By: Nancy Friedman, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service


We have all said them.

We have all heard them.

They aren’t dirty. They’re not 4 letter words. They’re not bad.

They are comments that can and do cost your company time and money each time they are said. Why? Because normally they stop the conversation and divert it to something non-related to what’s really at stake or what you’re talking about.

These are the top costly corporate comments (yes there are more) and they can be said to anyone; clients, co-workers and family as well. (They’re not in any special order.)

Recognize them?

        * “I willllllll.”

        * “I’ll try.”

        * “I thought I did.”

        * “I usually do.”

        * “I just was going to.”

Let’s talk about them:

1.   The “I Willlll” is usually dragged out and often in a very squeaky tone and dragged out enough to annoy the other person – a lot.

      It’s normally said because the person ‘forgot’ to do what you asked.

2.   “I’ll Try.” You know what? I expect you to try. That’s a given and frankly, insulting to me. It’s as though you’re telling me, “Gee you asked for the moon.”

      Most customers don’t ask for the moon. They simply ask for what they need.

      “I’ll try” is really pretty useless. Best to avoid it.

      The other phrase that’s close to this one that frustrates folks is: “I’ll try my best.” OMG! Well, if you’re going to “try” of course, I’d expect you to do your best. My goodness. When someone asks you to do something, it should either be a yes or no. If it’s not feasible, you can say, “Mr. Jones, I double checked and, unfortunately, the widget you need is not available (or whatever the inserted word should be.)

      “I’ll try” or “I’ll try and to do my best” – USELESS!

3.   “I thought I did.” So of what value is that? “Let me double check that for you, I may have forgotten” is far better than “I thought I did.”

      Yikes. Yes, we all forget things. That’s a given. But starting with a positive is much better than offering a negative.

      Telephone Doctor is a language of positive statements at the top of the conversation. We’re all about starting with a positive vs. starting the conversation with a negative.

4.   “I usually do.” Well, yah, but you didn’t. That’s just a big old excuse for “I forgot.” Better to say that! “I usually do” means you didn’t.

5.   “I was just going to…” Another loser statement. Normally said when a deadline was missed or you forgot to do something.

What’s YOUR costly corporate comment? Let’s hear from you.


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Nancy Friedman, president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is a featured keynote speaker and subject matter expert on customer service, engagement opportunities and communications skills at franchise, association and corporate meetings.

Nancy has appeared on OPRAH, Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning and hundreds of other radio and TV shows. She has been published in Wall Street Journal with her column, “Don’t Strike Out with Your Customers.”

The author of eight books on sales, communications skills and customer service, Nancy is a subject matter expert on these topics. She is the spokesperson in the popular Telephone Doctor customer service training programs.


Nancy Friedman

Nancy Friedman

Communication and customer service expert Nancy Friedman, The Telephone Doctor, founder and chairman of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training, is back in the saddle again. Well, back into live onsite programs, and still offering her ZOOM programs, in a cost saving manner. Whichever you choose, onsite or Zoom, you’ll be glad you did. The reviews are excellent, and audiences have loudly applauded her in either area. Sales, customer service and communication skills are her area of expertise, and she welcomes calls, texts, or emails. You can reach her directly at; through the website at, where you can sign up for her newsletters; or call/text directly at 314-276-1012 central time. Bring it on. Whether you need a keynote speaker or workshop/breakout speaker on customer service and communication skills, you’ll make a great choice.