraging.


As a customer service agent, you often work under a lot of pressure and deal with situations you’re not even sure you can handle. Still, it’s your job to ensure your customer gets the assistance they need and have a pleasant experience talking to you.

Therefore, use the advice we’ve given you above and pay attention to everything you’re saying. Always choose those phrases which show compassion, empathy, understanding, and readiness to help.


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