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25 Customer Service Phrases to Use + 19 You Must Avoid

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25 Customer Service Phrases to Use + 19 You Must Avoid

May 22, 2024
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7 min read
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Ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it?” 

When it comes to customer service, however, it’s both. The words you choose can make or break an interaction, turning a potential crisis into a win or a loyal customer into a lost cause. They can evoke emotions, influence decisions, and even shape perceptions. 

The customer service phrases you use regularly can set the tone for the entire interaction. Say, “How can I assist you today?” and you’re already creating a helpful, positive atmosphere. But if you go with something like “What do you want?”, well, you’re setting a whole different mood—one that’s not so inviting.

According to a study by American Express, 68% of customers say the key to their positive service experience was a pleasant customer service representative. That’s right, nearly 7 out of 10 people attribute their satisfaction to the tone and words used by the customer service agent. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned customer service rep, a manager training a new team, or a small business owner wearing multiple hats, we’ve got you covered. Explore the phrases that can elevate your customer service game and the ones you should absolutely steer clear of.

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Customer Service Phrases to Use for a Positive Customer Experience

These are the words and expressions that can create customer satisfaction and elevate a routine customer interaction into something more—something that leaves a lasting impression. So, if you’re looking to make your customers feel like they’re more than just a support ticket, here are some positive phrases that can help you do just that.

Customer Service Phrases to Use for Building Rapport

Building rapport is like laying the foundation for a house; get it right, and everything else falls into place. Here are some phrases that can help you connect with your customers on a more personal level :

1. “How’s your day going?”: This simple question can set a friendly tone for the entire conversation. The phrase shows you’re interested in the customer as a person, not just as a ticket number.

2. “I’m here to help you.”: This phrase assures the customer that you’re on their side and committed to resolving their issue.

3. “I understand how [specific issue] can be frustrating.”: Empathy is key in customer service. Acknowledging the customer’s feelings can go a long way in building rapport.

4. “Is there anything else you’d like to know?”: This opens the door for the customer to ask questions they might have been hesitant to bring up.

5. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”: The positive language shows that you value the customer’s input, even if it’s a complaint.

6. “Here’s what I can do to help you resolve this issue”: You’re demonstrating empathy and guiding the customer on how you plan to resolve their issue. It builds a sense of partnership between you and the customer.

Remember, the goal is to make customers feel heard, valued, and respected. The right customer service phrases can help you do just that.

Customer Service Phrases to Use for Problem Solving

When you’re in the thick of resolving an issue, the right phrases can be your best allies. They can defuse tension, provide clarity, and pave the way for a solution. Here are some common customer service phrases for effective problem-solving:

7. “Let me make sure I understand…”: This phrase shows that you’re actively listening and want to fully understand the customer’s needs before jumping to solutions.

8. “I see where you’re coming from.”: This is another way to show empathy and understanding, which can be calming for a frustrated customer.

9. “Here’s what we can do…”: This phrase transitions the conversation from the problem to the solution, giving the customer a sense of progress.

10. “Would [Solution] work for you?”: Instead of imposing a solution, this phrase gives the customer some control over the outcome.

11. “I’ll keep you updated every step of the way.”: Transparency is key in problem-solving. This phrase assures the customer that they won’t be left in the dark.

12. “Your issue has been resolved. Can we assist you with anything else?”: This phrase confirms resolution and opens the door for further assistance, rounding off the interaction on a positive note.

13. “I appreciate your patience as we work through this.”
: The problem solving process can take some time or a customer may have to wait in line for a bit. Using this phrase shows that you acknowledge and appreciate the patience and understanding shown by the customer.

14. “I will personally ensure that this matter is resolved to your satisfaction.”: Shows that you’ve set yourself accountable to making sure that the customer’s problem is resolved.

15. “I will escalate this to our [appropriate department/person] for immediate attention.”: If you’ve received a query that is not your domain, this phrase reassures the customer that their issue will be prioritized and routed to the appropriate support agent.

16. “I want to make sure I have all the details correct. Could you please walk me through what happened?”: A good way for you to gather detailed information about the problem from the customer to better address it.

17. “I’m happy to look into this further. What is the best way for me to follow up with you?”: You’re conveying a willingness to investigate the problem and allowing the customer to choose their preferred method of communication.

Remember, problem-solving isn’t just about fixing an issue; it’s about how you communicate throughout the process. The right customer service phrases can turn a tricky situation into an opportunity for building customer trust.

Customer Service Phrases to Use for Closing the Interaction

For a support agent, knowing how to end a customer interaction is very important. Here are some phrases that can help you and your team close a conversation in a way that puts a smile on your customers’ face.

18. “Is there anything else I can assist you with today?”: This proactive phrase not only shows that you’re willing to help further but also gives the customer a chance to bring up anything they might have forgotten.

19. “Thank you for reaching out to us.”: A simple thank you can go a long way. It shows appreciation and leaves a positive impression.

20. “We appreciate your business.”: The positive words in this phrase reinforces the value you place on the customer, encouraging future interactions.

21. “Have a great day ahead!”: A warm, friendly sign-off can leave the customer feeling good about the entire experience.

22. “We’re here whenever you need us.”: This phrase assures the customer that support will be available for future interactions, fostering a sense of reliability.

