Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Customer service industry phrases

Improve Spoken English

Personally I’ve been working in various service industry positions for the better part of my working life:

  • Shop-assistant.
  • Bartender.
  • Technical Support Agent.

Been there, done that! 😉

Having spent many years dealing with clients on a daily basis, I know only too well how important effective communication is when dealing with customers.

Not to mention getting your job in the first place!

I mean, do you think your future employer is going to hire you if your spoken English isn’t up to scratch and you don’t know how to greet your customer and ask them what they’d like you to do for them?

Also, considering that many companies will put you on probation before offering you a permanent position, it only stands to reason you should show great English communication skills when it comes to dealing with people.

After all, customers are the lifeblood of the company you represent, and your employer won’t hesitate hiring someone else if customers are struggling to understand you. If the customer service you provide isn’t good enough, why would they keep you, right?

So, would you like to brush up on your spoken English skills so that you can provide an outstanding customer service?

Well, I’m going to give you plenty of useful English phrases so that you can read them, speak them out loud, memorize them and then use them at work ❗

Call Center English Phrases

Call center English phrases

Hello, {your name} speaking, how can I help you? – a typical way of making an opening statement when answering a phone call.

Just hold on for a second – this is what you say to the customer in case it’s going to take you a while to provide them with the necessary information: “Just hold on for a second, I’m going to check your last payment details right now…”

Just bear with me for a moment – this phrase is pretty much the same as the one above.

Please stay on the line while I’m transferring you to … – this is a call center specific expression which is very useful in situations when you have to tell your customer that the call is transferred to another department: “Please stay on the line while I’m transferring you to the sales department!”

I’ll put you through to – the phrasal verb “to put through” means to transfer the phone call to someone else, and it’s widely used in call centers: “All right, unfortunately I can’t help you with this, but I’ll put you through to the accounting department, just stay on the line please!”

I’m going to put you on hold while I’m… – if you’re about to put the customer on hold while you’re looking into the matter, and all they’re going to hear is music, this is the right phrase to use.

Would you like to leave a message for… – in case the person the customer wants to talk to is unavailable, it’s always a good idea to ask them if they would like to leave a message for that person.

I’m sorry for keeping you waiting – this is how you resume the conversation after the customer’s been put on hold.

Would you like to speak with the manager? – in case the customer is having unrealistic demands, you may have no other option but to offer them to speak with the manager. If you’re allowed to do that, of course!

Is there anything else I can help you with? – if you’re a really good customer service representative, you’ll always finish your call with this question – just in case the customer has another query!

Retail English Phrases

English phrases for the retail industry

Can I help you with anything? – this is probably the most annoying phrase EVER, but if your boss has instructed you to address potential buyers on the shop floor, then you’ve just got to do it, right?

Is there anything in particular you’re looking for? – pretty much the same as the phrase above.

Would you like to try on a different size (color)? – if the particular item doesn’t fit the customer, this is how you offer them to try out a different one.

Are you going to pay by card or cash? – self-explanatory phrase.

You can pop in your card now! – this is how you prompt the customer to insert their credit card into the terminal.

Please enter your PIN now! – and this is how you tell the customer to enter the PIN.

Fast Food Industry Phrases

Fast food industry English phrases

Hello, what would you like to order? – when someone walks up to the counter to order some food, you have to ask them what they’d like to have.

Is this for here or to go? – this is a typical way of asking your customer whether they’ll consume the food on the premises or they’ll take it with them.

Would you like some extra cheese on it? – offering extras is a standard fast-food industry practice and this is how you make this offer to your customers.

Would you like to go for the meal? It’s only going to cost you … cents extra! – if someone orders a burger, you have to offer them the option to go for the meal deal – burger, soft drink and fries. You’ll get to use this phrase quite often when standing behind the counter, that’s for sure!

Next, please! – when the order is placed and you’re ready to take an order from the next customer, this is what you’re expected to say.

Receptionist’s English Phrases

English phrases for the receptionist's position

Hello, what can I do for you? – regardless of the institution where you’re working as a receptionist, this phrase is always a good way to greet a person waiting on you to help them!

Please take a ticket to join the queue! – if the institution where you’re working uses an automated numbered ticketing system and someone isn’t aware of this fact, this is how you tell them to do it.

{name} will be with you shortly! – if the customer has an appointment with one of you colleagues, this is how you tell them the person in question is going to meet them in a short while: “Michelle will be with you shortly, you can take a seat over there!”

Would you like to make an appointment to discuss it with someone? – if the customer wishes to discuss something quite specific such as getting a loan, for example, and it’s done by appointment only, this is a handy phrase you can use.

Unfortunately there’s no-one available today… – and this is how you let them know there’s no-one available to discuss the matter today.

Please fill in this application form! – as a receptionist, you’ll probably be required to ask people to fill in specific application forms, so this phrase is the right way to do it.

Hotel Receptionist’s & Travel Agent’s English Phrases

Hospitality industry English phrases

How many people are staying with you? – the exact number of people sharing the accommodation is an important factor to take into account during the booking process, and this is how you put it to your visitor.

How many nights would you like to stay? – another important question to be asked.

Would you like to go all inclusive (full board, half board, self-catering)? – if you’re working as a travel agent, you would be required to find out whether the client wants to avail of an all-inclusive service (breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinks) or maybe he prefers full board (just the meals without drinks), half board (breakfast and dinner only) or maybe they want to go with the self-catering option which means they’ll look after the food.

You can check in after… – if the client isn’t checking in right now but instead they’re doing a phone reservation, this is how you let them know the check-in time.

You have to check out before… – and this is how you let them know the time before which they have to check out of their room.

Can I have your booking reference, please? – when a person arrives at the hotel reception desk and it’s clear to you that they’ve already made the reservation, this is what you ask them in order to get the booking reference.

Enjoy your stay in our hotel! – I guess this phrase is quite self-explanatory, isn’t that right?

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Well, obviously these phrases barely scratch the surface when it comes to service industry English phraseology, but I hope this is going to provide you with some sort of a starting point!



P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System