5 Customer Service Language Hacks

October 9, 2014

Language is important not just to how we communicate with our customers but to how we communicate with ourselves. The right words can put an irritated customer at ease and help you approach difficult situations with greater ease.

Effective customer service language can take a long time to master, so I thought I would share a few quick language tips you can incorporate into your service communication immediately. Give your communication repertoire a shot in the arm with these five quick customer service language hacks.

Use “We” sometimes and “I” sometimes

Use the word “we” to let the customer know you are on the same team and working towards the same goal; use the word “I” when you need to take accountability for the situation or your company. We and I send different signals to the listener, and which signal you want to deliver depends heavily on the message you want them to receive.

Use “I Apologize” Instead Of “I’m Sorry”

There’s nothing wrong with “I’m sorry,” but “I apologize” is softer. “I apologize” sends a better message to your own head as well.

Small business owner and Social Media Manager at CTS, Tricia Keels began using “I apologize” in her customer interactions, and it made a large impact. “It completely empowers me and takes away this ‘I suck’ kind of mentality when we make a mistake,” she says. “I become more focused on fixing the customer’s problem and less on my mistake.”

Use “I Don’t” Instead Of “I Can’t”

This language hack is used to shape your own mindset within a conversation. “I don’t” empowers you because it tells your brain that you have made a choice. “I can’t” registers as something that is being forced on you.

Feeling empowered can keep you in control during a tough customer call. Remember, you can almost always do something for a customer, even if it’s finding someone else to resolve the issue.

Focus On “Value”

“Value” is an extremely powerful word in customer-facing interactions. Use phrases like the following:

  • I value your opinion
  • We want you to know we value you as a customer

Of course, don’t say it if you can’t prove it; even the best words are meaningless if they have no substance.

Sign Off Your Emails ‘Sincerely’

According to the recent Q2 2014 Zendesk Benchmark report the way you sign off your client communications can have an effect on customer satisfaction. Of course your sign off should be appropriate for the relationship you have with that client, but according to this research,”Yours Sincerely” was the strongest email sign off beating out, “Cheers,” “Best Regards” and “Best Wishes.”

Whether you are using language to better communicate with customers or better communicate with yourself, the above language hacks will help ensure you are putting your best words forward.

Yours Sincerely,

Adam Toporek

Image courtesy of bplanet at



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