10 Phrases a Call Center Agent Should Never Utter!

Running a call center can be a tricky business. A single mistake from any agent can lead to negative results or angry customers. Even though there are well-documented rules as to how an agent should deal with a client over the phone, it is not possible to cover all the sticky situations an agent may find himself in.

10 Phrases a Call Center Agent Never Utter

Customers calling a business have their own set of unwritten rules they think all companies must follow. Most of these rules have no regards for how the company actually works and involve expectations that an agent should be capable of solving every single of the customer’s problems and that too instantly. While an agent may deny service to such a customer, the way he is doing it is what makes or breaks a deal. An agent should always be polite and sympathetic to the customer to ensure that the service satisfaction provided is the maximum.

Some words instantly displease or anger a customer. Even when unable to perform the needed service a successful agent will never convey that information in a way that it negatively affects the customer. The way how he handles these issues is what determines how good an agent actually is.

Here we discuss some of the phrases an agent should NOT commit ever whilst on a call with a customer:

  1. We don’t deal with that”: Instant deal breaker. Never ever say to a customer that you can’t do something for him directly. Go around the words and choose phrases that convey the same message but aren’t as blunt. A direct dismissal of a customer’s request is bound to get him aggravated.
  2. Calm Down!”: An agent will often find himself on a call where the calling customer is already angry. Telling him to calm down is not going to do anything besides making him angrier. A much better alternative is to keep a calming voice, talking politely and slowly trying to diffuse the customer’s anger.
  3. Would you like to talk to my supervisor?”: No, the customer doesn’t want to talk to your supervisor. In all honesty, he doesn’t even want to talk at all. All he wants is to have his job done. So avoid using this phrase at all cost.
  4. “I don’t know”: It’s your job to know everything. At least that’s how the customer thinks of you. If you don’t have an answer to the customer’s question, find the answer and give it to him. Not knowing is not an option.
  5. “I’ll just put you on hold”: Don’t. There’s nothing that annoys a customer more than being put on hold. Try to get the issue resolved without putting on hold and if putting him on hold can’t be avoided at least ask his permission first, don’t blatantly declare that you will be putting him on hold.
  6. That’s our policy”: The customer doesn’t really care about your company’s policy. All he cares about his own issue. So putting up the policy roadblock will just irk him more. Use different words for your inability to fulfill his request.
  7. “There’s nothing I can do”: The customer will never ever accept that. They believe that as an employee of the company you should have total authority over every aspect of the company. So saying that there’s some issue you have no control over won’t be helpful at all
  8. “That’s not my department”: Maybe it is not but for the customer it is. They fail to see that a company has got separate wings for different issues. Once contact has been made they expect a single agent to be capable of handling all their problems. A much better alternative is switching him to the concerned personnel as per his needs.
  9. “I don’t set the company’s policy”: Obviously you don’t. Sometimes a customer’s harsh words may get on your nerves making you say that you are not personally responsible for the company’s actions or lack thereof. Still, it’s better not to. Try to keep all personal displeasures out when you are dealing with a customer as it reflects poorly on you professional skills.
  10. “Not saying anything”: Nothing is more infuriating than a call center agent who gets so dumbfounded he stops talking. Don’t be that agent. If you don’t know how to respond to a customer’s question, don’t go dumb on him, keep him engaged in conversation while you check out an answer to his question.


It’s very hard to figure what to and what not to say to a customer. However with a little patience and dedication you can easily make successful conversations with all customers even those with a bad temperament. Try to diffuse the situation before it gets out of hand for the best personal as well as professional growth.

4 replies
  1. Allan Collins says:

    Most of these phrases are commonly used by many calling agents. While there has been a switch away from these words into a more polite domain by agents of the newer brands, old companies that know they have an assured set of customers tend to be very rude to their customers. Maybe they can read this article and understand what is wrong with them.

  2. Evan Herman says:

    There have been many times I called the helpline number of a company only to be met with some guy who not only had no clue how my problem was supposed to be resolved but what was frustrating the whole way too. These agents should be given training so that they can understand how proper interactions should be made.

  3. Richard Tape says:

    Good stuff Nishant. Call centers should be more dedicated to ensuring quality control amongst their agents. Nothing breaks a deal faster than an incompetent agent. Even if your organization is providing the best service or product , an incompetent agent can bring down your brand value in the blink of an eye. Training routines should cover all of these phrases and how to avoid saying them when the agent is in a pickle.

  4. Frank Klein says:

    There should be better measures put in place to make sure that agents can connect to their supervisors or support staff while still on call to the client. There are many tools for this that are worth investing in. It helps in bring the brand’s reputation by providing a better customer experience.


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