“Your company has probably given more thought to the words it uses in its marketing campaigns than to the words employees use when having face-to-face conversations with customers.” ~ Leonardo Inghilleri
This quote, which opens Chapter 3 of the book, Exceptional Service – Exceptional Profit, is sad but true. As someone who has done a good bit of marketing, I know the diligence that is poured into making sure the precise words are chosen. Marketing departments want to be absolutely certain the message is delivered that will capture the interest of potential customers, make them give serious consideration to your product or service and entice them into taking action.
Imagine being the sole employee working in the marketing department tasked with scripting a 30 second radio ad that will be broadcast nationwide and will cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. In meetings, the CEO and Department Heads would remind how much the company has at stake and it is all on your shoulders. You would meticulously choose each and every word to make the very most of those 30 seconds. You would lay awake at night crafting the best possible message. Imagine the hours of self-deliberation you would subject yourself to. Finally, with a great deal of pride and just a touch of apprehension, you would submit your final creation. Will you subject yourself to the same kind of scrutiny before interacting with your next customer?
All of that painstaking work goes into your company’s message in an attempt to convince potential customers to take action. After hearing your well-crafted message, they now must either pick up the phone, go to your website or walk through your door. How much consideration have you given to when that interaction occurs – that very first personal interaction between your company and a potential customer? Your most important customer isn’t the one hearing your well-crafted radio ad; it’s the customer standing before you. That’s true whether this is a first encounter with a potential customer or whether it is a customer you see almost every day.
Thank about the words you use during a customer interaction. Are they words that will wow your customer? Are they words that you would want to hear if you were the customer? Consider this: as a customer, you have just thanked someone for assisting you. Would you rather hear a nonchalant, “No problem” or a robust, “It’s been my pleasure!” When you enter a business for the first time, will you be more impressed to hear the drone of “Can I help you?” or an enthusiastic, “Good morning! How may I be of service to you?” If you forgot to make a payment before going on vacation, would you prefer a collection call that went, “Your account is past due”, or one that said, “Good morning, I just wanted to give you a courtesy call because we haven’t received your monthly payment”?
Giving exceptional service isn’t really all that difficult. When you look around the business world today you see the bar is not set very high. Fortunately for you, Inghilleri’s quote is spot on – most companies give far more thought to their advertising words than to the words they train their employees to use. Any kind of business has competitors, and in most cases the only difference between your company and your competitors is the person interacting with the customer.
What words are you using when interacting with customers that can be chosen more carefully?