Saturday, April 16, 2011

Language Engineering

Every. Word. Counts.

Language underlies all other components in creating powerful guest services experiences. Yeah, words are that important.

  • Your efforts to have everything "just so" won't be experienced as perfect unless you also use the right language in engaging your guests
  • Even the most well-intentioned and well-trained team members can alienate guests if they use the wrong language
  • When things don't go like they were planned, the right words can be your best ally
If you haven't given much thought to choosing and using your church's language - what your staff, volunteers, signage, emails, texts, tweets, voice mails, and website should say (and never say) to your guests, don't you think it's time?
  • Establish a Consistent Style of Speech - identify and implement an appropriate style of speaking throughout your organization
  • Create a Lexicon of Preferred Language and Phrasing - study the language that works best with your guests, and identify harmful phrases that should be avoided
  • Choose Language to Put Guests at Ease, Not Confuse Them - make it your mission to avoid and condescending or coercive language
  • Concentrate your Language Efforts on the Key Guest Moments - focus your language efforts on moments that are known to remain vivid in memory: hellos (make yours unusually warm and personal) and good-byes (make them wonderful)
  • Sometimes No Words are Best - align your team to the value of listening
  • Words Have Their Limits - remember that verbal and physical cues speak louder than words
  • Show, Don't Tell (and Don't Ever Just Point) - don't give guests verbal directions; physically lead them where they need to go
  • Phone and Web Language and Communication Pointers - go out of your way to be as human, friendly, and personal as you can
Remember that your guests are making their first impressions in the every day, day-to-day conversations with your Guest Services Team - before they are exposed to the highly scripted worship service music and sermon.

They are the first impressions, and those are the impressions they tell others about.

It bears repeating:

Every. Word. Counts.

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