Words Matter – Top 5 Customer Experience Killing Phrases

There are dozens of things you can say to customers that come across as condescending, flippant or tacky – things that will destroy the customer experience instantly. No matter how you communicate with customers, you want to avoid these words.

Nearly 70% of customers quit doing business with an organization because they felt they were treated rudely or with indifference, according to one study. Most of the employees who treated customers that way probably never even realized it.

Right or wrong, many customer-facing employees don’t even know when they say a word or use a tone that offends customers. Even professionals who pour over the copy they present to customers overlook phrases that can potentially turn off customers.


The worst part: Most customers aren’t going to tell you that they were offended or bothered by what was said. They’ll just resent the experience and not come back.

Grant Cardone discusses the top 5 phrases customers hate and how to improve customer service. Don’t allow your customer service to fall into the pits of negativity otherwise you’re losing time, money, and more customers.

These are the top 5 customer experience killing phrases:

  1. I Don’t Know.
  2. I Can’t Do That.
  3. It’s Company Policy.
  4. Mind Holding?
  5. That’s Impossible.

Choose your words carefully

That’s why it’s important to choose words carefully when dealing with customers.

Keep on peppering conversations, email exchanges, text messages and promotional copy with the words they love to hear — their names, “thank you,” “please,” “our pleasure” and “problem solved.” Front-line employees want to share a smile, laugh or even a story.

If you’re interested to know some of the ‘runner up’ phrases that can sour your customer’s experience, here are a few to reconsider:

  • “It’s no big deal.” Maybe not to you, but it may be to them. Instead, say “Tell me more.”
  • “Don’t worry about it.” The key is to never tell customers how to feel. Instead, say, “I will take care of it.”
  • “You’re the first one to complain about this.” Most customers walk away without ever saying a word. A customer who gives a unique complaint is doing you a favor by pointing to a potential bigger problem. Instead, ask, “That’s interesting. What more can you tell me?”
  • “You don’t understand.” The problem could be that you aren’t being clear. Instead, ask, “What can I clarify?”
  • “I don’t think you’re hearing to me.” Instead, say, “Please tell me what’s not clear.”
  • “That sounds good in theory, but …” This suggests yours is a real-world perspective and the customer’s view is totally off base. Say, “I see your point, and please bear with me while I share mine.”
  • “I know how you feel right now, but you really shouldn’t because …” Instead, say, “I can understand why you’d feel that way. Let’s see what we can do now.”
  • “I’m not the best person to deal with this, so I’ll send you to …” When there is someone more qualified to help, let customers know you want the best for them and aren’t just casting them off to someone else. Say, “I can help, but ______ is the best in that area. I’d like to bring them in on this. Is that OK with you?”
  • “I am (or she/he is) such an idiot.” Never undermine your abilities or those of a co-worker. We’re all human, and customers can forgive that. Instead, say, “I (or we) made a mistake, and this is how we’re going to fix it.”
  • “It’s not my/our fault.” Responsible, successful companies and individuals never point fingers or shift blame. Rather, say, “Let’s see what can be done about this right now.”
  • “The policy sucks.” Be professional and say either, “To ensure the best for our customers, we’ll need to …” or “It’s our common practice to …”
  • “LOL (or OMG).” Text speak is plain unprofessional, even if you’re a teenage girl. Instead, say (or write), “That’s funny” or “Wow, I didn’t expect that!”
  • “I haven’t had a raise in five years.” Complaining hurts your credibility with customers and the boss. Instead, say nothing.
  • “No offense, but …” Be certain, what is said next will offend your customer. Instead, say nothing.
  • “Don’t tell anyone I said this …” If you don’t think what you want to say should be heard by others, keep your mouth shut. Secrets never stay quiet. Instead, say nothing.
  • “Oh sh*!” Yeah, just don’t. Be more creative and less gutter and commonplace.