We all do it; respond to our servers with a lack-luster, no-eye contact, mumbled, “Thanks” but an interesting thing happened during my sister’s recent visit to Chick-fil-A.

She offered her necessary gratitude, but the response was anything but obligatory. With emotion, eye-contact, and sincerity the Chick-fil-A cashier said, “My pleasure.”

In the back seat her ten-year-old son scrunched up his face and with a hint of horror asked, “Did she just say ‘whatever’?” Immediately my sister replied, “Of course not,” but under her breath, she kept chanting “My pleasure…whatever…my pleasure…whatever”.

I could not help but laugh, as she was telling the story, because I tried the chant and those phrases do sound remarkably similar. Don’t believe me – try it!

My sister’s encounter highlights the power of word choice in fostering excellent customer experience.

Stop saying this phrase immediately!

According to CBS columnist Michael Hess, the one phrase that is sure to ruin a customer experience is “Let me see, what I can do.”

I know you’ve heard that phrase at least once, right – and didn’t your confidence in their ability (or desire) to help you decrease just a little?

The truth is noncommittal, evasive, and unconvincing phrases are the equivalent of saying, “Wait right here, and I hope you and your problem are gone when I get back!”


There is a better way.

Here are 3 phrases your guests would much rather hear:

1. How can I help?

2. I can solve that problem or find someone who can.

3. I don’t know the answer to your question but let me go find it.

These action oriented phrases, communicate a commitment and a guarantee.

Work these words into every conversation.

Words have been proven to enhance customer experience and according to Hess, here are 6 key words that should make it into every customer interaction:

1. Delighted

2. Absolutely

3. Pleasure

4. Happy

5. Sorry

6. Yes

These 6 simple words cement the impression that your guests are valuable, and their satisfaction is your priority. And produces a customer experience that leads to Repeat Customer Revenueâ„¢.

Service with an attitude…the right attitude!

Wait, before you get too comfortable – it’s not enough to train employees to use the right words. The right words must also be conveyed honestly; with empathy and a warm smile.

Parroting, “My pleasure”, while flashing a “Whatever” attitude… won’t work!

But, when any of these 6 key words are said with a smile, the effect is dynamic. Smiling is not only contagious, but a powerful ally in delivering an amazing customer experience. And… since smiling is contagious, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

One genuine smile triggers neural messaging that reduces stress, and releases the anti-depressant/ mood lifter serotonin. Seriously, Psychology Today confirms that when a person smiles they’re “viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere.”

Employers smile at employees. Employees smile at guests. Guests are now wearing that one shape on their face, which is proven to cause a favorable chemical reaction in their brain… as they simultaneously form opinions about their experience with your company.

And guess what – smiling is free! It doesn’t cost you anything to do, and you profit 100% every time! Simply put… your business can’t afford to not say it with a smile!

Originally published by Linette Montae on LinkedIn May 11, 2019