Poor customer service can take an already tense situation from zero to sixty in a second. When customers are angry, they require extra care. In order to not make situations go from bad to worse, refrain from using these phrases:

“You’re Wrong”

The golden rule of customer service is the customer is always right. The silver rule is that if the customer is ever wrong, re-read the golden rule. It honestly doesn’t matter if the customer thought their appointment was at 11:00 AM when it’s really at 3:00 PM or that their product broke after one day. No matter the situation, you’re more likely to win their loyalty by being accommodating than being defiant. 

“Calm Down”

A friend can tell a friend to calm down. Unfortunately, you are not the customer’s friend. You are the one standing in the way of their problem being solved. In their mind, they have every reason to be upset and you telling them to calm down is just another frustration point and makes you sound bossy. Instead of escalating the situation further, you have to stay cool, calm and collected enough for the both of you. 

“You shouldn’t have done that”

What’s done is done. Telling a customer what they shouldn’t have done what they did won’t change the situation. However, it will cause them to feel embarrassed, or even more upset. Rather than calling them out for their mistake, simply highlight the cause of the problem and immediately offer a solution. “The problem was caused by…” will always be received better than “You shouldn’t have tried to….”. 

“I don’t know”

While being honest with customers is the best way to build trust, it’s not always the best phrase to respond to their question. For better call experiences, throw the phrase “I don’t know” out the door! Begin using phrases such as “I’ll be happy to find out for you,” “That is a good question, let me check with my team” or “I will find the answer to that and get back to you shortly.” This will reassure your customer that you are taking their question seriously and giving an action plan for responding back. 

“That’s Against Our Policy”

Policies keep companies running smoothly. But when customers complain, the last thing they want to hear are your standard policies. They probably have very little interest in your policies, they are only interested in how their issue can be solved quickly. Giving the caller a logical explanation in straightforward terms will help everyone to stay calm without hiding behind legalities. 

“It’s Not a Big Deal”

What may seem like a small problem to you, may seem like a crisis to your customer. The customer took the issue seriously enough to call into your company, and in return, you need to take it as equally serious to help them arrive at a solution. Saying something like “It’s not so bad” or “It could be worse” only downplays the callers problem and make them feel like you don’t take their situation seriously. 

While you can’t control problems that caused them to call in, you can control how you respond to these upset customers. Take these phrases out of your wheelhouse and you’ll find yourself having more pleasant customer interactions.