Of all the places I’ve worked, the most (and best) service training came from the restaurant industry. Proper presentation is the key to great wine sales. Customer courtesy often excuses other shortcomings. While several factors affect guest interactions, the most important is what “language” you speak.
Maybe you prefer a laid-back waiter or waitress with inconspicuous tip-boosting personal details at the ready (“Oh, I have six kids about your son’s age! Aren’t they adorable?”). While there’s nothing wrong with forming great hman connections, I have found that the vast majority of patrons preferred a server who was polished and ready, always on top of the details of their dining experience. Nothing conveyed these qualities to my guests better than paying attention to the words and phrases I used.
Chic-fil-A calls it service language; they made the phrase “It’s my pleasure” famous (and synonymous) with great, friendly service. Even though I haven’t worked for Chic-fil-A in years, the way they speak and the philosophy behind their service influences my interactions every day.
Elsewhere, the practice is called value language. It’s likely that your business invests loads of money into training, development, and marketing to infuse its products or services with value. But how much time is spent perfecting the way your product or service is presented?
- Considers the Customer/Guest/Client’s Needs
In your business, do your clients need peace of mind, reassurance, information, or all of the above? Knowing what to say and when to say it means knowing your client’s needs. Turn a purchasing decision into an experience with deeper meaning by uncovering (and meeting) unspoken needs.
- Builds Value in Your Brand
Sometimes, the best way to talk about your competitors is not at all. People who seem eager to trash-talk the competition are often viewed as being unaware of or unable to communicate the value of their own services. Put yourself above the competition by establishing your brand’s leadership in the industry– without slinging mud.
- Listens and Adapts
Scripts are for on-hold recordings. Value language listens for opportunities to build the value of your brand while giving clear answers to a client’s questions or concerns. While it is great to craft phrases that express value, these cannot be perceived as rigid scripts devoid of meaning.
- Speaks to the Experience
Rather than speaking only to a product or service, be thorough in your description of an experience that will resonate. This is applicable whether you are offering a funeral service (“We offer personalized service options that help families celebrate the life of a loved one and heal through healthy grieving.”) or a living room set (“Our furniture experts can help you select just the right piece to bring your family and friends together in a beautiful, comfortable space.”)
- Delivers a Promise
All the value language in the world can’t make up for a promise undelivered. Invest in training yourself and your staff to produce experiences that resonate. Make sure you all own your expertise and are prepared to deliver on the promises of your value language.
Value language is crucial to establishing your brand’s expertise and presenting a professional team best suited to meet the needs of your constituency. The right words and phrases at the right time communicate volumes about your team’s care for its customers, guests, and clients.
In the comments: Have you heard some great service or value language? Ever feel like it’s canned or disingenuous? How can we walk the line for our clients?