Customer Experience News & Trends

5 things you should never, ever say to customers

A few words can destroy a customer experience in a millisecond. Anyone who works directly with customers must choose their words carefully — and these are some to avoid.

Even if you don’t mean any harm, these phrases turn customers off for many reasons.


  • “I assume …” Confirm facts, questions and information before jumping to any conclusions with customers. When you say you assume, it sounds like you weren’t listening.
  • “We’re so busy.” Customers usually don’t care about other customers. They’re focused on themselves. Saying you’re busy sounds like an excuse for slow, poor or inattentive service — the kinds of things that will make customers choose to not return for.
  • “I can’t do that.” If you’re first reaction to a question or request is to avoid, ask a few more questions. Saying “I can’t,” “I won’t” or “We don’t” suggests you have quickly dismissed customers’ concerns and ideas — when something might actually work if you can bend a little or try something different after learning more about the situation.
  • Why did you …?” (Also: “Why didn’t you …?”) Asking questions that start like that imply that customers did something wrong. You don’t want to make them feel dumb or the culprit behind a mistake. You want them to feel smart about doing business with you. Ask customers what they were trying to do. And when you want them to do something differently, say, “Next time, you might want to try this …”
  • “She always does that …” (Also: “He never does that …”) This usually comes across as name-calling. To customers, you sound like you’re accusing a colleague of doing something wrong — instead of supporting each other and your company. Avoid finger-pointing and take responsibility for satisfying customers.

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