Crutch phrases

Posted by ESC on March 18, 2002

From a story in The Courier Journal, Louisville, Ky., March 18, 2002.


"…Thank you for your patience.

And . . . have a nice day.

The shopworn phrases above are agonizingly familiar to anyone who routinely suffers through less-than-stellar customer service, which is most of us. What's so annoying is not the sentiment -- patience is a virtue, wishing someone a nice day is a nice gesture…

What's so grating is the way they're said, often dripping with monotonal insincerity, indifference and even the occasional touch of sarcasm. So is the suspicion, often justified, that these customer service 'crutch phrases' actually mask bigger problems within the company: a misguided attempt to save money -- or boost profits -- by skimping on the customer…"

There is a a sidebar by Bill Lampton, author of "The Complete Communicator," with several responses to "Thank you for your patience." Examples:

It seems you have misread my emotions. Please don't let my calm appearance fool you. I ran out of patience with this problem a long time ago…

Let me clarify something. The only reason I may seem to be patient is because I have vowed not to be as rude to you as people in your business have been to me.

Patient? I don't think you have pinpointed my emotion exactly. You'd be more accurate if you said I seem calm and serene. I really am. Why? Because I know this is my last day of shopping with you…

A link to an article by Mr. Lampton:

Words We'd Love to Do Without at