We often work with clients on using positive language in face-to-face, telephone and email conversations with customers. This also involves cutting out negative words and phrases, especially when you have to tell customers something they don’t won’t to hear. For example, when you can’t get a service technician out to them straight away or even today.
In their book The Effortless Experience the authors call this ‘experience engineering’ – managing or engineering a conversation using carefully selected language to improve how the customer interprets what there are being told.
They include an example from Disney World where new hires who will become ‘cast members’ learn the art of positive language during their training. They are asked to come up with options as to how they should respond to answering the question, “What time does the park close?”
Disney’s preferred response is, “The park remains open till 8.00pm then we open for even more fun at 9.00am tomorrow morning” rather than, “The park closes at 8.00pm”.
While this may seem a bit extreme, there is no doubt that raising awareness and working on the language we use can make a big difference to the customer’s perception of how they are being treated by your company. Here are four examples from their book:
- Instead of “We can’t ship your order until…” say “We can ship your order on…”
- Instead of “We’ll need to order you a replacement” say “The best way for me to handle this for you is…”
- Instead of “Your order won’t be ready until…” say “Your order will be ready on…”
- Instead of “You’ll need to write your return number on your package” say “Please be sure to include your return number on your package”.
To help you with preparing and using thoughtful language, I’m making available for you free of charge a brief report I recently shared with a client. You’ll recognise some of the examples from previous editions of this newsletter. Click on 9 Danger Words and Phrases to avoid when in Conversation with Customers and 2 Positive Ones That Work to download your complimentary copy.