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Top 8 Phrases for Agents to Avoid When on the Phone


In most cases, call center agents are well trained professionals that can handle any task at hand. Unfortunately, some are not trained on how to correctly speak with a customer when resolving an issue.


Certain words and phrases may automatically upset customers, holding them back from calling your contact center again.


Have you heard your agents say any of these phrases?


It’s time for customers to stop hearing these phrases for a better customer experience.


  1. “I don’t know”- By far, one of the worst phrases a customer could hear when calling your call center to resolve an issue or concern. The customer is calling because he expects your employees will provide him with a solution to his problem. This phrase immediately makes a customer lose confidence in your services.

  2. “Would you like to speak to a supervisor?”- It can be tempting to want to switch a customer over to a manager or supervisor who may know how to handle an issue or an angry customer better. This may also reduce confidence in your call center. If done too many times, customers may begin to automatically ask for a supervisor to avoid speaking with an inexperienced agent.

  3. “This is not the correct department to handle your issue”- A customer does not care about whether he is speaking to the correct department or not. The point of a customer calling is to resolve an issue. In this case, agents should politely let the customer know that they will be transferring the customer to a different department instead of vocalizing that they can’t help.

  4. “Calm down”- When a customer is yelling, the best thing to do is not say this. Telling a customer to calm down will lead to annoyance and more anger. Instead, have agents speak in a calm tone, letting the customer know that the issue can be resolved.

  5. “I’m going to put you on hold”- Customers hate being put on hold because they want their issues resolved as fast as possible. If putting a customer on hold has to be done, agents should ask permission from the customer first.

  6. “There is nothing I can do”- This is simply not true in most cases. Customers will not believe this response and it might also anger them. If agents are unable to provide a proper solution, they should ask for a supervisor’s help.

  7. “I don’t set the company’s policy”- Agents may express their frustration with a customer that is yelling at them by utilizing this phrase, however, this does not improve your organization’s customer service. In this case, agents should stay polite and apologize for the inconvenience.

  8. “We do not deal with that here”- Even if a customer called the wrong department or phone number, agents should politely give advice as to how a customer can resolve his issue. This phrase dismisses the customer’s concern and causes more frustration on his end. If possible, provide an alternative phone number that a customer can call or explain who to reach.


Regardless of how well trained your employees might be, these phrases might occasionally slip out. Be aware of how often these phrases are used by monitoring your call center in real time. During training, be sure to incorporate why these phrases can lead to a worse customer experience and be open about your expectations from your agents.

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