Welcome to Presentation-Pointers!      Keyword Search:    

Check out our new projector section click here. You will find reviews on the latest LCD projectors and DLP projectors for business presentations.

Magical Words Create Customer Satisfaction
By Eileen O. Brownell   Printer Friendly Version

Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them.
-Adlai Stevenson

"That's not my job," stated the clerk flippantly with a touch of body
language to exasperate the situation even further. The customer stood there with her mouth half open. You could almost see the steam coming out of her ears. It was certainly not the response she wanted to hear! How many times have you walked into a store or called a company and received a response that turned up the hair on the nape of your neck? Words are powerful. They can hurt or soothe. Some combination of words create an immediate negative reaction or image for the receiver of the communication.

When my brother and I would throw verbal volleys at each other, my mother would frequently remind us of Thumper's comment to Flower in Bambi. "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything at all." We can hurt our customers and potential customers or have them walk away happy and glad they either called or came into our business simply by using words with a positive twist. It is how we combine and state our words and the voice and body inflection we use that can turn a frustrated customer into a happy one.

Let us look at some of the frustrating statements you have heard and
discover how, through simple rephrasing, a negative can be turned into a positive.

Hold please! The phone immediately clicks and the operator is gone,
leaving the client stranded and frustrated. The tone of the operator's voice indicates she is hurried and really does not have time for one more interruption. The customer feels as though they have never had control of the situation and are angered by receptionist's lack of response to their needs. What if this had been an emergency? A simple "Would you hold please?" would have resolved the situation. Put the request in the form of a question. It allows the customer to feel in control and make a choice.

Well, who is this? My gut feeling is to respond by saying "none of your business!" A better question to ask is "May I tell him who's calling?" This places the caller in control of the situation and they can choose whether to disclose their name.

What's this about? Once again, I always want to respond with a flippant statement. This confrontational question can be restated in a non-threatening manner. "May I tell her what this is regarding?" is a much more pleasant question and places the caller at ease. The caller is once more in control of the conversation.

Just a minute and I'll be right back. The customer is placed in a
situation where they have no choice. Whenever possible, give the customer options or ask for permission to take your next action. Try "It might take me a few minutes (or however long it may really take) to find that information. Would you like to hold or can I call you back?"

Well that department is wrong! This statement places blame on another section or person within the business. It does not represent your company well and is a technique for passing the buck or placing the blame elsewhere.

The customer does not care who is wrong, they just want the situation corrected regardless of where the mistake was made. "Let me see how I can fix this for you," shows a willingness to rectify the situation and places the customer at ease. It is an immediate tension reliever and begins to dissipate a customer's angry feelings.

It's back there someplace, is not the response a customer wants when they ask where they can find an item. Maybe the customer has just walked the aisle five times and still can not find the product they want. Or maybe this is the first...and quite possibly the last...time they have been in your store and they have no idea where the different departments are located. You have three choices when asked the location of a product. The first and best response is "let me show you." If however you are unable to take the customer to the item, then give them a complete description of where the item can be found, "it's on aisle 5, about halfway back, right side, lower shelf." If you do not know the location then be honest and find out. "Good question.
Let me get someone who can show/tell you."

We can't do that, will put a wall of defensiveness up as fast as any
statement. Remember to tell the customer what you can do, not what you can't. "That's a great question. We can..." is more pleasant to hear and gives the customer alternatives to select from.

It's the company policy. Customers do not care what the organizational policies or rules are. Remember, 95% of the policies are made for 5% of the customers that will always ask for the exception. "Normally we don't do that.

In your case, I'll gladly make an exception." This really makes the client feel special. It lets them know it is not the normal company policy and yet there are always exceptions to the rules and a willingness to satisfy the customer's needs.

It's not my job. The customer really doesn't care who's job it is. They
just want a situation rectified. "I'll be glad to help you," or "let me get
someone from that department to help you" indicates a willingness on your part to either help or get assistance for the individual.

That can't happen, is like telling the customer they are lying. Even
though you believe the situation did not occur, you will never have exactly the same experience as the customer. We all experience a given situation differently. No two experiences will ever be the same because of our past and our perceptions. To place the customer at ease, try "I apologize you had that experience. Let me see how I can fix it."

You have to have... is a demand, not a request. Our schedules limited my soon to be husband and I to one specific day to apply for our marriage license within the allotted time period. After driving an hour to the county seat and standing in line for 45 minutes, we were told we did not have all the correct documents. We were frustrated. The staff member had not provided that information when we called about the process. There were no exceptions! We returned home, drove back again and got our license 30 minutes before closing. A better way to approach a request is, "We want to help you. Can you provide us with ?" If the customer's response is no, then begin to explore alternatives or other avenues for obtaining the information.

It's the computers fault. The individual who does the data entry is not
a computer. So who really made the mistake, the computer or the person? When blame is placed on an object, it is just as bad as blaming another person or department. The customer wants resolution to the problem. Apologize and move on. "I'm sorry you had this experience. Let me see how I can correct it."

Words can send an upset customer into orbit. When sincerely stated,
words can also soothe and express that you are ready to help and serve.

Review some of the words and phrases you use when speaking with a customer. Are your words magic to their ears or do they come crashing down leaving the customer frustrated, defensive and angry? Select your words and phrases wisely and you too will calm the raging client and win loyal customers.

Printer Friendly Version

Click here for more articles by Eileen O. Brownell.