23. “Your feedback is always welcome.”: Inviting feedback shows that you’re open to improvement and value the customer’s opinion.

24. “You can expect an update from us by [date/time].”: Providing clear timelines to customers sets clear expectations. You’re also showing that you are committed to keeping the customer informed.

25. “Happy to help.”: A relatively simple but pleasant way to end a customer conversation.

Remember, the way you close an interaction can be just as important as how you open it. The right customer service phrases can leave a lasting impression that turns a one-time interaction into a long-term relationship.

Customer Service Phrases to You Should Avoid

In customer service, the words you choose can have far-reaching consequences. While we’ve discussed phrases that can enhance customer interactions, it’s equally important to be aware of phrases that can damage them. Using the wrong words can escalate a situation and have a long-term impact on customer loyalty and your brand’s reputation. In this section, we’ll explore phrases that are best avoided to maintain a high standard of customer service.

Customer Service Phrases That Sound Unprofessional

Professionalism is key, when it comes to addressing an angry customer. However, some phrases can instantly make the customer service experience seem less professional and harm your brand’s reputation. Here are some to avoid:

1. “Whatever”: This phrase can make it seem like you don’t care about the customer’s issue, which is the opposite of what good customer service should do.

2. “To be honest with you…”: This phrase can make it seem like you’re only choosing to be honest at this moment, which can raise questions about your overall integrity.

3. “It’s company policy”: While it’s okay to refer to company policy, using it as a conversation stopper can make customers feel like you’re hiding behind rules instead of helping them.

4. “Hold on a sec”: While it might seem casual and conversational, it can come across as dismissive. A better phrase might be, “Could you please hold for a moment while I look into that for you?”

5. “You’re the first one to complain about this”: This phrase can make the customer feel isolated and as if their issue is being trivialized.

6. “As I already told you…”: This can make the customer feel like they’re being scolded for not understanding or paying attention the first time.

Remember, the phrases you use in customer service are a reflection of your brand. Choose words that maintain a high level of professionalism to ensure positive customer interactions.

Customer Service Phrases That Worsen Issues for Angry Customers

In customer service, the goal is often to de-escalate situations and find solutions. However, some phrases can do the exact opposite, making a bad situation even worse. Here are some phrases the customer service team should avoid:

7. “That’s not a big deal.”: Trivializing the customer’s issue can make them feel unheard and even more frustrated.

8. “You’re not understanding me.”: This phrase can make the customer feel blamed for the communication breakdown.

9. “I can’t help you.”: The negative words in this phrase shuts down the conversation and leaves the customer feeling helpless. If you can’t assist, guide them to someone who can.

10. “No” or “I don’t know” without further explanation: A flat denial or lack of knowledge without additional context can leave the customer frustrated, without a path forward.

11. “You’ll have to…”: This phrase can make the customer feel like they’re being given a chore, rather than being assisted.

12. “Why didn’t you…”: This phrase puts the customer on the defensive and can make them feel like they’re being blamed for the issue.

13. “That’s your fault, not ours.”: This phrase shifts blame entirely onto the customer, which is not only rude but also counterproductive in resolving the issue at hand.

Remember, the words you choose in customer service interactions can either defuse a situation or add fuel to the fire. Choose your phrases carefully to maintain a positive and professional atmosphere.

Customer Service Phrases That Sound Rude

In any customer service interaction, maintaining a level of respect is non-negotiable. However, some phrases are outright disrespectful and should never be used in conversations or in your customer emails. Here are some examples:

14. “What do you want?”: This phrase can come off as confrontational and make the customer feel like a burden.

15. “You’re overreacting.”: This dismisses the customer’s feelings and can make them feel belittled.

16. “That’s not my problem.”: This phrase shows a complete lack of empathy and responsibility for the customer’s problem, two key elements of good customer service.

17. “Are you even listening?”: This can make the customer feel accused and defensive, which is not conducive to a productive interaction.

18. “Is there anything else?”: While it may seem like a polite way to conclude an interaction, this phrase can sometimes come off as rushed or impatient, making the customer feel like they’re being hurried along.

19. “I don’t care.”: This is perhaps the most blatantly disrespectful phrase and shows a complete disregard for the customer’s concerns.

Remember, the phrases you use in customer service are a direct reflection of your brand. Using rude or disrespectful phrases can have long-lasting negative effects on customer relationships and your brand’s image.

Take time to understand the psychology of words

In customer service, words can shape experiences and influence outcomes. The phrases we’ve discussed throughout this article can can impact a customer’s relationship with your company. 

Understanding the psychology behind words allows you to choose phrases that not only resolve issues but also build a positive emotional connection. When you use phrases that build rapport and offer solutions, you’re tapping into basic human needs for understanding and problem-solving. However, using phrases that are rude can trigger negative emotional responses like frustration or disappointment. 

So, be cognizant of the words and phrases you use in customer interactions. It goes a long way in building customer trust and loyalty.

Shobhana has been recognized as a 'Top Customer Support Voice' by LinkedIn. Her expertise lies in creating well-researched and actionable content for Customer Experience (CX) professionals. As an active member of popular CX communities such as CX Accelerator and Support Driven, she helps professionals evaluate tools for their support team and keeps a keen eye on emerging industry trends.

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