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Three Common Phrases Your CSRs Should Avoid

Originally published: 09.01.20 by Tracy Robinson

If you listen in carefully during a call with one of your customer service representatives (CSRs), you may be surprised by what you hear. You might pick up on a few ingrained bad phone habits. Here are three phrases you should have your CSRs avoid so they can provide your customers with the best experience possible.

“I can’t …”

It’s never a good idea to tell a customer what your company can’t do for them. Focus on what you can do to help the situation. Offer options to your customers. Be the solution to their problem, not anoter roadblock or hurdle.

Avoid: “Mrs. Customer, I can’t tell you what time our technician will be at your home.”

Use: “Mrs. Customer, our technicians are extremely thorough and pride themselves on taking excellent care of our customers; sometimes this may take a bit longer than initially expected. I can keep you updated on our technician’s progress until he is available to come to your home and address your concerns. Is 555-1234 the best number for us to reach you on? Great! I can definitely keep you informed as to the progress being made, and his expected arrival.”

“This is how we do it.”

Please don’t have your CSRs tell customers how “we” do things or what “we” do during a process. Who is “we” to the customer? Why should they care what your processes are?

Customers don’t want to hear that they’re just another number; they want to feel special. They want to be included in the process.

The phrase, “This is how we do it,” excludes the customer from the decision-making process and puts them on the defense. They want to know that you are concerned about them and about their personal situation.

Invite the customer into your world, create an experience, and let them be a part of it.

Avoid: “Mr. Customer, what we do is we send out a technician and we come directly to your door, and then we do this, and then we do that.”

Use: “Mr. Customer, might I share with you what you can expect when a technician arrives at your home today to service your furnace? He’ll do a thorough evaluation of your furnace and heating system, Mr. Customer, and then he’ll discuss all your options. He’ll provide you with upfront pricing, in writing, so that you can make the best decision for you and your family.”

“You need to …”

Customers don’t want to be told what to do. Frankly, not many people like to be ordered around or have someone demand anything from them. They would prefer to be informed or have us inquire about their preferences.

Customers expect us to ask about their needs and wants, instead of telling them what they need.

Avoid: “You need to speak with someone in billing or our sales department.”

Use: “Ms. Customer, I want to help you get this resolved. Let’s speak with our billing department, as I believe that they’ll be able to help us with your account. Let me get Carla on the phone so that we can resolve this.”

Once you listen for these three little phrases, you’ll likely find them everywhere. Wipe these phrases from your CSRs’ conversations; you’ll see an uptick in customer satisfaction.


About Tracy Robinson

Tracy Robinson is a Customer Experience Coach at Nexstar Network. She brings direct experience from several PHCE-industry roles, including call center representative, dispatcher, call center manager, corporate trainer and employee development manager. To learn more, visit or call 888-240-7827.

Articles by Tracy Robinson

Three Common Phrases Your CSRs Should Avoid

It’s never a good idea to tell a customer what your company can’t do for them. Focus on what you can do to help the situation.
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