10 Words and Phrases Customers Hate to Hear


customer experienceBusinesses thrive when its customers are satisfied. A key part of this involves providing them with proper customer service. When a customer is directed to a customer service representative, they are most often frustrated and in need of quick issue resolution.  This is where the customer service skills of the representative come in handy. Here, the customer service executive has to understand the importance of diction and avoid using words or phrases that might put off the customer. The words and phrases that must thus be avoided at all cost include, but is not limited to the following.

  1. It is our policy.

This is probably one among the most frustrating phrases that customers hear from the customer service representative when they voice their frustration and expect something to be done. Saying this gives the impression that the customer service representative is trying to shirk responsibility and shift blame away from the company and possibly to the customer for not having been careful. The best thing you can do in such a scenario is first to acknowledge their frustration and then proceed to tell them something on the lines of “I will see what I can do about it…”

  1. You are wrong.

Nobody likes to be told that they are wrong, especially a customer who has issues with the product and is quite frustrated. Informing that they are in the wrong might lead to an escalation of the issue and possible negative repercussions to the business. The key to avoiding that is to persist with getting more information from the customer and doing so in a manner that makes them feel respected and confident that their issue would be resolved.


  1. You will have to…

This phrase appears to be condescending and gives the impression that the customer is solely responsible for solving the issue. Instead, the customer care representative should phrase it in a manner that shows that he/she has assumed full responsibility for the issue and would be happy to help them out.

  1. We cannot do that…

In the language of the customer, this translates to “We will not try…” This leaves the customer agitated. Instead, you have to give the impression that you would do everything in your capacity to help them out. This can be achieved by means of using phrases like “Let me see what I can do…” or “I will certainly help you with that…”

  1. I am sorry, but we are a little busy right now…

This seems to imply that there are other things more important for the company than the customer, which is something that the customer will not appreciate. Alternatively, you can suggest other means f contacting you and give them an estimate of the tie that will be required for their issue to be fixed.

  1. I believe…

Using this phrase can make you come across as incompetent and unsure and that is the last thing you should do to an angry customer. You can reword it better by saying “Let me look into that”.

  1. To be honest with you…

Another one of the deadly sins of customer service is using this phrase as this gives the impression that the company had been dishonest and you, the customer service executive, is being honest with them. As this shows the company in a bad light this phrase should not be used. Instead, you can say “Let me get back to you…”

  1. No!

The last thing an irate customer needs to hear is a curt denial of his request.  You should be careful to use positive language while providing them with information that they might not want to hear.

  1. Would you mind holding for a second…

Telling the customer bluntly to wait while you put them on hold is not a masterful move. It gives the impression to the customer that the customer service representative has things to do that are more important than resolving the issues of the customer.  It is best to tell them kindly the reason for the hold and the exact time for which they will be placed on hold.


  1. That is the manufacturer’s responsibility…

Apart from displaying incompetency, this phrase also demonstrates apathy for the problems of the customer. As this won’t augur well for the company you have to replace that phrase with something on the lines of “Let me help you with that…” or “We can help you with that…”

Once the customer service representatives are trained to avoid such phrases and use alternatives that lead to better customer experience, it is sure to reflect positively on the overall performance of the company.  This is due to the fact that when an issue is resolved efficiently by the customer service representative, it gives the impression that the company actually cares for the wellbeing of the customer and has hired the right people and put together the right infrastructure to address their issues.