Did you know that there are “trigger” words and phrases that can cause you to lose your customers for good—just within the first 5 seconds of conversation? As you know, the wrong tone of voice and negative body language can ruffle your customers’ feathers. So why would certain words and phrases be more likely to repel them permanently?

Well, trigger phrases and words can be particularly harmful to your business because they convey offensive messages to the customer. Not just obvious trigger words like “stupid” or phrases like “you’re doing it wrong”, but rather everyday words and phrases that you could be using in everyday interaction!

Phrases and Words to Avoid…and Their Positive Alternatives

“No” and “Can’t”: When you say the word “no” to a customer, it’s like you’re sending them somewhere else. And if “no” is bad, “can’t” is worse– it implies that you could do something, but you won’t. Instead, use the word “unable”.

Bad sentence: “No, I’m sorry. We can’t do that.”
Better sentence: “I apologize, I am unable to do this for you. What I can do is…”

“Why?” and “What?”: The word “why”, when used in a question, may insult the customer by insisting that their reason behind an action is invalid. The same rule applies to the word “what”, even if you just didn’t hear them correctly.

Replace these words with phrases like “I apologize, I don’t quite understand what you mean. Could you be more specific?”, or “I’m sorry, I’m not sure I heard you correctly. Can you please repeat that?”.

“You’ll have to…” or “You should have…”: Whoa! These phrases are over the line, and should never be so much as uttered in a customer’s general direction! These phrases imply that your customer is supposed to take orders from you, or that they’re incompetent.

When you feel the need to use these phrases, why not try these instead: “You’ll need to…” or “I can help you to…”.

“I don’t know.” or “We can’t do that.”: Yes, there will be times when you truly do not know something, however you should then transfer them to someone who is most able to assist the customer in this situation. Or simply this: If you don’t know, find out.

Tell the customer: “That’s a good question. Let me check and find out.” Then either transfer them to someone, or find the answer for them!

If you absolutely cannot do something, never tell the customer that. Instead say: “Let me check to see what we can do about that.” Proceed to find another solution, or refer them to a company who can do what you cannot.

Get Rid of Trigger Words and Increase Your Customer Retention!

By using the suggested phrases above, you can keep your customers from getting annoyed, and ensure that they will continue to do business with you. Think about it, would you rather do business with a company who constantly told you “no”, or one who can provide you with alternatives that are just as effective?

Category: Marketing


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