Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today

On Your Side

7 Things You Should Always Say to Customer Service

Sometimes a few words of praise can resolve your dispute with a company

Things to Say to Get Your Way

If you’ve ever had a bad experience with customer service, you know it’s easy to get angry and flustered. But maybe there’s a calmer, gentler way to resolve consumer issues. Next time, try saying these seven things.


'What's Your Name?'

This is the single most important thing you can ask in any customer service conversation. Using the agent's name during the call helps keep things friendly and reminds him that you know who he is so that he can't put you on permanent hold or hang up without repercussions.


'Be Calm'

Say this to yourself. No matter how badly you’ve been treated, keep your cool. If you don’t, you’ll give the company you’re dealing with reason to dismiss you without taking care of you.


AARP Offer: Protect your money, grow your nest egg

Take advantage of great information and tools to help build your future and prevent your money from going down the drain. Join AARP and start saving for your dreams today.

Getty Images

'We …'

You’re more likely to get what you’re asking for if you enlist the agent in your cause. Statements such as “I know we can find a satisfactory solution” create a framework in which you and the agent are working together to solve a common problem.


'My Goal Is …'

Be specific about what you’re seeking. In addition to asking for your money’s worth (a product that works as advertised, for example), you might ask for compensation for your time or punitive damages. And be clear about it. The more you help the agent see her way to making you happy and getting you off the line, the closer you will be to achieving your goal.


'I’m Not Going Away'

This isn’t a threat, but a promise that you aren’t going to give up easily. Customer service agents often toss out phrases such as “There’s nothing I can do.” But if you don’t hang up the phone, they are forced to continue dealing with you.



Tell the agent that if she can’t help you, you’d like her to “escalate the call.” Agents get dinged for every call they have to refer to their supervisor. So let her know that’s your intention while giving her one last chance to give you what you’re asking for.


'Thank You'

When you express gratitude for her efforts, you aren’t giving anything up. Instead, you’re standing out as a good guy in the endless chain of complaining customers. And simply put, people are more likely to help those who are nice to them.


What Not to Say

If you get frustrated in your dealings with companies, whatever you do, make sure you don’t say these things to customer service. Remember, you’re coming from a position of strength. You are in the right and you’re asking for only what you deserve.


  • Pinterest
  • Google+

More Articles & Slideshows

ways to save money shopping lawn home care dishes spa services credit cards cheap eats hobbies gas fuel bills finances home repair (Chris Gash)

99 Ways to Save Money
Tips and tricks to saving money on travel, health care, food and more

famous celebrities save coupon clip frugal life savings yeager cheap rich famous dollar stretch

Frugal Celebrities
You’ll be surprised how these wealthy celebrities stretch their dollars


Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


The Cheap Life

Jeff Yeager Cheap Life Ultimate Cheapskate AARP YouTube web series save money

Catch the latest episode of The Cheap Life starring Jeff Yeager, AARP's Ultimate Cheapskate. Watch

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits HomeServe

Members can protect their homes with comprehensive repair plans from HomeServe.

AARP Credit card from Chase

Members can get cash back rewards on purchases with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.

Woman holding smartphone in city, Google map tool

Members can find discounts on the go via the AARP® Member Advantages Offer Finder app.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.