Four Important Words for Your Customer Service Arsenal

John Scott
Posted by

Language plays a powerful role in customer service. The wrong words can sour the mood and turn a customer off; the right words can make customers happy and create brand loyalty. By integrating strong, positive language into your service calls, you can transform the customer experience. In many cases, this small change can turn a potentially negative interaction into a rational conversation that leads to repeat business.


When calling or visiting a customer service representative, customers may fear that they will be turned away or told that they are wrong. By offering a direct apology, you accept responsibility and acknowledge that your company is at fault; in doing so, you'll take the burden away from the client. In many cases, this simple word can take the anger and defensiveness out of the situation, making it easier to find a satisfactory solution.


Customers rarely call customer service when they are happy. They call when they are angry, frustrated and upset. When emotions are running high, many people want to be reassured that someone else recognizes what they are going through and has genuine empathy. In a tough call, saying "I understand" can de-escalate the situation and bring the customer to a more reasonable frame of mind. Tread carefully; when used without genuine emotion, "I understand" can sound patronizing. If you do not understand where the customer is coming from, ask targeted questions until you do.


Customers often go into a service call with low expectations or negative thoughts. If you want to provide a welcome surprise, the word "yes" is a powerful choice. Positive language sets the tone of the conversation and lets the customer know that you are out to please. By saying yes to as many of the customer's requests as possible, you can transform a potentially uncomfortable situation into a memorable experience. When the customer service call is over, the customer is happy, satisfied and confident that your company values his business.


When a customer service agent responds to a request with passive language such as "I can," it does not inspire confidence. The solution remains a nebulous, vague concept that may or may not happen at an ambiguous point in the future. Instead, CBS Money Watch recommends that you use active words such as "I will." In doing so, you let the customer know exactly what you will do and make a promise that it will happen.

Positive, active language can go a long way toward improving the tone and success of service calls. By incorporating these words into your customer service arsenal, you can develop a better rapport with customers right off of the bat and ensure that they come back again and again.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at


Become a member to take advantage of more features, like commenting and voting.

Jobs to Watch