Avoid this!

Six poor phrases in customer support - and how to do it better

Criticism, rejection, anger: customer support employees have to endure negative feedback every day. It is not always easy to find the right and empathetic words. However, professionals should avoid unnecessary phrases and empty words. We show you how to keep customers calm on the phone or in a chat, and how to listen actively and respond emphatically.

What this post is about

  • Sharpen focus for the problem
  • Acting in a solution-oriented manner
  • Taking customer concerns seriously
  • Meet liabilities
  • Keeping track of possible solutions

Hand on heart: Although every company strives for perfect customer support, complaints and problem cases are part of the everyday life of every service channel. Here, resilience is required because despite all the efforts of the employees, customer concerns and issues continue to arise.

When customers seek assistance, they want to reach their goal, solve a problem, or receive clear facts. However, unnecessary talk and overused clichés significantly increase frustration potential on the other end of the line. Therefore, it is important to avoid certain clichés and instead make statements that convey a good feeling and practical solutions.

"Thank you for getting in touch and taking the time".

Only a few customers voluntarily and with plenty of time on their hands reach out. This phrase is a poor start because ideally, the customer wouldn't have initiated contact in the first place. Starting with this greeting demonstrates from the very beginning that there is no focus on the actual problem.

Better this way:
After a friendly greeting, launch directly into problem clarification and ask follow-up questions. The moment you actively address the customer's concern, you take the lead in the customer conversation.

"I am very sorry that you've had a negative experience with us".

It is fine to express your understanding of the problem or technical emergency. However, this wording does not help anyone and does not offer a concrete solution. Since the customer is contacting customer support, it has now happened and assistance needs to be provided.

Better this way:
It is advisable to rely on a variation and put your willingness to act first. Say, "I'm sorry about that, I'll help you solve the problem." This way, you make the customer feel like they are in the right place for help after the negative experience.

"Please give me all the details about your issue".

People with new concerns contact customer support, as well as users whose problem is already stored in the system. Therefore, the use of the phrase should always be evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should occur no more than once. If you have a caller on the line who has already explained his concern several times before, the frustration threshold is quickly exceeded.

Better this way:
Start a conversation by asking carefully and checking in parallel whether the problem is already documented in the system. This will save you time and spare the customer's nerves. In addition, the user will appreciate the fact that his concern is already known (because unfortunately, that's far from being a given).

Within your smart helpdesk Zammad, for example, you can use the notes function within conversations to immediately provide context to colleagues and other agents.

"I'll get back to you as soon as I can provide you with more information on this."

Vagueness doesn't help! Customers want clear statements and precise information when it comes to solutions. We all share this need: if you are in a predicament yourself, you want to get the problem out of the way as quickly as possible. No one wants to drag negative conditions around with them for an unknown period of time. Therefore, you'd better dispense with this phrase.

Better this way:
Providing a clear deadline or timeframe creates structure. Naming a deadline not only gives relief to the customer but also prioritizes the problem internally. Employees should strive to communicate realistic timeframes and set up appropriate reminders.

"I can't give you any information on that".

Not all problems can be solved by a single employee. The expertise in the team is distributed and makes for successful collaboration between colleagues. Knowing where to go for the information you need helps with goal-oriented problem solving and saves valuable time.

Better this way:
Direct customers to the right point of contact or specify who they should inquire with. In the best-case scenario, you already know who is responsible and thus avoid the waiting loop. In this way, the empty phrase is accompanied by the appropriate solution suggestion: "I can't give you any information on this, but our experts in the responsible team will be happy to take care of it right away."

"Nothing like this has ever happened before" (alternatively: "I've never heard of that").

There is always a first time! It often happens that problems of an unknown nature arise, but they do happen. As a customer support representative, you are subliminally suggesting doubt to the user and pushing the conversation in an uncomfortable direction of assigning blame. Quickly, this phrase can create a negative conversational base in which frustration ripens.

Better this way:
Mentioning that an incident seems unusual is understandable. However, supplement the phrase by adding that a solution can be found to any problem. As curious as problems and concerns may seem at first, employees should take every request seriously.


Save time by responding proactively! It's human nature for phrases and clichés to creep into customer conversations. Be it to gain time or to categorize concerns. However, no customer support employee should leave it at that, but rather build a springboard to helpful solution approaches from it.

  1. "Thank you for getting in touch and taking the time".
  2. "I am very sorry that you've had a negative experience with us".
  3. "Please give me all the details about your issue".
  4. "I'll get back to you as soon as I can provide you with more information on this."
  5. "I can't give you any information on that".
  6. "Nothing like this has ever happened before" (alternatively: "I've never heard of that").
  7. Summary
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