Paolo Fabrizio
May 8, 2017

4 Sentences That Make Your Customers Mad

4 Sentences that make your customers mad:Happy Your Customers

Sometimes innocent words ignite fires – especially if you work in a customer service environment. I guess you’ve heard of the mantra ‘just follow the rules’, right? So I ask you: what happens when the rules don’t work?

After many years within companies, and now today as a customer service consultant, I can tell you that some words ‘add fuel to the fire’. In this post I’ve selected 4 sentences that make your customers mad. For each of them you’ll find actionable tips and alternative answers to prevent customers RAGE. Are you ready to go?

1. ‘It’s not our fault’

Example: a friend of mine was recently charged by a telephone company. The fact is that he has NEVER been customer of that telco! So he immediately called his bank in order to get that wrong debt canceled. 

Unfortunately the answer of the bank was terrible: ‘We’re sorry for you but it’s not our fault. You have to get in touch with the telco company. It’s for them to deal with!’ 

TIP: even if you are not directly responsible for the inconvenience, DO NOT ever let your customer down. Conversely, take action to fix the problem, then follow up. That’s the best way to show that you really care about him / her. Moreover, that will contribute to consolidating their trust in your brand.

Use this alternative answer 

I’m sorry about that, it must be really frustrating. Even if we did not cause this issue we will contact the other company immediately for you, to fix it. We’ll keep you posted [quoting the day of the follow up].

2. ‘Try to wait a couple of days…’

Example: customer enters a sportswear store looking for a running pair of shoes. Unfortunately his size for that model is not available.

Shop assistant says: ‘unfortunately this size is out of stock and I don’t know when we’ll get a new delivery. Try to come back in a couple of days… ‘

TIP: customers don’t want to waste their time. Rather, they appreciate it if you help them save it!  So do not invite them to spend their time unless you’re sure to get them really satisfied. 

Use this alternative answer ↓ 

Unfortunately at the moment we do not have your size, but I will check with our vendor to see if there are still stocks available. If you leave me a [phone number / email address] I promise to get back to you as soon as I find out if they have more and when they can deliver them.

3. ‘Sorry, that’s our policy’

Here’s another great sentence that will make your customers mad.

Example: a customer wants to change his internet subscription, switching to the new offer he has seen on TV.

Call-centre agent answers: ‘The offer you’re asking for is reserved just for new customers, so you can’t have it. Sorry, that’s our policy.’

TIP: procedures are necessary to guide customer assistants daily activities. Nevertheless these should not be used as shields to say NO without explaining the reason why. Customer assistants should be empowered to go beyond scripts when necessary. 

Use this alternative answer ↓

‘Unfortunately this offer applies only to new customers. However I can check for you now if we can offer you alternative solutions that suit your needs. Is that OK?’

4. ‘Please send us an email’

Example: a customer who usually receives his energy bill via email, suddenly starts receiving them via traditional mail (without having asked for it). He calls the company’s call center to get the problem fixed but..

Call-centre agent answers: ‘I don’t know how it could happen, however to amend your billing you have to send us an email asking us to receive next bills via email.’

TIP: If your customer has already reported an issue, do not ask him / her to repeat the information – making an extra effort. If you want to turn them away (and lose them) that’s the most effective way.

Use this alternative answer ↓  

I’m sorry for the inconvenience. I will immediately restore your billing delivery to email [or report to my supervisor – taking care to provide timely feedback]

Over to you

Even though experts and international surveys state that most of the businesses consider customer experience as a key differentiator, many brands do not pay enough attention to single conversations!

You’ve read the worst phrases to use but now you’ve got also great alternatives to prevent any issue: so don’t make your customers mad.


Featured image:  Copyright: ‘‘ / 123RF Stock Photo

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan