What Words are
Music to the
by Craig Harrison
Opening the Doors to Success
Sometimes it's the pleasant words we hear as doors are opening that make a difference to
customers. For Nancy Graham of Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, who comes to San Francisco four times a year, it's
the words "Welcome Back to Campton Place, Mrs. Graham, we've missed you!" that make her feel special. Then the
hotel doorman inquires about her family as he opens the door to another wonderful stay at this celebrated Union
Square hotel in San Francisco.
Missing in Inaction
Recently I dined at one of San Francisco's finest french restaurants. My companion and I had been
looking forward to this night for weeks. Our night arrived, as did we, dressed in our finest attire. We drove up,
I gave the valet my car keys and we entered the restaurant. And then - nothing. Nobody to greet us. Nobody to
seat us. We were left alone at the front door. Diners at many tables glanced our way, and returned to the comfort
of their meals and mates. As guests, we were made to feel awkward, out of place and inconsequential. Finally, a
passing waiter, with plates akimbo, smiled and promised that someone would be right there to greet us.
Establishments know that they must manage the entire experience of their patrons, from the initial phone call to
the follow up after an interaction or event. Sometimes a few well chosen words of ours can assuage customers'
feelings, inducing comfort and care on the part of their clientele. Develop key phrases to help your customers
feel comfortable about their relationship with you.
Bad Form - Customer or Teller?
I was at a bank recently when a teller abruptly pointed out "you forgot to fill out your deposit
slip correctly." I suddenly felt as though I were back in grade school. Her words stung like a bee. Her remark
felt so judgmental. If only she'd said "let me help you complete this" or even "don't forget to fill in today's
date." She was so busy judging me she forgot to partner with me for a successful transaction. In most service
situations our customers are looking for help, assistance and perhaps some guidance. It wouldn't have been hard
for this teller to achieve the same result, a properly filled in transaction slip, without alienating her customer.
"We can fix it."
This tells your customers that you are solution oriented and partnering with them for success.
"We're sorry for your inconvenience."
These magic words show awareness and concern for your customers.
"Consider it done!"
Tells customers you are there for them, protecting their interests and serving their needs.
"We're delighted to serve you."
Shows your organization values their patronage.
"Thank you for choosing us. It's our pleasure to serve you."
Shows you are indebted to your customers.
"Please let us know what else we can do to make your experience a pleasurable one."
This phrase shows your availability and accountability to your clients. By being receptive you show a confidence in serving others and managing your client relationships effectively.
"Welcome back. We've missed serving you."
We cherish long term relationships and relish your repeat business.
These aren't words like the phrase Robert Redford used in the movie The Hot Rock, when his
utterance of "Afghanistan Banana-Stand" put bank personnel into a trance. What gives your words magical powers
are the thoughts and care behind them. These words engender trust. These phrases build allegiance and strengthen
commitment. When you're prepared to walk your talk your customers will magically reappear again and again.
Treasure your customer exchanges and you and your customers can share the reward of repeat business.
<� back to articles