10 Popular Customer Service Phrases and How to Use Them

Updated: Jun 2

Popular customer service phrases article

Words matter. They can influence how people think and feel. A “pre-loved” car may sound more attractive to a prospective buyer than a “used” one. “Escargot” in the menu would seem more palatable than “snails.” A “frappuccino” sounds catchier than “coffee milkshake.” You get the idea.

In any customer service strategy, language and word choice are especially important. The words we use when communicating with clients can shape their opinion about the company as a whole. Our language also has an impact on customers' decisions. Sometimes, a few sentences - such as “calm down” or “it’s against company policy” - can spell the difference between keeping and losing a customer.

So choose your words wisely and favor those that fit into your strategy. Here are some of the most useful phrases you can use, along with a short explanation of what they mean for your clients. We’ve also included some variations, so you never run dry of inspiration:

Expressing appreciation

Customer support phrase: Thank you

There’s a reason “thank you” is one of the magic phrases we all learn in kindergarten. Showing appreciation isn’t merely a matter of good manners. It acknowledges kindness and helps strengthen bonds between people. In a customer support situation, it’s a simple and effective way of saying to your clients that you’re grateful that they use your products or services, and that they took the time to reach out to you when they encountered a problem, instead of simply going to a competitor. Agents can deliver a proper “thank you” in many stages of the conversation. Thank them for getting in touch with you. Thank them for their valuable feedback (whether positive or negative). Thank them for their patience, or their honesty. You can always learn from your interactions with your customers, and that’s a reason to be thankful.

Other ways you can say thank you are:

  • “I appreciate your ...”

  • “I’m sincerely grateful for ...”

  • “Your feedback is valuable to us. Thank you for these recommendations.”

Apologizing to the customer

Popular customer service phrase: I'm sorry

There is nothing as powerful or straightforward as 'I'm sorry' when expressing regret. You can expound by saying what you’re apologizing for, such as “I’m sorry about the delay in the delivery of your package,” or “I’m sorry for mixing up your order.” Acknowledge the shortcoming on your part and follow this up with a solution, for instance: “Let me send you a replacement.”

A word of caution, though: Be judicious and try to use these words in a balanced manner. On one hand, some companies avoid apologizing altogether because it seems weak or sounds like an admission of guilt. On the contrary, research from the University of Nottingham shows that customers appreciate an apology more than financial compensation. On the other hand, saying “I’m sorry” too often or saying it for frivolous matters makes the sentiment feel cheap and insincere. Don’t overdo it. It can also sound patronizing to apologize for instances the customer made a mistake: “I’m sorry you didn’t understand the instructions.” Say these words when they are appropriate and mean them.

These phrases are also useful when expressing regret:

  • “I sincerely apologize for…”

  • “Please let us make things right by…”

Offering assistance