Top Five Crushing Customer Service Replies | #CX #CustServ #PeopleSkills

Most customers have experienced some crushing customer service replies. Yet even after my 30 years of teaching customer service excellence, I am still outraged that reps still say these horrible things to customers. That is why I label the following list the top five most crushing customer service replies. If you are a customer service manager, use this list to coach your reps and agents.

Crushing Customer Service Replies: Image is a crushed flower on a city street.

Crushing Customer Service Replies. Image by Saffar Abdalah via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Image by Saffar Abdalah via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Top Five Crushing Customer Service Replies

All the items on this list are from true customer service experiences. Avoid saying these crushing customer service statements to your customers.

  1. One bad apple spoils the bunch. A very good long time customer at an eye doctor practice asked to receive a bill for the examination because she forgot her checkbook. The new office manager demanded her credit card despite how long the customer had been a customer there. The manager ended the discussion by saying “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” This reply makes crushing list because it crushed the customer’s respect and trust. The customer left the practice immediately.

  2. Blaming the Customer for a System Glitch

  3. You brought this on yourself. An airline customer had selected a seat online when purchasing the ticket. When the customer checked in early at the airport kiosk, it asked if she would like to take an earlier available flight if seating were available. She clicked yes. In the end the earlier flight was not available. Yet, the system canceled her assigned seat on the original flight. When she went to customer service, the agent said “You brought this on yourself.” When the customer objected and demanded help, they reinstated her seat. This crushing statement makes the list because it blamed the customer instead of just helping her.

  4. You’re stupid. When the cable company customer told the rep she didn’t understand the grouping of cable channels, the rep replied “You’re stupid.” This reply makes the list because it is insulting, inhuman, and totally unacceptable.

  5. You’re a difficult customer. Labeling a customer crushes the customer experience and drives customer away from you. Train your reps that there are no difficult *customers. There are challenging moments that allow you to satisfy the customer and gain their loyalty.

  6. Doing it Backwards

  7. We don’t like you. Customers don’t come to your business to be liked. They come because they like your product and service. Never make the customer experience about whether you like the customer. Get them to like you and your business! Otherwise you will crush your chances for success.

I have been training the best customer service reps for thirty years. Prevent crushing customer service replies from ever reaching the customers’ ears. Share this list with your reps and have them add to the list with other statements they wouldn’t want to hear when they are the customers. Words matter!

What crushing customer service replies would you add to this list?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Irresistible Customer Service Experience: What Every Customer Wants
Do’s and Don’ts for Irresistible Customer Service Experience

©2021 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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4 Responses to “Top Five Crushing Customer Service Replies | #CX #CustServ #PeopleSkills”

  1. Alli Polin says:

    First, when I read #3, I was in shock. The sad thing is that while the examples you give are unique, some form of these statements and experiences are all too universal. I once discussed my needs with a company because I didn’t want to give them access to my house when I wasn’t home they said, “Everyone else does it. What’s your problem?” Needless to say, we immediately ended our business relationship. Bullying a customer to get your way is definitely not customer service.

    Will share, Kate!


    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thanks Alli for adding your personal story. It’s a great example of bullying and an important addition to this discussion. I continue to write the true stories that illustrate just how bad it can get AND just how easy it is to fix.


  2. Matt says:

    Thanks for this article. As a customer, I hate to hear things like: “Call us back, we are …” or “You should check back later …” Instead I would rather hear, “I will get back with you by this time period.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Good examples Matt. Thanks for adding to this discussion. What we say to customers has big impact and so we must continue to learn, grown, and change.


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