A JT Words
Posted by Michael W Truitt in Customer Service

There are words that are productive – words that care – and words that are simply unproductive and should not be used – words that don’t care.

Unproductive word should be avoided in customer interactions because they tend to produce undesired results, especially in a situation where the customer is already upset.  In fact, by utilizing the wrong words, you may actually be creating a larger customer service problem with your customer. By minimizing these words, however, you vastly encourage more positive interactions.

Among the more negative words that don’t care are “have to” and “can’t.”  These are phrases which reflect controlling behavior and may aggravate people even if they weren’t upset in the first place.

For example, consider how you would feel if you phoned a business and were put on hold for a long time.  Some finally picks up the phone and when you explain yourself, they tell you “You have to call a different number for that service,” or “You can’t do that at this number.”

The words “I’ll try” are also tricky.  Therefore “try” should be avoided in favor of something more promising such as “I’ll do all that I can to resolve that.” I have included links to a couple of website that discuss negative phrases and words, while all of these are important to avoid in your customer service interaction, the one that stands out the most to me is “You’ll have to.”

“You’ll have to” implies that the customer has not other options and that they have nothing else to do with their time. Keep in mind the customer always has a different option, (including buying the product/service from someone/somewhere else).  It is your business, and you need to take care of the problem.

Here are some other negative Words/Phrases 

The right words play a major role in creating exceptional customer service


  1. As a Retail Manager I can not express to my staff enough that it is not what you say but how you say it... thanks for writing this


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