Customer Service Phrases: The Dos and Don’ts

Women speaking at call center

What Skills Should a Call Center Agent Possess?

The best call center agents are excellent communicators who have extensive knowledge of the company’s products and services. They’re detail-oriented and adaptable, so they can handle any type of customer that comes their way. Successful call center agents are patient even with difficult, angry customers, and they find a way to turn any situation into a positive one.

While this may be the fact, this is one of those customer service phrases to avoid, especially when the customer is proactively looking for assistance. Call center representatives should be equipped with enough poise to see problems and questions as opportunities for customer service.

Call center representatives should have resources at their fingertips. With the aid of reference guides, proper training, and correctly implemented leadership role systems, representatives will be able to adequately meet the needs and concerns of callers.

Phrases to use in place of “I don’t know,” could include:

  • “Allow me to check with my supervisor, to accurately handle/answer your concern/question.
  • “Please give me a moment to check my reference tool for an accurate information/price/reference.
  • “Great question, please give me one moment to find you the correct information.”

Customers are not necessarily concerned with representatives that know everything. They are more concerned with representatives that listen to their needs and questions, and then kindly and promptly respond with accurate information.

Common Call Center Phrases to Avoid [+ Solutions]

“No Problem”

Don’t: Was there a problem in the first place? This might seem nitpicky, but using this phrase can negatively affect the mood of the call.

Do: A caller could imply that they had an obscure question or even created a problem for you. “The customer is always right,” is a good ideology to apply in this situation.

Better phrases to use in place of “No problem”:

  • “Thank you for your call or question.
  • “You’re welcome, thank you for your call.”
  • “Of course.” Which implies commitment and certainty.
  • “My pleasure.”

Customers will remember customer service calls. Call centers represent the face and culture of a company. Getting it right the first time is always easier than resolving a negative service experience.

“Um” or “Uh”

Don’t: “Um” or “uh” can come off as unsure and doubtful. Customers are trusting your answers to be reliable and professional. These filler words can make a representative appear unintelligent and can be distracting to the customer.

Do: Pause momentarily. Remember that silence isn’t always bad, especially if you are listening and actively communicating with callers.


Don’t: If a representative uses the word “honestly” to preface a statement or claim, a caller is led to believe they are giving a nonstandard answer, or may even cause them to question if the representative lied at another point in the call.

Do: A center representative’s statements or claims should be able to stand alone as factual and useful.


Don’t: When the word “like” is misused in any type of communication, the speaker can lose credibility. Repetitive “likes” are only good on social media. We have all experienced when a speaker overuses the word “like.” It can be distracting and detracts from the credibility of the speaker.

Do: Replace “like” with these words and phrases:

  • “For example.”
  • “Such as.”

“What Do You Need?”

Don’t: While customer service agents should be concerned with what a caller needs, it really isn’t the customer’s job to figure that out, or even flat out tell you. Service agents should be trained to find out what callers are calling for in an open-ended manner. The best representatives will often offer assistance above and beyond what the caller was even looking for.

Do: Phrases to use instead:

  • “How may I help you today?”
  • “What may I assist you with today?”

Bonus Power Phrase: “I Can Solve That Problem.”

Individuals like and appreciate proactivity. Customers will notice call center representatives that have initiative and are willing to work, solve, and fix. Customer service is based on these attributes. Agents that actively find ways to help are recognized and appreciated.

Other power phrases to use:

  • “I will take responsibility.”
  • “We can fix that for you.”

Communication is king in any customer service interaction. Choose staff that is equipped to speak professionally by avoiding and using these dos and don’ts. At ROI Call Center Solutions, our inbound call services staff are expertly trained to handle any of these situations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How Do You Handle Difficult Customers?

Even the most difficult customers can be cooled down by treating them with respect and a level head. Help them feel understood by clarifying the problem, validating how they feel, and offering a few alternatives. Give them your full attention and listen carefully to understand their problem. Once you’ve done your best to resolve the issue, follow up a few days later to earn their trust and build customer loyalty.

How Do You Say No in a Positive Way?

There are many ways to put a positive spin when you have to say, “no” to a customer. By packing the “no” in a positive message, the answer will not seem as harsh or unfavorable. Here are some examples of how to do it:

  • Lead with the good news. Instead of saying, “Your product isn’t under warranty,” try saying, “We can offer you an extended warranty since your product is past the warranty timeframe.”
  • Skip the word “no.” Sometimes you can deliver the same message without saying the word “no.” For example, you might be tempted to say, “No, we don’t offer shipping.” But instead you could just say, “We don’t offer shipping.”
  • Show empathy. Soften the blow by showing empathy for the customer, using phrases like, “I understand how you feel,” or “I know this can be frustrating.”

What Can You Say Instead of “Unfortunately?”

It’s easy to cut out the word “unfortunately,” without sacrificing the meaning of a sentence. For instance, instead of saying, “Unfortunately, we do not have that product in stock.” You could simply say, “We do not have that product in stock.” Better yet, try putting a positive spin on the phrase by saying something like, “That product will be back in stock soon, but in the meantime, we have some excellent alternative products we can offer you.”

What Do You Say to a Rude Customer?

When faced with a rude customer, it’s important to remain calm and avoid taking it personally. Even experienced customer service agents may get upset in these situations, but they know how to mask their feelings and continue to represent the business in a professional manner. Calm the customer down by validating their feelings with a phrase like, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” or “I can imagine that this has been very inconvenient.” These phrases show empathy, but don’t necessarily accept the blame for the situation.

How Do You Answer a Customer Call?

The beginning of a customer call will set the tone for the entire conversation, so make sure to represent the company in a warm and friendly manner. Treat the customer as if solving their problem or answering their question is the top priority. Answer the phone quickly, and greet them by saying, “Hello”, “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or something similar. Then ask the customer their name and ask how you can help them.

How Do You End a Customer Call?

The end of a customer call is a chance to summarize everything that has been discussed and make sure all of the customer’s questions have been answered. To end the call on a favorable note, quickly recap what has been accomplished on the phone call, then give them an idea of what to expect next. Then ask the customer if there is anything else they need, thank them for calling, and offer well wishes like, “Have a good day,” or “Enjoy your afternoon.”

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