Are you sabotaging your franchise’s success? Choose your words carefully!

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Clear communication is essential to successfully running any franchise business. Whether your focus is b2b or b2c, the power of words is key to building and maintaining your client base. Franchise owners—and their employees—need to choose their words carefully when it comes to customer service and client relationships. Using the right words will help you succeed, but the wrong choice of words can sabotage customer confidence.

How do you and your employees talk to customers? Do you instill confidence or doubt? What you say matters. Some words and phrases that are often used can be more harmful than we realize. They distract the meaning from what we really intend to say. I call them “weak, wimpy words.”

Without realizing it, many folks use these weak, wimpy words and phrases and lessen the importance of their intended message. They’re not dirty or offensive words; however, using them could result in losing leverage and customer confidence.

Are you and your employees guilty of using weak, wimpy words and phrases? You might be surprised to find that some of these words and phrases are a regular choice in your daily vocabulary. But here’s some good news: you can correct this habit with a few easy fixes.

“THINK

How does the following phrase make you feel?: “I think you’ll like the information I have for you.” 

You ‘think’ they’ll like the information? Is there a doubt in your mind? There should not be. Every time you tell a client you ‘think’ it’ll work, or you ‘think’ it’s the right choice, you are crushing confidence. 

And when YOU THINK about it (LOL), the word “think” is usually not even necessary. Say the message without the word, “think” and the sentence becomes much stronger.

Statements such as: “You’ll really like the information I have for you” is a statement of fact, confidence and conviction! It tells a potential customer that you believe in what you have to offer. 

“JUST

To me, the word “just” is the biggest offender of all. Consider these phrases: “I’m just calling to see if you got the information I sent,” or, “I’m just following up on,” and worse, “Just a note to say thank you for the gift.”  The word “just” minimizes your message.

The sentence or phrase becomes stronger when the word “just” is removed: “I’m calling to make sure you received the information I sent you.” See the difference?

I have found that the under-30 crowd really likes to start off sentences with the word “just.” Teach your younger employees that the word “just” makes a sentence sound semi-important.

“LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.” 

The fact that you or your employees are willing to answer a question should be a given. People will ask what they don’t know and they typically know they can ask. Want to strengthen that one? Make it a statement. “Mrs. Friedman, most of the folks I’ve sent that particular brochure to have questions. Let me go over it with you to be sure we’re on the same track. You have my cell number, of course, for more information.”

“I’LL TRY” 

The phrase “I’ll try,” doesn’t belong in business. Delivering, not just trying, is what customers want. Drop the “try” now and step into action! Say something definitive like “Consider it done,” or “I will get you an answer by tomorrow.”

“MAYBE”

A phrase like “Maybe this will work” puts doubt in the recipient’s mind. Instead, you’ll be better off with: “This should do the job.”

YOU GOT THIS

Using weak, wimpy words and phrases can minimize your intention and sabotage customer confidence. Paying attention to what you and your team says is one of the easiest ways to improve your franchise business.     

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Nancy Friedman is Founder and Chairman of the The Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training. A former franchisor, she is expert on customer service and is a frequent keynote speaker talking about customer services best practices. Her real-world, hands-on tips, ideas, skills, and techniques help both franchisors and franchisees take their businesses to the next level.

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