Proper Customer Language
Alright, proper language. We've talked about communication. We've talked about scripting, but really, language is the use of words that are going to reflect your business to these strangers that we call customers. So, you need to make sure that we're concise in our language and we keep open ears about what language we are using to express our brand, and what language our team is using to express the brand. Let's see. I think it's important to create the "language of service" for your business. Now, this is something I literally write for my clients, the "language of service," and it's after talking to them to find out what are they doing, how are they expressing their brand, and we'll walk through this in just a moment. So, what are the words that you want to utilize, and what are the words you want to avoid? So, similarly, at that fine-dining restaurant, we did not want to use "enjoy," right? We want to avoid that word. So what do we need to focus on instead? Well, we need to focus on...
this moment of explaining the food, and then departing, and that's actually okay. So we had to learn a new habit. And for all of us, we had to learn a new habit there. Some words you might want to avoid, because they might invoke another brand, right? We have to be careful with that. There's certain words that are, you know, words or phrases that we think of with other brands. If we say, "Just do it," what do we think of? Nike, right? So we have to be careful of phrases like that, that we don't invoke somebody else. So, yeah, we can say it casually, but if someone says it again and again, you might think, well, "Where are we?" So, make sure that the words you use are in alignment with your business. Now, I was working with a client, and they came up to me, and of all the things they could've asked, they said, "Can you make them stop saying 'no problem?'" And I was like, well, okay. Sure, I did not expect that to be the number one thing on their list, but they said, "Please, "make them stop saying 'no problem.'" And I've heard this again, and again, and again. Customers hate hearing "no problem" as a response, right? So, I was like, well, wait a second. I use "no problem," I use "no problem" all the time. "No problem." It feels casual, it feels friendly, it feels like "ready to go." But "problem" is a problem. We don't want to use the word "problem" in our customer service interactions. So, I came up with a list. Instead of "no problem," let's use "of course." So they're throwing me the ball of, "Can you do this for me?" And instead of saying "no problem," I say "of course." Another one would be "right away." Nothing says ease or quick like "right away." "Certainly." A little more of a formal word, but, "certainly." "My pleasure," a little more formality here. But still, it gets the point across, "I can do that, "of course, it is no problem, it is, in fact, my pleasure." And, this is what is usually meant, when someone says, "Hey, could you do this to me or for me?" You mean, "you're welcome." "Oh, thanks so much," "no problem," no. "Thanks so much," "you're welcome." "It's my pleasure, certainly, right away, of course." So these are some of the things that you might want to identify, some of the phrases or words that you find you or your staff using, that we might need to come up with better examples for. And again, I hear owners and operators lament, "No one has common sense anymore, no one has common sense." And I'm like, "Well, did you teach them common sense?" "I don't have to teach them common sense, it's common." Well, no, actually, you do. Common sense isn't common until you've created it in a common way. So you always have to teach common sense, and that means teaching language, teaching some of those points. Are there any other pet peeve phrases that people use that you've encountered in restaurants, businesses, anything like that?
"Have a good one."
"Have a good one," why is that a pet peeve for you?
Just because it's so trite.
It doesn't really mean anything, "a good" what?
Have a good what, yeah. So what would be a good response or a good alternative for "have a good one?"
"See ya next time." (laughs)
"See ya next time?" Okay. But what would be a little more specific to that, "good one?" If that feels like the cheap version.
I'd say, "Enjoy your evening," or...
Alright, so back to almost the full sentence.
Something less trite.
That's right, so "enjoy your evening," or "it was nice seeing you," or, "I can't wait to see you again."
"See you next time."
