Would You Like to Improve the Customer Experience?

Customer experience management comes down to positively enhancing the feelings that the customer has when they do business with us. The simple way we phrase things can make a big impact on the feeling that the customer has during our interactions.

I’d like to share with you a brief two minute video I made explaining the nuance of how changing just a few simple words we use everyday can increase customer satisfaction and the positive tone of the message.

Please leave your feedback below.  I’d like to hear your comments.

Please share your comments and feedback below.

Helping you focus on your customers-


7 Replies to “Would You Like to Improve the Customer Experience?”

  1. Sarah – love CFA! I wrote about that a couple of weeks ago. The point is, to me, is to insure that the words are delivered with sincerity rather than a robotic response.

    Chris – anticipation of needs is where I was heading a well. Thanks for stating it in plain English. Ritz Carlton used to train it’s employees to use “my pleasure” but the have actually backe off of that in favor of training customer excellence values and empowering employees to express those values in a manner that works for them, that is genuine.

    John Goodman from TARP Group calls needs anticipation ‘psychic pizza’ in his book Strategic Customer Service. Good read.

    Barry Dalton says:
  2. The language we use in service environments is a critical cue to the what the customer can expect, and as service professionals, our first instinct (and usually the right one) is to make the language as service friendly as possible.

    But we also have to remember that because language is part of the physical environment, it has to be brand-appropriate, and fit the environment.

    In a vast majority of cases, “Would you like?” is a completely appropriate substitution for “Do you want?”, and I like the Chik-fil-A replacement of “no problem” with, “My pleasure”, but consider two dramatically different service experiences:

    If you’re at a Ritz-Carlton, and the staff continually asks, “would you like”, it is courteous, sure. But the guest might be thinking, “What ‘I would like’ is for you to remember my preferences and anticipate my needs rather than asking me what you should already know.” – A completely legitimate reaction, given what the Ritz-Carlton brand stands for.

    Similarly, think of how a question such as, “would you like a biscuit with that?” while courteous, would seem oddly inappropriate and diminish the service experience if delivered by “The Soup Nazi”.

    As a default setting, the sort of language you suggest is a great start for a business just focussed on the basics. But as a component of the physical environment providing cues as to what the customer should expect from an interaction, in is more important that the language is appropriate for the service environment you’re looking to create.

  3. It’s good to see that the message came across and that there does seem to be an appreciation for the nuance of how phrasing can impact our communication message.

    Really, good customer service really does come down to the finer points of distinction in all areas. That is what sets the businesses that people are unexplainably loyal to apart from those that are not memorable.

  4. Excellent point. As I mentioned in my tweet, “would you like” vs. “do you want” is proper French. Subtle, but important.

    Similarly, I train my kids to say “How may I help you?” rather than “What can I do?”.

    Language has a subconscious impact on the listener, and the speaker, too.

    Ken says:
  5. Hi Kristina,

    I really like this video. It is a great suggestion and I think that not enough businesses pay attention to the nuances of language. Another great example is from Chik-fil-A, which I’ve come to notice has their employees respond with “My pleasure.” It may seem a bit silly but I think it really enhances the customer experience. Seriously, who drives away from a fast food drive-thru experience thinking “Wow! That was some great customer service!” But at Chick-fil-A I do, because of the language they use.

    An example from my company: E Source provides unbiased research and advisory services primarily for utilities, but also other key players in the energy industry. Our service is subscription-based so we strive to always refer to our customers as “members” instead of customers. We feel this promotes more of a sense of community, of an E Source family, and that the word shows that we’re really here to help them solve their problems, as opposed to sell to them.

  6. I don’t want my customer experience to be one of confusion. I agree with Barry. As a customer, it is nice not to have too many options. It gets confusing, especially if it is an area that we are not familiar with. I like his suggestion of telling me what they can do, then asking if I would like another suggestion. I’ll try the “like” -vs- “want” the next time I talk to someone. Thanks!

    Sophia says:
  7. Kristina,

    Two things to commend you on for this post. First, not enough of us focus on the nuances of language delivery and how subtle changes can impact the way in which a message is received. Often times, its even not that nuanced.

    Second, as a post, great choice matching the topic with the approriate media. Your same articulate message would not have had the same impact for my in a written post. Well done.

    Let me see if I can add another angle that works for me as a customer. And, this was the first reaction I had to the message as I was listening. I like the choice of “like ‘ vs “want’. Spot on. That works for me. However, as you were going along, I thought to myself “she’s asking me too many questions”. Especially in a purchasing interaction, I prefer the other person to tell me what they can do for me, then ask for my agreement/acceptance.


    “I can have that shipped to you overnight via FedEx. Or would you like/prefer UPS Ground?”

    “I can get you into the doctor as early as today at 2pm. Or would you like tomorrow between 2-4pm?”

    “I see you usually prefer a window seat. I can get you a window in row 23. Or would you prefer an aisle closer to the front, in row 7?”

    To me, that shows that the company representative is thinking about my request and proactively trying to satisfy it/solve my problem, etc. Rather than just giving me a bunch of choices that takes the burdon off of them. I can always say, “no, what else do you have”.

    For me, it works. I guess because proactive assertive problem solving is a quality I view very positively, I respect that in peopel with whom I interact/transact.

    Hope that’s clear. Interested to see if others have a similar point of view (or can set me straight)


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