3 Words to Avoid for Better Customer Service Communication


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Millions of words are used each day in customer service communication; three little ones have great power to destroy your customer service experience and should be avoided at all cost.

Studies have shown that vocabulary is a good predictor of success. Those who a greater mastery of language and the ability to communicate have greater opportunities to use it for their success.

Yet in our daily customer service communication today, three little words create the trap that can easily destroy the positive customer experience you’re hoping to create.

3 Words you need to stop using in customer service communication

The key to customer service communication and making more effective customer service actions often comes down to how effectively we can communicate with customers. Take great thought before ever using these three words and avoid them at all cost.


When used as “All of our agents are currently busy…” what you’re really saying is: “We’re too busy for you, so wait until we get around to serving you.” Too often we use “busy” to get sympathy from people, but when it comes to customer service communication, “busy” tells your customers that you can’t help them, speak to them, and fix their problem.

The fix? Prioritize better. Be more efficient. Be more effective at finding answers, resolutions, and preemptively solving potential customer issues, yes, before they happen. Anticipate the possible problems and create systems to help customers before they get stuck, become frustrated, and flood your customer service team with help requests.


Anytime you use “but” in any type of customer service communication you completely erase whatever positive may have been previously spoken. “But” means “can’t” or “won’t”. “But” in customer service is telling the customer a big fat “NO”.

Instead? Make absolute statements about what CAN be done. Even when the solution involves something from the customer, state options, not excuses why things can’t be done.


Although budgets are always limited, blame for why things can’t be done is always plentiful. There are always enough excuses for why something can’t be done, why something went wrong, and who is at fault. But placing blame is the last thing that customers really want. Blame prevents you from seeing the real problem and blame isn’t a fix. Blame isn’t an answer. Blame isn’t a solution.

It’s not my fault, but it is my problem.

Effective customer service communication isn’t about focusing identifying problems, it’s about getting to solutions. Your customer generally doesn’t care who caused the problem; customers don’t care that you can confirm that there is an outage or a system issue.

Customers care about what’s being done to resolve it and how quick before they can get back to doing what they need to get done.

Resolve to change the way you communicate

Certainly you can’t completely banish these words from your vocabulary, that’s just silly. When I was younger, I knew a family whose kids weren’t allowed to say the word “trash”, because it was seen as a dirty words, instead they had to call it “rubbish”. Did it change anything? No. All it did was make them the weird people that didn’t use the word “trash”. Some people and organizations today go too far when working with customers and instead of focusing on action, substitute similar words that perpetuate ineffective customer service.

Beware of “busy”, “but”, and “blame” and your customer service communication will develop better, more effective customer relationships.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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