20 WOW Telephone Techniques: Tip #17

What to say to the yelling or cursing customer

Bored Telephone Worker

  • “I’m trying to help you, but if you continue to yell and swear, I am going to ask that you call back another time. It’s up to you…which would you prefer?”

  • “I’m sorry. It isn’t possible to help while listening to that language. If it stops, I can help.”

  • “If a few minutes helps you calm down before we continue, that would be okay. You can certainly call me back.”

  • “I want to help you, yet the language is getting in the way.”


Note: Your tone is critically important with the above statements. You must come across calm, neutral, and non-threatening.

If you liked this tip, you might also like our customer service eLearning, which is loaded with phrases, approaches, and templates for how to handle challenging customers. 

SMH (scratching my head)

I just got an email complaint from a customer who attended my Before You Hit Send webinar. The webinar discusses why so many companies blow it with customer email and how my viewers can do better.  A big section of the program is “7 Grammar Gaffes that Make You Look Dumb.” My “complainant” said that everything I taught in the webinar, she learned before she was 8 years old. Funny, as the first sentence of her email had the #1 grammar gaffe that we discussed….typing “YOUR” when you really mean “You’re.” Perhaps she didn’t pay enough attention in grammar school.

Being the professional that I am, I immediately replied to the customer’s email with an apology. “I’m sorry my webinar didn’t meet your expectations…” But what I really wanted to convey was how to avoid the very common YOUR vs. You’re grammar gaffe.  I didn’t have the heart to school the customer via email, but I do want to help protect you from this grammar gaffe that really does make people and their companies look dumb – to be frank.

All it takes to avoid the “Your vs You’re” error is to take a second and think about what you’re trying to say.

Your” is a possessive pronoun, as in “your car” or “your blog.”

“You’re” is a contraction for “you are,” as in “you’re  going to be so much more effective at writing emails because you attended this webinar.

I hope this helps someone. Maybe my complainant will find this post and learn a little something that she didn’t learn before she turned 8 years old.  🙂


Before You Hit Send: How to Write Business-Friendly Emails That Create Emotional Connections and Leave Customers Saying WOW!

Every email your employees send out has your company’s brand in the signature line and it puts your corporate reputation on the line. A great email can completely restore customer confidence in your brand and regain goodwill. But, at the fingertips of a disgruntled customer, your emails can be plastered all over the Internet by way of a powerful blog. In Before You Hit Send, Myra shows your people, step by step, how to craft customized, friendly emails that answer customers’ questions and leave customers with a WOW reaction. View full course outline

Customer Service Associations

I believe in networking.  Stay connected with your colleagues so you remain at the top of your game.  Here is a comprehensive list of customer service associations.

Alberta Call Centre Association
American Telemarketing Association
Association Francaise des Cebtres de Relation Clientele
Association For Services Management International
Call Center Forum Deutschland e.V.
Call Center Industry Advisory Council
Call Center Managers Association
Call Centre Council of Singapore
Call Centre Management Association (UK) 
Call Centre Managers Forum
Canadian Telecommunications Consultants Association

Contact Center Assocation
CCMA (Ireland)
CCNG International
CRM Foundation
Customer Contact Management Association
Direct Marketing Association (US)
Direct Marketing Association (UK)
Federation of European Direct Marketing
Help Desk Institute
Hong Kong Call Centre Association
Institute of Customer Service
International Association of Reservation Executives

International Contct Center Association (ICCA)

International Customer Service Association
International Telework Association
Northwest Call Center Professionals

Professional Association of Customer Engagement (PACE)
Professional Planning Forum
Society for Technical Communication
Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP)
Support Services Institute
The Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand (TUANZ)

Myra’s Helpful Phrases for Negotiating with Customers

Women with headsets working at a call center

Here are 13 great phrases to help you negotiate with customers you can’t afford to lose…but in cases where you don’t want to “give the store away.”

  • “We see this differently, and I am going to have to put more thought into the perspective you have shared with me. It’s helpful for me to understand how you see things. In the meantime, here is what I can do to solve the immediate problem.”

  • * “It is our company policy that we cannot pay a claim that involves consumer error. We have a responsibility to the company to uphold the integrity of our products. When a product performs as expected and has no deficiencies, we cannot take responsibility and accordingly can offer no financial assistance.”

  • “I am hearing you say you want $500 in pain and suffering. Please tell me how you arrived at that figure?”

  • “That sounds a little high.”  Note: No matter what dollar amount the customer puts on the table, just state those five words and then shut your mouth. Since most people become increasingly uncomfortable with silence, your tight lips will force the customer to say something in response. Either he or she will make a more reasonable request, or they will attempt to justify their request.

  • “This is fair and reasonable because…”

  • “I’m willing to _________ because____”

  • “As a concrete form of apology, please accept this coupon for 10% off of your next purchase with us.”

  • * “We appreciate hearing about your experience, but we cannot compensate you in this matter because you failed to follow instructions/did not read instructions/misused the product.”

  • “I understand your concern. What do you think would be fair?”

  •  “Although you might not agree with my decision, I’d like to explain it so you can at least understand.”

  •  “Let me do some investigating on my end and call you back. I’ll call you no later than tomorrow afternoon with a response.”

  • “I’ve/We’ve given this a great deal of thought, and it’s the best I/we can do. Any more and it’s not worth it for me to do the deal./Any more and this simply won’t make good business sense.”

  •  “Mr. Warren, we want to get to the bottom of this just as much as you do.”

Now you can give your representatives even more great skills for delivering the best customer experience and for handling difficult customer situations. Sign up for my email list and learn specific tips, approaches and phrases to help your employees help your customers.