Customer Experience News & Trends

22 things you should never say to customers

12. I am (or she/he is) such an idiot

Even when you or your colleagues make mistakes, you don’t want to undermine your true abilities or those of a co-worker. One error does not make anyone the village idiot — or stupid or incompetent or silly. It makes someone human, and customers can forgive that. Instead, say, “I (or we) made a mistake, and this is how we’re going to fix it.”

13. It’s not my/our fault


Responsible, successful companies and individual employees dealing with customers never point fingers or look for scapegoats. They own up to their faults and pursue immediate fixes and long-term solutions to retain the respect of their customers. Instead, say, “Let’s see what can be done about this right now.”

14. … or else

This is often preceded by alternatives such as “You must do this …” “You should do that …” It’s essentially a threat. Bullies say these kinds of things, not empathetic customer care professionals. Instead, say, “What you might want to do is …” or “Can you please ….”

15. The policy stinks


Sure, we all have to live by and enforce some policies that we don’t like, don’t understand or think are unfair to customers. But you’re the face of the company, and if you are detached from its practices and beliefs, customers will think there’s something wrong with them. Instead, say, “To ensure the best for our customers, we’ll need to …” or “It’s our common practice to …”

16. No offense, but …

Guess what? If you ever have to start a sentence with this phrase, it’s probably best to stop the sentence right there. Saying “no offense” only prepares the other person to be offended. Be certain, what is said next will offend your customer. Instead, say nothing.

17. I’ll friend you

If you want to connect with customers online, Facebook is not the place to do it. Connect on LinkedIn or industry blogs. Maintain a clear line between your professional and personal life — and know that Facebook is almost always not a bridge between the two. Instead, say, “Will you join my professional network on LinkedIn?”

18. LOL (or OMG)

You’re not a teenage girl giggling about the latest Justin Bieber YouTube video. If you use this kind of texting language with customers, you’ll appear to be unprofessional. Instead, say (or write), “That’s funny” or “Wow, I didn’t expect that.”

19. I just got dumped


Matters of the heart are best discussed with family and friends, not customers or colleagues. If you have an occasional a bad day because of a personal situation, it might be a good idea to request to do behind-the-scenes work.

20. I haven’t had a raise in five years

Being upset and admitting it will hurt your credibility with customers and the boss. Complaining about no low pay is tacky. Instead, say nothing.

21. Oh sh!*

Cursing reflects poorly on an employee’s personality and professionalism. It suggests you need to rely on curse words to get your point across. Not to mention, it can offend customers who don’t ever use that kind of language. Instead, say, “Oh, gosh” “My goodness” or “Ah, shucks.”

22. How many blondes does it take to screw in a light bulb?

Appropriate jokes and humor are OK to use when talking to customers, and in the right context. Any kind of joke or humor that pokes fun at any one group of people will surely be offensive to that group and probably a much larger population. Instead, say, “What did one eye say to other? Don’t look now, but I think something between us smells.” Or you might want to try some other clean humor.

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