11 Customer Service Phrases You Need to Know in 2024

Sarah Chambers Sarah Chambers · 8 min read

Regardless of the industry you work in, there’s common situations that every customer service agent will run into.

Some of these situations can be difficult to find the right words for to get your point across, while still being polite.

That’s why we’ve rounded up a list of 11 common customer service phrases you can employ to deal with difficult situations. We’ve added tips and tricks so you can make them your own. Please feel free to use any of these replies, but make sure you edit them according to the situation and your company brand to humanize your support.

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How to say no

When to use:

As much as we want to do everything we can to make customers happy, sometimes we have to say no. For example, if you don’t have the item in the color and size they want it, there’s no way to say yes! The best thing to do in these situations is to be upfront about what you can and can’t do for them, and try to offer other solutions. Using your experience and engineering skills will make it a win-win for you and your customer.

  • Use Positive Language
  • Offer a workaround
  • Explain your reasoning
  • Be honest
  • Make the customer feel understood

What to say:

“While I don’t have that red dress in medium right now, I’ve got the same dress in your size in black. I could get that out to you today, or put you on the waitlist for when the red one comes back in stock.”

“I completely understand how that would be helpful, however it’s not something we’re able to do technically. When our services posts to Facebook, we’re restricted by what they let us do through their API (the connection to them). Unfortunately, this isn’t something that they let other companies do.”

“I hear what you’re saying. It can be really frustrating to sign up to a trip and it not be exactly what you expected. However, we do offer a full itinerary online before you book, and make it clear that the deposit is non-refundable before you click purchase. As it turns out, we operate on very minimal budgets, so it’s not feasible for us to offer a full refund for the trip you’ve already completed with us.”

How to apologize

When to use:

We’ve written an entire article on how and when to apologize. A genuine apology is an important tool and should be used often when the customer is upset. Offering an apology on top of a recovery credit, increases customer satisfaction in the resolution to 74%.

What to say:

Hi Gretl,

First of all, I want to apologize for the experience you’ve had getting your account set up. It’s not our usual standard and I understand how frustrating this delay must be. I’m sorry you’ve had to spend so much time on this.

Over the last week we’ve been implementing a new onboarding system to help make account set up easier. Due to an unexpected increase in signups, we’ve seen some unfortunate side-effects, such as the ones you’ve experienced. I’ve gone through your account and ensured that there’s no further issues remaining.

Again, I’m sorry it took us so long to get this point! I look forward to providing a much better experience in the months to come.

If you have any further questions or concerns, please let me know. I’m here to help!



How to thank someone for their feedback

When to use:

Customers offer suggestions on functionality all the time. Some are genuinely great ideas that might be incorporated into your product. Others are so niche or impossible, they aren’t likely to make it in. Either way, you need to thank the customer for taking the time to give their opinion and communicate what happens next.

What to say:

When the feature might happen:

“That’s a great idea, Sam! I really like your example of how this particular feature would come in useful to you. Our engineers have put this on the roadmap, and we expect to roll it out in the near future. When it’s available, I’ll be sure to let you know. Thanks again for writing in and taking the time to provide your feedback.”

When it probably won’t:

“Thanks so much for your feedback, Sam. I can understand how that permission setting would work really well for your industry. Unfortunately, it’s not something that’s in our future plans at this time. The majority of our customers use us to manage their retail stores. If that changes, we might rethink your suggestion. In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy our service! If there’s anything else I can help you with, please let me know.”

How to escalate an issue

When to use:

Lots of support teams work in tiers, where the front line deals with quick answers, calms users down and collects information. 2nd and 3rd tier support teams deal with more technical troubleshooting, perhaps even getting engineering involved for configurations and bug fixes. If you work on a team like this, you’ve likely had to hand customers to another team.

When you need to escalate, make sure you let the customer know exactly what to expect, and when they’ll hear back. It’s also important that they don’t feel like you’re dropping them – stay connected and open for more questions if needed.

What to say:

“Hi Lisa!

Thanks so much for that additional information. It looks like we need some help from the Tier 2 team to resolve this. I’ve escalated this ticket to them, and they’ll reply to this email with more information within the next 24 hours.

If there’s anything else I can help you with in the meantime, please let me know.



How to follow up with an unhappy customer

When to use:

If you’re measuring customer satisfaction, or NPS, odds are pretty good you’ll receive a response from an unhappy customer at some point. The best course of action is to follow up with the customer and hope to address their concern. We’ve written at length about replying to your NPS detractors, but let’s recap here. You want to make the customer feel heard and resolve as much of their problem as you can. Being responsive will go a long way to turning that frown upside down.