"See you next time," right, exactly. I like that, that's a great example, good. Another one? Were you thinking of one? No, that's okay. Yeah, so it's these little things we all experience, and where we feel them, but I think a lot of times, it's about the repetition, so what's that word that we repeat and repeat and repeat, and we're like, "Ugh." Come up with alternatives, go to the dictionary, go to the thesaurus, and see what makes sense. So, they're all options, right there. Think about words that you want to equate with your brand. Okay, so similar to the "just do it" Nike thing. What are some words that you want to make emblematic of the service that you give, of the brand that you give, of your brand promise? There could be some cool verbs that you could use, and they're, again, a great differentiator for you. So, for instance, back to that "hello" word. It could be "hello," it could be "welcome," it could be "howdy," it could be, "Get on in here," right? It could be a different thing. But think about those things that could be emblematic of your service, and the way you want people to feel. That "Get on in here," I mean, nothing says, "Look, come here," like, "Gimme a hug," something like that, it's friendly and it's very inviting. So, there are certain words that you could use that come through during your service as well. So, the opposite of "enjoy" might be, "I hope you like your food," or "Enjoy your time," you know, "with this product or experience." It doesn't have to be in person, as well, it could also be in your written expression. It could be on your website, it could be in emails, or any sort of updates that you might send, while people are waiting, just throwing that out there. But think about the words that you could use internally. Thinks that are going to identify you, and your business. And then, train your team. So, these are the choices, I want you to think about these things when you're with a client, in person, on the phone, or in written communications. So these are some of the words that we want to highlight, these are some of the things that we want to use to show off our service, and show off the way we do things here, and make sure that you train people on those choices. Those options there. So that means, listening in, again, it means reading emails, and not going through their emails. It means having them BCC you, so you can read things, and give comments and give feedback. And really, it's about making sure that your business is represented the best way possible. Everyone who works for you is a brand ambassador. So if they feel comfortable and confident representing, if they have words and phrases at their disposal to use, they're going to feel very confident representing you. If they're not so sure, it's going to be hit or miss, hit or miss, hit or miss. And if you're not sure what they're doing, you're going to be in the dark. So make sure that you interact, make sure you find out where they're pain points are. Another thing, back up to that "tripe," right? I would've known that my colleague spoke about the "tripe," except we had to tell each other how we did the specials, in public, in front of one another. And let me tell you, waiters hate doing that, right? "I'll be fine when I'm at the table," blah blah blah. But the fact is, you've gotta try the stuff out. We have millions of thoughts in our head, every single day. But until you distill those thoughts into spoken word, you don't really have a chance to get out that phrase, as it is. So, speaking aloud is a really helpful thing, and the only way to speak aloud and practice it is to do it out loud. You can't practice speaking in your head. It doesn't work that way. You gotta practice speaking out loud. So, have your team train on some of these things, and do exercises in person, out loud, so they can get in the habit, or build a habit of trying out some of these new phrases or language. And when they get into that corner of "no problem," or whatever those things are, coax them back out, and ask them to try to find another way. Yes.
I have a really bad habit of addressing a group of people as "guys."
And it's really hard for me to break the habit, and I feel every time I say it, I get kinda like, "Oh, that's two ladies I'm talking to over the phone," so I'm curious if you have any ideas about that.
That's interesting, because I feel like that's a pet peeve that I hear about more and more and more, and I hear it again and again and again, and "guys" has become ubiquitous. So whether it's for a group of men, or whether it's a group of men and women, or a group of women, or even, like, hey, somebody called me "guys" the other day, and I was by myself, and I'm a chick. (men laughing) It's become too easy to say, it's slippery, it just comes right out. So, I used to be on a running team, and the coach always said, "Hey gang," and I thought it was very, sorta like, 1920s, Little Rascals, like, "Hey gang." But at the same time, it was like, I bet he's doing that so he's not saying "guys." So "gang," a little old fashioned, maybe, but it does work. But I think try leaving it out. Try leaving it out, "Hello." You don't have to say "guys," "gals," "everyone," "you people," right? Because if you think about it, if you threw in "you people," for all the time you said "guys," it would feel really goofy, right? So just stay comfortable with "hello," or "good afternoon," or "thanks for joining me," or "it's great seeing you," or "okay." "We're ready to start." So, I think, to me, the "guys" thing is a little bit of a crutch. Try to remove it, and see what that does. Live confidently with the actual greeting.
That's a good point, I use the term "folks," instead of "guys." But what you're saying now makes perfect sense, just, you don't even need that.
That's right, that's right. Yeah, I've tried to come up with alternatives, and the only thing I can think of is, leave it out. Because otherwise, yeah, "folks" is a certain thing, or "gang," it's a group of people. "You people" comes across a little bit like that, right? "Good evening, everyone." Right, it doesn't even need to be there. It's just a little filler. So, say goodbye to "guys," yeah. Good question, I love that you brought that up. "Coffee is a language in itself." Thank you, Jackie Chan. I appreciate that. No, but it's true. Sometimes, we need a little extra something, to get out there, right? You will have team members that need a little extra help. You will have team members that need a little help in the form of a cup of coffee, to get their energy up, but you might have people in your team who just need a little help from you. "I hear you're saying guys a lot, and we want to "include everybody in our audience," right? "So why don't you try this?" "I hear that you get a little, "you start to trip on your words "a little bit sometimes, and I think maybe "you just need to slow down," right? Listen to people, and offer them a little bit of help and support, and that can go a long way with helping your team represent you properly.