8 Phrases You Should Never Say To A Customer

By Bon Miller

Great customer service entails superior communication skills and a lot of empathy. Most of the time whenever customers complain, they just want to be heard or just expect some help. Customers ultimately want the person at the end of the line to listen and provide a solution. Each customer and each situation would require a unique response, and it is important to gauge every situation to look at possible solutions. 

But there are a few things that can cause the conversation to take a wrong turn. Some things are better left unsaid and this is especially true when communicating with customers. Whatever customer representatives say carry a lot of weight and most of the time are perceived as set in stone by customers. If you don’t want your customers walking away from your company in anger, here’s a list of 8 phrases you should never say to a customer.

“This isn’t my department, let me forward you to…”

There’s nothing worse than being transferred from one person to another by a company that’s trying to resolve a customer issue. It’s frustrating, time consuming and gives an impression that your company is disorganised. Customers expect the first person they interact with to be able to resolve the issues for them. The best way to provide frictionless customer service is to train and empower your community managers with FAQs, policies, and processes so they could handle and resolve customer issues right away. If needed, they can contact their team behind the scenes without having to transfer the call to a different department. That way, the customer only has to speak with one person. 

I’m not sure about this, but I think…

It’s normal to not be able to provide the answer to inquiries right away, but it’s never okay to provide the customer with an answer you’re not sure about. Sometimes, customer representatives give answers based on their common sense or past experience without checking facts or updated information. This will not only frustrate the customer more but it may also lead to more problems if incorrect information is provided. 

If you are unable to provide information at the moment, you can address the customer by telling them that you’ll take the necessary steps to get the right information for them, or that you will consult someone who can provide better support. It would also help if you offer to reach out to them as soon as you are able to find the correct solution to their problems or inquiry. 

“That’s not so bad”

Never downplay a customer’s feedback. If they took the time to send a message, it means the customer is affected enough to make the effort to contact you. Phrases like “that’s not so bad’ or ‘that’s not a problem’ downplay the customer’s concerns, and may leave them feeling embarrassed and unimportant. If there’s an easy fix, you can positively communicate with them by saying “ I understand your concern and thank you for reaching out to us for help. We have this solution for you.” This way, customers feel valued and will appreciate you for showing them the way. 


“I will tell them”

Referring to your company this way will show customers that you don’t see yourself as part of the company. All the customer cares about is that you represent the company and if you try to exclude yourself, it will reflect a lack of credibility and accountability. 

Always mention your company as “we” to show that you are a part of a team that cares about what they are going through. For example: “We will make sure to find a solution for you.”

“You should try (competitor’s name) instead”

Sometimes, irate customers can’t help but compare your company’s shortcomings to a competitor, and stress how they seem to be doing so much better. As humans, some may default to sarcasm and tell them to transfer to another company instead. This is never a solution. Instead, try to empathise with them and help understand where their frustration is coming from. Sometimes, they just need someone to hear them out. 

“Calm Down…”

Telling someone to calm down is adding fuel to the fire. In these kinds of situations, the best thing to do is let the customer speak. Let them share all their frustrations and problems. You can say phrases like “I understand.. Or “ I can see how this can frustrate you..”

Your ability to listen will show the customer that you care about what they’re saying and they will eventually settle down enough to hear what you have to say. 

”You’re wrong”

Never tell a customer they are wrong. In line with number 5, customers should be treated with utmost respect. A golden rule states that service representatives should never question the customer’s point of view. If the customer is wrong about something, first try to explain yourself using facts or other sources.


Leading with a negative remark on the offset sets a bad precedent for the whole conversation. There are other ways to provide a better experience with the customer even if you can’t immediately accommodate their request. When there are situations where their requests aren’t possible, explain the reason behind the decision and provide alternative solutions. When people understand why and know that they have options, they tend to be more forgiving. For example: “Hi John! While we’re unable to schedule you for today’s appointment as we are currently at full capacity, we can definitely schedule you first thing in the morning, if that’s convenient for you. You can also send us your other preferred dates and we can book them in for you.”

Not only is exceptional service expected from every company, but customers nowadays have high expectations and a low threshold for patience if their issue is not dealt with timely and efficiently. Whatever you say during your next customer interaction, make sure you avoid using any of these phrases! If you need help with crafting the perfect responses, contact us for next level community management that will only engage and delight your customers.