Use Your Words: Language for Delightful Customer Service at Every Touchpoint

This article was originally published on July 14, 2017 on Manta – Small business marketing solutions helping millions of businesses get found by more customers. Original article.

Approach every communication with your customers as an opportunity to spark a connection, gain their trust and earn their loyalty.

Are you paying attention to your touchpoints? They are, after all, the biggest opportunity you have to build trust with customers. From the receptionist answering your phone, to your email correspondence, to the décor in your office, each interaction presents a chance to either delight or disappoint. But how, exactly, can touchpoints be delightful?

Let’s start by looking at what it’s like to communicate with your business. What sort of experiences do you create? Is it charming and delightful, or drab and ho-hum? Your communications with customers come in many different forms, including:

  • The phone. Are calls answered quickly by a human voice? Is the voice on the other end of the phone friendly and helpful?
  • Your website. Is your website user-friendly and simple to navigate? Is all the information a customer would expect available and easy to find?
  • Are you opening with a friendly greeting? Summarizing what you hope to accomplish with the correspondence? Are you clearly stating what you may need from the recipient?
  • Using a friendly tone—yes, even in your invoices—goes a long way in creating a positive connection.

Every communication offers an opportunity to consistently spark a connection with your customers and gain their trust.

Why? Because your customers are human, of course! We all know that humans are emotional—especially when it comes to purchasing decisions—and language has a huge effect on human emotions. “We buy the sizzle, not the bacon,” after all.

That’s exactly why even the slightest word changes can have a drastic impact on your message, and as a result, your customers’ emotions. Think about some of these examples:

  • Cheap … or inexpensive?
  • Happy … or delighted?
  • Yes … or absolutely?
  • Colorful … or vibrant?

Technically you could use either word in the above examples interchangeably, but one option carries an emotional punch that the other just doesn’t have. Want more proof? Let’s take a look at some of these examples in action.

First, a standard apology email you might receive from any old customer service outfit:

Hello Sally,

Thank you for your inquiry. Our sincere apologies for the error made on your billing account. This error has been corrected and the $50 charge is no longer being billed to your account. This will show as a credit on your next invoice.

Please give us a call at 800-555-5555 if there’s anything else you need.

Sincerely,

Customer Service

Yawn! Sally may have gotten her problem solved, but I’m sure she’s not feeling any emotional connection to this company. How could she with that robotic, unfeeling language? Let’s spruce it up a bit:

Hi Sally,

Thank you for reaching out! I’m sorry there was an error made on your account. That’s a pretty embarrassing mistake on our end! The good news is that it’s been corrected, and you’ll have a $50 credit on your next invoice to show for it.

My apologies again for the error, Sally, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if I might be able to help with anything else. I’m here for you!

All the best,

Customer Service

You can feel the difference, right? The message is exactly the same in both emails—sorry about the error, I fixed it, let me know if I can do anything else—but one draws you in and makes you smile, while the other bores you to tears.

Let’s look at another example; this time, we’ll use a phone conversation. Tell me you haven’t had a few of these in your day:

  • Customer: Hi, this is Bob Smith and I’m calling to update my address.
  • Rep: I’d be happy to help. May I have your account number please?
    Customer: Sure, it’s 12345678.
  • Rep: Thank you. May I please have your new address?
    Customer: It’s 1234 Some Street.
  • Rep: Thank you. One moment.
    [Hold music]
  • Rep: OK sir, I’ve updated your account. Is there anything else I can help with today?

You’ll notice that the customer service rep was perfectly polite and didn’t do or say anything out of line, but boy was that tough to read! I’ll bet you’re thinking about some of your own very similar experiences right now, aren’t you?

When you reflect on that experience, does it make you feel particularly loyal to the company providing you that customer service? Probably not. But what if it looked more like this:

  • Customer: Hi, this is Bob Smith and I’m calling to update my address.
  • Rep: Hi Bob! I’d be delighted to help with that. I hope you’re loving your new place! May I start with your account number?
    Customer: I sure am, and it’s 12345678.
  • Rep: That’s great to hear, and thank you for the info. Now let’s get your address updated—where are your awesome new digs?
  • Customer: (chuckles) The awesome new digs are at 1234 Some Street.
  • Rep: Oh, that’s a great neighborhood! Congrats on the new place. I know moving can be a bit stressful, but rest assured that your new address is in our system and your account here is all set. Is there anything else I might be able to help with today?

Not only did the rep in the second example make the conversation more fun, he connected with the customer by using his name and tapping into his excitement about moving. This was an opportunity to forge a customer connection, and the rep nailed it!

Next time you’re tempted to send a boring old run-of-the-mill customer service email, or answer the phone in a no-nonsense tone, rethink it and look for opportunities to make a human connection. Every touchpoint—especially when it comes to your customers—is an opportunity to build a little trust and earn a little loyalty. You just might be surprised at the results!

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