The 5 Phrases Customers Hate and Love to Hear

It has happened to us all… You bought that product or service that you wanted so much, but you get a terrible disappointment because it was not what you expected or did not work correctly. You have decided to call customer service or return to the store where you made the purchase to request a replacement or a refund of your money, and after having been on hold for an eternity the customer service agent very kindly replies: ” We are very sorry, but we cannot return your money. It’s our policy… ”

These days, the modern customer expects help on their terms, and they expect that help to be just that … helpful. They want the person on the other end of the line (or screen, or app) to get to the root of the problem fast and provide a solution even faster. Since customer service has become a center of attention for most companies (even though some still don’t get it right), “It’s our policy” is being heard less and less. That said, there are still plenty of other phrases and words we, as customers, hate to hear.

There are many phrases that can ruin the customer experience. Clients hate to hear phrases that give them the impression that you do not really care, that you are not willing to help them and that you are not able to help them. Sometimes the situation may be the same, but if we make the mistake of choosing the wrong words to answer a question, clients may feel upset and frustrated.

That said, there are still plenty of phrases and words that customers HATE to hear and others that they LOVE to hear. Continue reading and find out what they are.


5 Phrases customers hate to hear and what to say instead:


  1. “Sorry, But It’s Policy…”

When using this phrase in any interaction with customers, you will be showing that you’re unwilling to bend the rules to please them or address their needs accordingly.

Instead, ask the client how you can help them or say something along the lines: “Let’s see what I can do about it…” This phrase instantly calms an angry customer.

If you show that you are interested in solving their problem rather than instructing them away with a simple excuse, they will be much more understanding – even if you fail to solve their problem as they wished at first.


  1. ‘’There’s nothing I can do…’’

Oh no, you didn’t! There’s nothing worse to a customer’s ears than “there’s nothing I can do.” If you said this, you just lost a client because that client will surely go to the competition instead of going back to you.

If you say this, you are only showing the client that their problem is not important to you. Instead of saying that, it’s better to adopt a proactive approach and let them know that you will try to find the answer.

Be honest and show your clients that they are important to you. We assure you that your reputation will improve even if the customer had a bad experience with your product or service. If you assume the responsibility of the client’s problem, they will appreciate it.

Do not give up, leave the situation or pass the problem to another person. Customers who are dragged from one customer service agent to another tend to become angrier with each minute. You can tell your clients something like: ”I will find out… ” Accepting responsibility instead of surrender will be greatly appreciated by your clients.


  1. ‘’That’s the manufacturer’s responsibility…’’

This phrase says that you do not have the power to help the client after taking their money and that is not an excuse. As a customer service provider, it is your duty to show that you care for them even after you have made the sale.

Showing that you care, even after you make the sale is significant here. Instead of saying that it’s the manufacturer’s responsibility, you can say something like: “We can help you with that problem by contacting the manufacturer…”

This phrase suggests that you are willing to help and that there are other possible solutions to the client’s problem. The client will quickly go from being completely angry, to regain calm.


  1. ‘’You’ll have to…’’

Anything that suggests the customer will have to go somewhere else or do something else to obtain service is a big NO.

Customers don’t like to be told what to do. By saying that they have to or need to do something, you will only sound condescending and make them feel like they are responsible for solving their own problem.

Instead, try to phrase it differently and take on full responsibility for getting as much done in their favor as possible. A simple ‘’Let me guide you or help you through…’’ will make the client feel that you are helping them sincerely and that it is not a burden, but a delight for you to help them solve their problem.


  1. ”I’m going to put you on hold for a moment…’’

No customer wants to be put on hold — especially when you’re putting them on hold to address someone else’s problem. Unfortunately, there are circumstances when this is unavoidable.

If you must ask a customer to hold, ask them first. In some circumstances, they might not have the time to wait and would prefer to call back later.

Better to be direct and honest. “I’m going to put you on hold while speak with my supervisor, and I’ll check back with you in a minute or so if I haven’t an answer by then…” It’s long-winded, but considerably more satisfying for your already frustrated customer.





This list is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many other phrases that your customers hate and love to hear. You just must be aware of what they are and how to use them in your company’s favor.

Put yourself in your client’s shoes to determine the best way to treat them and make them feel happy.

A customer-friendly response will comply with a modified golden rule: Help your clients how you would like a customer service agent helps you. Customers appreciate the fact that you’re human if you treat them with empathy and kindness.

Now that you know the phrases you and your agents must avoid, it’s time to act! What other phrases can you think of?


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