What to say:

“Hi Oscar,

My name is Patty and I’m the support manager here at [Company]. We read every single response to our post-ticket surveys, and I wanted to address some of the concerns you’ve raised. .

I understand how frustrating it must be to [experience they had]. I’m sorry.

Moving forward, I’d like to resolve this situation for you immediately. [Solution or explanation to resolve issue]

If there’s anything else I can do for you today, please let me know. I’m here to help.



How to close off emails

When to use:

At the end of the email, you usually sign your name with your title. But what goes before that? Usually it depends on your company tone. If you’re formal and corporate, it’s best to stick to the standards. But if you’re friendly and hip, maybe it’s time to switch it up! If “sincerely” or “best” isn’t working for you anymore, choose one (or more!) of our list below.

How to ask for more information

When to use:

The necessity for more information can come at any time. Whether your customer writes in with a simple “HELP ME” and leaves you to fill in the blanks, or you’re troubleshooting back and forth on a complex issue; information is always at a premium in support. To ask for more information, it’s important to explain why it’s needed, and how they can acquire it. Keep the level of explanation appropriate to your customer’s technical level. (See also: supporting non-technical customers)

Making a nice, easily scannable list will help customers provide everything you need. Use lots of white space and bullet points to make it super clear what you’re asking for.

What to say:

“Hi Ben,

I’d love to help you out with this! That definitely shouldn’t be happening, and it isn’t something I’ve heard of before! I need a little more information to understand what’s going on. Can you please tell me:

  • What field you were trying to update when you saw that error?
  • How often this happens?
  • What browser you were using?

Finally, a screenshot would be amazing if possible! (Here’s how do this on Windows, and on a Mac.)

Once we’ve got that information from you, we can take a closer look!

Thank you!


How to put someone on hold

When to use:

Sometimes it’s best to put a customer on hold for a few moments. It can help you concentrate better to read through case history or run quickly to ask an expert on the subject. Customers don’t mind if you ask politely and come back quickly. Just make sure to wait for them to say “okay” before you click the hold button!

What to say:

“Do you mind if I put you on hold for a couple minutes? I’m just checking a few things and I’ll be back with you very soon.”

“I need to check with another department on why this is happening. Could I put you on hold for a couple minutes to check now, or would you prefer a call back?”

“Great. I’m going to look into this for you right now. Is it alright if I put you on hold for a minute while I examine this issue?”

How to respond to a phone call request

When to use:

If you don’t offer phone support, you will have had customers ask for it. It can be difficult to respond to these request – often these customers are already upset and need urgent help. For any of these requests, you need to communicate that your team doesn’t currently offer phone support, and the best way for them to get help or move forward with their ticket. We also like including our reasoning for not offering phone support, as it can help ease the rejection for customers.

What to say:

“Hi Carlos,

Thanks for writing in. At this time we don’t provide phone support, but I’d be happy to help you here. We believe we provide better support through email because we’re able to take time to diagnose the problem and check in with our engineering team – all without putting you on hold. We’re also a small team, so this helps us prevent customers from being put on hold to talk to us while we’re assisting other customers.

Now, let’s get this issue sorted for you.

[Insert awesome customer service here]



Squarespace actually found it was easier to answer this question with a help center article. They can link to this article within tickets so customers fully understand their position.

How to write an automated response email

When to use:

Telling a user that you’ve received ticket is a nice thing to do. It helps them relax and know that you’re working on the problem. You can also set customer expectations or direct them to your help center for faster help.

What to say:


Thanks for writing in. We’ll be back to you with an answer shortly – our average response time now is about 6 hours.

In the meantime, free feel to check out our Help Center if you think that might help.


The Support Team”

How to reply to a cancellation request

When to use:

Unfortunately it happens. Sometimes customers write in to close their account. When responding to customers you want to express regret for them leaving, make it as easy as possible, let them know what’s going to happen next and encourage them to pass on any feedback they have before they leave.

What to say:

“Dear Hilda,

I’m so sorry to hear you’re closing your account with us. Do you mind sharing what caused you to cancel? I’d love to hear how we could do better.

If you cancel today, you’ll immediately lose access to your account, including any reports you’ve created with us. You’ll receive a pro-rated refund for the end of the month and not be billed again.

Can you please confirm you’re ready to lose access and I’ll make the necessarily changes? Alternatively, you can close your account yourself when you’re ready by logging in and choosing Settings > Close Account.

Thanks for using our product,


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Sarah Chambers Sarah Chambers

Sarah Chambers is a Customer Support Consultant and Content Creator from Vancouver, Canada. When she’s not arguing about customer service, she’s usually outdoors rock climbing or snowboarding. Follow her on Twitter @sarahleeyoga to keep up with her adventures.

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