What we say and what our customers hear can have two totally different meanings. Be aware that many phrases that are used daily might need to be considered as to whether or not what's being said is leaving the best impression. Here is an example—the customer is paying for their purchase and says to the person handling the check out, "thank you." Sadly, 9 times out of 10 the person checking them out will say, "you're welcome" and leave it at that. Isn't this backwards? The customer is thanking the seller?! This is such a pivotal moment in leaving the best, last impression. Although, "you're welcome", is a nice phrase, if the customer does not receive a sincere, "thank you", the "you're welcome" feels like and sounds like, "NEXT."
When considering how all team members represent your business by what they say and how they say it, these statements below offer some reflection on what not to say.
Think about the last three times you became upset about something in your personal life. It's almost a certainty that at least one of those situations was caused by the fact that your limits were crossed. You probably didn't articulate those limits in advance. For example, your neighbor comes over unannounced to chat. You have only a few minutes to spare, but you fail to tell your visitor. Out of kindness, you listen while your blood pressure rises as the neighbor talks for an hour.
-Michael C. Donaldson, Negotiating for Dummies
In the beginning, I thought inviting people to lunch was a good idea. Then at one of the lunches, I found out that an individual had worked the overnight shift, changed out of uniform, and caught a couple of hours of sleep prior to joining me for lunch. This person didn't have enough time to go home and come back for our lunch, and didn't want to miss the opportunity to accept a lunch invitation from the CEO. From that day forward, I knew that I had to have meals with staff members at rotating hours to fit into their schedules, not into mine. Even to listen, you have to make yourself available to the logistic needs of others.
-Dr. David Feinberg, former CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, quoted in Prescription for Excellence