When we think of customer experience, we think of the delivery of goods and services to the customer. We think of the painlessness of the experience, the value they get for the money and the ease of working with our businesses. We don’t always think about how the words and phrases we use to interact with our customers affect their overall experience. However, to overlook language in the context of customer service is to overlook the value words have to sell and impact opinions.
Language shapes the way customers feel about your brand and impacts the way they perceive the non-verbal interactions you already have in place. Consider these five points to improve the way your words shape your business:
Talking About Goals, Rather Than Products
Businesses sell products and services, and those services have benefits. If we sell paint for home interiors, we’ll talk about the long-lasting coat, price per gallon and a variety of colors to find exactly what your room needs. These benefits are important, but sometimes they’re short-sighted. For a couple that just bought a new home, they may want long-lasting color, but the long-lasting color serves to bring their home to life and make it feel warm. This may sound touchy-feely, but the reality is that consumers don’t care about the technical details as much as they care about how those details will make their lives better. In other words, focus on the end benefit. If your product or service has a strength, talk about how it’s going to satisfy the emotional needs of your customers.
Setting Customer Expectations
Aligning your business’s promises and guarantees with your customers’ minds is critical to ensuring satisfaction. The phrase “under-promise and over-deliver” applies here. As important as it is for customers to know about all the great benefits they get, it’s equally important for them to understand what they don’t get. Illustrating this in a tactful way up front prevents disappointment at the crucial customer touchpoint of product/service delivery.
Vocalizing the Things You Do Well
Most businesses have things they excel at, and many businesses fail to vocalize those special interactions. If a furniture store will help you load your furniture and provide you with foam pieces to help prevent scratching, they should talk about this as a service! They could include this in an advertisement or even in the front of their store: “Free loading and complimentary edge protectors – our treat.” This is a small example, and some business owners and executives might think this sounds like excessive self-praise. In reality, this is a vital part of messaging that keeps customers in touch with the things your business is doing correctly. This is especially valuable when your customers’ biggest needs align with a competitive advantage; you must let them know.
Rewarding Good Behavior
Sometimes, the sad reality of business is that difficult customers can be more of a pain than they’re worth. Fortunately, the opposite is also true. Great customers are the ones who love your products/services, are low-maintenance, are reasonable and repeatedly do business with you. Any business adores these types of people, and these special customers need to feel the love! If a customer checks these boxes, let them know how much you enjoy working with them. Additionally, give them something to show they’re appreciated, such as a discount or freebie. This isn’t a haphazard giveaway – it’s an investment in retaining a customer that is simply too helpful to lose.
Hearing customers’ perspectives is a great way to shape language around your business. Asking for feedback shows you care about their opinion, conveys a sense of constant improvement and, when done correctly, provides you with tangible advice you can apply to improve your business. However, this can’t be done passively – feedback needs to be built into your customer touchpoints and actively pursued.