Things Your Call Center Reps Should Never Say

Posted on : 19,Sep,2017

a call center rep with a headset writing down notes pertaining to a phone call

Good call center scripts call for professional language, a positive tone and a considerate and sympathetic manner when speaking to customers over the telephone. However, there are less obvious and potentially harmful phrases that should also be avoided. Some of these phrases may seem appropriate at the outset, but when they’re examined more closely, you realize some of the underlying problems.

Here are a few things your call center reps should never say.

Negative Language

“I’m very sorry, but that product is out of stock. I can’t get it for you until January.”

An apology is nice, but it doesn’t give your customer much to go on. They may wonder if they should call back, ask to talk to someone who can help them order the item now and wait for delivery or if the item is likely to go out of stock again.

Consider rewording negative phrases into positive action. For instance, “That product will be available in January. I can go ahead and order it for you right now if you’d like so you’ll be one of the first to get it.”

Not Enough Information

“Let me transfer you to someone with more expertise. Please hold.”

This response may annoy some callers. Most people don’t like to be put on hold and a great majority of consumers hate to be tied to a phone waiting for answers.

When your call center reps need to transfer a call and put someone on hold, they should try to give the caller as much information as possible. The rep should explain to the caller that they are transferring them to someone who is an expert and give an estimated wait time, if possible. For example, “I’m actually not the best person to answer this question, but Sean in X department is. Let me transfer you and he’ll be with you in about two minutes.

Curbed Communication

“Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do.”

Call center reps should take the time to figure out what they can do to help each customer. This will improve customer satisfaction and help your company to continue to earn recommendations. Sometimes, your company simply can’t do what a customer asks for, but there are still ways to remain engaged with them, rather than putting up a roadblock.

For example, if a customer calls wanting to return an item after the 30-day return policy has expired, your call center rep should say, “I’m sorry, we can’t accept the product back for a refund, but if you’d like, we can exchange it for an in-store credit.” 

Then your call center rep should find out if the customer feels that your return policies weren’t clearly stated when they bought the item and, if that’s the case, communicate that to the department responsible for wording the return policy.  


“I’m sorry to hear that. You’re actually the first person to complain about this.”

A statement like this doesn’t make the customer feel any better. Indeed, it may actually make them feel worse. It really doesn’t matter if no one else has had the same problem, it’s still a problem that needs to be resolved.

Your call center rep should be sympathetic and say something like: “I’m so sorry to hear that! Let me see what I can do to fix this.”  

Placing Blame/Making Excuses

“What happened is really not our fault.”

Something that’s not your company’s fault will likely affect what you can do to help a customer who’s upset. Still, the customer would like to hear something that’s helpful and shouldn’t feel like you’re making excuses. Your company should have a solution ready for these types of situations.

If the customer is mad and there isn’t much you can do about it, focus on customer satisfaction. Call center reps should remain positive, calm and polite and say something like: “This was out of our control, so unfortunately we can’t make that change for you. Can I offer you a coupon for your troubles?”

Putting Down Your Own Company

“I agree with you, our policy is unclear and a little bit confusing.”

If your call center reps don’t respect your company, why should your customers? Reps should speak respectfully of your business, even if they agree with the person on the phone, then take up any issues with the right person later. Empathy is a great way to connect with the caller, but it should never be at the expense of your business’s reputation.

Instead, your call center script should support customers while respecting the company by saying something like, “I’m so sorry about that. Let’s take a look and see what can be done to clear things up.”


Scripts for your call center representatives should be designed specifically for your company, its culture and your particular audience. It’s up to your call center reps to disprove the idea many consumers have that businesses are paying less attention to good customer service.