Language and Phrases: Helping Your Business

April 11, 2017

By Andrea Cowan, BBB Dispute resolution Counselor


This blog will show the importance of wording and provide examples of positive language changes that can be used to increase customer satisfaction!


Customers don’t generally get their impression of your business from you marketing or branding, but rather from daily frontline interactions. Language can be a make or break element in customer satisfaction. Sometimes the difference can be really subtle…for example the slight difference between saying “No problem!” versus “My pleasure!”


Language should not be left up to chance. Think about your regular customer interactions and look for language opportunities.


How to say “No”

Instead of:

“We can’t do that/That’s against our policy”


As much as I'd love to help, your request is beyond what we're able to do for customers.”


High volume/Wait times:

Instead of:

“I don’t know how long it will be/ We’re really busy”


“I understand you’ve been waiting. Thank you for your patience, we’re doing all we can to complete your order/service.”



Instead of:

‘‘You owe . . .’’


‘‘Our records show a balance of . . .’’


Language is an opportunity to set your business apart from other companies in the market. It’s important to ensure your customer facing representatives are using language that invites customers back. Listen to what your customers are hearing and provide training/support to help employees find the best words for difficult situations. It is sometimes the smallest gestures that create the biggest ripple.