Things You Should Never Say to a Customer Service Representative

Speaking to a customer service agent isn’t always a pleasant experience for all parties involved. More often than not, customers are left frustrated and angry. But you can have a more positive experience by steering clear of the following phrases.


Headset headphones and telephone in call center

That is definitely not appropriate. | BrianAJackson/iStock/Getty Images

Keep your language clean when speaking to a customer service representative, suggests AARP. Swearing will put the person on the defensive, making them less inclined to help you. If you normally swear like a sailor, get all your swearing out of the way before you speak with a customer service rep. Remember to remain calm and choose your words carefully.

‘I’m going to call my lawyer’

phone interview

They’re not the ones who will be affected by that. | Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP/Getty Images

Customer service representatives have nothing to fear when customers threaten legal action. The chance of a representative losing their job is slim if a lawsuit ensues. Plus, the line’s often an empty threat unhappy customers use to get what they want. Get better results by being polite and patient.

‘May I speak to your manager?’

Female customer support operator

Regardless of whether what you have to say is good or bad, it’ll make everyone nervous. | opolja/iStock/Getty Images

This classic line won’t help when speaking to a customer service representative. Uttering these words will immediately make the employee you’re speaking with uneasy. Managers will brace themselves for what’s to come when they speak with you, not knowing whether you’re going to offer praise or complain. Ask any manager, and they’ll say they deal with angry people on a daily basis.

‘I’m going to post about this on social media’

Angry woman calling custom service

You can write the review, but that specific rep doesn’t care. | AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images

This line does nothing to strike fear in the hearts of customer service representatives. Saying you’ll write a negative negative review or share a horror story on social media doesn’t faze them. They deal with angry customers all day. If you feel strongly enough about your experience, write a review, but don’t broadcast this information to customer service.

‘I’m never shopping here again’

Female Customer service executive working

It’s probably an empty threat. | Wavebreakmedia/iStock/Getty Images

“I’m never shopping here again” is likely another empty threat. Whether or not you mean what you say, this won’t help in solving your problem. The customer service representative will roll their eyes and move on with their day. So keep the negative language to a minimum.

‘I’m going to make your company bankrupt’

Man working in call center or customer service

Unless you’re actually a billionaire, you probably can’t. | Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images

Here’s another empty threat. A single person can’t bankrupt a company, unless it’s someone hugely powerful. If you’re that powerful, we suspect you wouldn’t be making phone calls to customer service. The bottom line is don’t threaten a customer service representative.

How to have a positive experience

Attractive call center or customer service operator

Just try to be polite. It will probably get you further. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

Use phrases, such as “You’re very good at what you do” or “I really appreciate the extra effort,” Barry Maher, author of Filling the Glass, told MarketWatch. “People will almost always bend over backwards to maintain that good opinion and to show you just how good they really are,” Maher added. Remember the following: Treat customer service representatives like people, explain your problem calmly in a polite way, and throw in extra praise.

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