15223879057_b58ed1222b_z (1)Any call center representative knows that spoken communication is their craft. The ability to speak professionally, politely, and with a purposeful message can make or break a call. Phrases we use in everyday conversation are often too casual to use with a customer or client, so it’s imperative to be careful with your words. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts for common customer service phrases.

“I don’t know”

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.

“No problem”

Was there a problem in the first place? This might seem nitpicky, but using this phrase can negatively effect the mood of the call. 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 for your call”
  • “Of course” (Implying 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”

“Um” or “uh” can come off as unsure and doubtful. Customers are trusting your answers to be reliable and professional. These filler word can make a representative appear unintelligent and can be distracting to the customer.

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


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.

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


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.

Replace “like” with these words or phrases:

  • “For example”
  • “Such as”

“What do you need?”

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.

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.