Choose Your Words Carefully

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Words are very powerful — whether written or verbal — and can leave a lasting impression in a customer’s mind. So it’s essential that words are carefully chosen because once used, they can’t be taken back and the effects can either be positive or negative. Negative words can be damaging to your business and may cause you to lose customers as a result.

A reader recently shared examples of 2 different hotels visits and pointed out these differences.

A Hotel in Hong Kong offers guests a number of items in the event that they forgot to pack them for their trip. They provide a written message to advise guests about the products they have available.

This is what it said…

Should you need any other amenities, don’t hesitate to call our Solutions Centre. Just press “0” on your phone. Items include: hair kit, sewing kit, nail kit, dental care, mouth wash, shoe mitt and razor kit.

A cold, impersonal message that wasn’t very appealing. The reader was grateful they had everything they needed in their luggage.

However, 2 weeks later, the same reader was in Dubai, India staying at a different hotel. The hotel left a small note on the bedside table.

This note said…

WITH COMPLIMENTS: If you need any essential toiletries, please contact our receptionist. We will be more than happy to deliver them to your room with our compliments. Available items include: razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, cotton wool and feminine hygiene products. Welcome home.

Same basic offer — but delivered in a different tone.

The reader really felt better about staying at that second hotel and made a point of keeping that hotel (and chain) in mind when booking future travel — unlike the Hong Kong hotel.

My Perspective: Wow! What a difference a few well chosen words can make to a guest.

By the simple choice of different words, the hotel in Dubai communicated they cared more about the overall customer experience than the Hong Kong hotel.

While this was a specific example of a hotel, the same formula can be applied to any situation where words are used. When dealing with customers, written word and verbal words are used extensively and often employees write or speak before putting their brain in gear.

Any written content on a company website, in a brochure or any other written material should be well thought out before being used. Does it say what you really want said or can the message be taken in a negative light? If you have to send memos, emails or physical letters to customers, employees or other companies, have you thought about how those messages will be received?

All words have mood and meaning and every word matters when it involves customers or employees in any way.

From your customer’s perspective, which words and phrases are helpful, positive, respectful and appreciative? Which words have negative connotations?

Review all your written material to ensure you only use positive, powerful words. Plus, coach your team to use positive words when dealing with your customers.

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