fbpx
updated 5:50 PM CDT, Aug 11, 2019
HOT NEWS
What is the difference between purpose and meaning?
Why is the focus on the human element important now?
Amendment to EEA Regulations: New format for EEA4
Separation of disciplinary enquiries into two parts
Protection of Personal Information Policy
Influenza Vaccine Consent Form
The difference between a work practice and a term and condition of employment
Disconnected from global trends? The right of employees to digitally disconnect
Right to disconnect
Lots of young South Africans aren’t going to technical colleges. What can be done
A+ A A-

Phrases that Pay

Phrases that Pay
Simple Statements that Increase your Perceived Value
Copyright © JC Mowatt Seminars Inc.
Used with permission of the author:
From the series Influence with Ease ®
Author: Jeff Mowatt
http://www.jeffmowatt.commploy
23 March 2007


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Quick - name two words which, when frequently used by waiters and waitresses, increases tips by 12%.  (Hint: it’s not please or thank you).

Give up?  The answer is, ‘for you.’  So, rather than saying to a customer, “Would you like some more coffee?”, the savvy waiter would say, “I brought more coffee over for you.”  The patron thinks, “Gosh, you did that for me, how thoughtful!” and tips accordingly - on average 12% more. 

That’s what I call easy money. If you answered correctly - ignore the rest of this article. If on the other hand you’d like more phrases and tips that increase your perceived value, then read on.

It’s OK to be in a bad mood

I don’t buy-in to the conventional ‘wisdom’ that an employee must bubble with enthusiasm to provide great service and high value. In the real world of upset customers, long hours, and stress, an employee’s enthusiasm will occasionally wear thin. We all have bad days.  So, front line employees need to be trained on how to convey a positive, helpful attitude even when they’re not having a zippity-do-dah day.

Here are several situations along with phrases that convey a powerful positive impression - no matter how stressed you may be. 

A customer asks for something and you don’t know if it’s in stock.

Without training: “I don’t know if they’re in. I’ll have to check.” 

With training: “I don’t know if they’re in, but I’ll be happy to check for you.”

The trained employee conveys a better attitude. The irony is that she didn’t work any harder than the untrained worker - they both checked inventory. But the trained employee gets a lot more credit because she used better phrasing.  What’s more - she didn’t have to feel happy or enthusiastic to get the extra credit. She just used wording that made a better impression.

A boss, co-worker or customers asks you to do something.

Without training (any of the following):  “OK, I’ll try, I’ll do my best, uh-huh, sure”

With training: “No problem.”

 “OK” or “sure” are adequate responses.  But who wants to be perceived as ‘adequate’? On the other hand, imagine asking someone to do a series of difficult, inconvenient, unpleasant tasks, and they respond instead with, “No problem.”  That conveys the impression of a positive, confident person. Again, we don’t have to actually feel excited or want to do the task, but using the right phrasing creates that perception.


“While you can never be too polite with a customer, you can be too formal.”
 

A customer asks about a delivery date.

Without training: “We might be able to get it to you by Wednesday.”

With training: “We’ll deliver it by Friday.”

The guideline is, underpromise and overdeliver.  In this situation, if the delivery is made on Thursday, the untrained employee looks incompetent while the trained person looks like a hero.  Keep in mind that it’s not just your organization’s reputation that’s at stake - it’s also your personal reputation. So make promises sparingly, and then keep them - no matter what it costs you.

You’re addressing a customer

Without training: Says, “sir, miss, or ma’me” frequently.

With training: avoids using sir or ma’me and instead uses person’s name.

While you can never be too polite with a customer, you can be too formal. When I ask participants at my seminars how they feel when a front line employee addresses them as “sir” or “ma’me” the overwhelming response is, ‘old’.  Not a good feeling.  What’s more, it creates a barrier between the customer and employee. The customer may be starting to think of the employee as a friend - which we want. But the moment the employee uses “sir” or “ma’me” the customer is reminded that they’re not friends, but business associates. Most of us are much more loyal to friends than we are to businesses. Of course there are exceptions where you may choose to be more formal; such as when you’re dealing with certain senior citizens or someone from a conservative cultural background (anyone from England).

You want to be believed

Without training: (Prefaces the statement with any of these phrases): “The truth is... believe me..., honest..., true story..., I really mean this...”

With training: Omits all these statements and just makes the statement of fact.

Prefacing a statement with a phrase that essentially says we’re about to tell the truth, implies that everything we’ve said up till that point has been a lie! These statements hurt rather than help our credibility. So trained employees just don’t use them - especially when having a sales conversation.

The competitive edge

Having a technological advantage over the competition is almost impossible to sustain in today’s marketplace.  Customers can almost always get a similar product to yours somewhere else. The easiest way to differentiate you and your organization is by providing value added service. That doesn’t mean everyone has to work harder.  It does mean you need to speak the language of professionals. That’s when using the right phrase really pays.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This article is based on the critically acclaimed book, Becoming a Service Icon in 90 Minutes a Month by business strategist, consultant, and international speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit http://www.jeffmowatt.com or call 1-800-JMowatt (566-9288)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Short summary
Training frontline personnel to use customer-oriented will enhance the reputation of the organisation and add value for customers.

Keywords and relevant phrases
Communication, credibility, customer service, frontline staff, organisational reputation, value.

Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director

BA LLB

C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

Website: www.workinfo.com
Login to post comments

HR Associations