Some words and phrases used today are just no longer appropriate—what to say instead.

When marketing our services or working with a current client, you need to know what not to say.

What happens is they can cause a conversation to make a wrong turn, and that is something we want to avoid.

“Fortunately, many of these words and phrases can be replaced with more suitable terms that keep the conversation positive and going strong,” says Ron Segura, a cleaning consultant, who helps cleaning contractors market their services and build stronger relationships with their clients.

Among the terms Segura says should be avoided – and what should be said instead – include the following:

No, we do not provide that service.

Try to avoid saying “no” to any customer or prospect request. Instead say, “While we do not provide that service, we have some options that may work just as well.”

I’ll look into that.

This is vague, and very often the customer/prospect assumes they will never hear back from you. Instead say, “Let me do a bit of research, and I will call you back later in the week.” This is more reassuring and gives you a bit more time to come up with an appropriate answer.

I’m sorry that happened.

While you should always apologize if you or your crew made a mistake, apologies are not solutions. Instead say, “I’m very sorry about this, but don’t worry, I’ll make it right for you.”

I have another call coming in.

Unless it is an emergency, never put a customer or prospect on hold. It makes them feel their problem or their call does not matter. But what if it really is an emergency? In that case say, “Unfortunately, I have an emergency call coming in. Let me handle this, and I’ll call you back as soon as possible.” We can all related to this and no harm is done.

Let me correct you on that.

This makes the customer/prospect think they are the bad guy. Instead say, “This is my fault, I apparently did not explain that correctly.”

There is nothing we can do.

No one wants to hear this, and invariably there is something you can do. Say instead, “I understand your frustration. How can we help?”

About Segura & Associates

Segura & Associates was founded by Ron Segura, who now serves as president of the company. Ron has over 45 years of experience in all segments of the professional cleaning and building operation with ten of those years spent as Manager of Janitorial /Document Services for Walt Disney Pictures and Television. Segura & Associates works with clients, helping them operate their facilities in a healthier, more sustainable, and efficient manner. He can be reached via his website at

For more articles, subscribe to our newsletter!

Cleaning Business Today
is a publication of Tom Stewart and Derek Christian, who also partner in Castle Keepers, one of the fastest growing professional house cleaning services in the US.