Word choice and vocabulary are supremely important in customer service. Use words that are too large and uncommon and you risk alienating your customers; use words that are over-used and played out, and you risk looking unprofessional or unqualified to help.

Instead of struggling through conversations with customers and keeping a thesaurus close by, try these word substitutions that make you sound more professional and help build your vocabulary! Below, you’ll find (or is it locate?) two columns labeled “Instead of…” and “Try this.”

The first column is comprised of words commonly used in customer service and on the phone. The second column contains words that sound more professional and are recommended to be substituted for those in column 1. Check out this demonstration.

Hey, how are you? I’m great, thanks. Helping yesterday was no problem, I was just a little confused about what was necessary and what was not. I need a minute to get those details, then I can definitely let you know.”

Now, with our word substitutions in place:

Hello, how are you? I’m terrific, thanks. Helping yesterday was my pleasure, I was just a bit perplexed about what was essential and non-essential for this project. I need a moment to gather those details, then I will absolutely let you know.”

Version #2 sounds more professional and eloquent than Version #1. Check out the substitutions below to help make every conversation you have a bit more professional!

20 Word Substitutions That Make You Sound More Professional


Instead of…                                                                                          

  • Great
  • Hey
  • No problem
  • Little
  • Confused
  • Necessary
  • Minute
  • Can
  • Excited
  • Happy
  • I don’t know
  • Definitely
  • Done
  • Hard
  • Yes or yeah
  • Start
  • Want
  • Tell
  • Hope
  • Plan

Try this:

  • Terrific
  • Hello
  • My pleasure
  • A bit
  • Perplexed
  • Essential
  • Moment
  • Will
  • Eager
  • Pleased
  • Uncertain
  • Absolutely
  • Finished
  • Challenging
  • Certainly
  • Begin
  • Would like
  • Advise
  • Anticipate
  • Strategy
  • Locate