The Power of Your Word in Customer Service

indexA long time customer of mine, more so a friend at this point, recommended that I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. With a ravenous thirst for personal development and improvement, I purchased it immediately.

As I’m sitting on the crowded subway train in the hustling bustling city, I feel instantly connected to this book as it begins to challenge my core beliefs.

Work life and personal life go hand in hand–things you do at work affect what you do outside of work and vice versa. We stress over and over again that it’s important to take care of yourself in order to take care of others.

The Four Agreements is a book based on ancient Toltec wisdom on finding personal freedom and erasing self-limiting beliefs to allow you to fully live your life. The four agreements discussed are:

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.
  • Always do your best.

Of course, as I’m going through each, I think back to how they relate to customer service. I plan on doing a post per week on each agreement and how it can all tie back to customer service development.

The Power of Your Word in Customer Service

Your word is the power that you have to create. ~Don Miguel Ruiz

Being impeccable with your word within a customer service aspect means to speak with integrity. Tell your customers the truth–be honest and sincere with your responses. They will respect you more for this and you will in turn respect yourself. Every human interaction is another opportunity to communicate so make it for the better with your words. Imagine a customer service team that talks with honesty, kindness and integrity–who wouldn’t want to do business with you?

Your mind and the minds of others are fertile fields. If you toss seeds of insincerity and negativity across them, that is what will grow. Is that the kind of crops you’d like to sow with your customers?

Your words are powerful to others, but also to yourself. If you’re filling your mind with negative self talk,  you’ll be growing a crop of more negativity which will only spill over into everything else you do. How can you be a leader to others if you’re constantly putting yourself down?

When a customer comes at you with negative talk toward you, you have to be strong and realize that they are not talking about you. They are projecting the negativity from within themselves on to you. The second agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally, will go into more detail on this.

Your Word (upper case) has to do with the power you have to create through every kind of expression you make. You create through multiple types of expression including emotions, attitude, actions, what you refrain from, and what you express your faith in.

Being impeccable with your word isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, it’s really challenging. The first step you can take today is that of awareness. It is said that, “To really master being impeccable will require that you heighten your awareness not just to the words you say, but also to the emotions you express, your attitude, your actions, and where you express the power of your belief. You will need to develop a discipline of mindfulness to be impeccable in these expressions through out the day.” (Shared from the Toltec Spirit website)

Take time today to really tune into your words–what are you saying to others? To yourself? How does talking this way make you feel? Jot down notes of these feelings to increase awareness and continue your journey toward being even more awesome.

[custom_author=jenny]

Jenny Dempsey is currently the the Social Media and Customer Experience Manager for NumberBarn.com. She has worked at tech startups since 2005. She's the co-founder and regular contributor over at CustomerServiceLife.com. She's a certified health coach, but not the kind that forces you to only eat cardboard and deprive yourself of ice cream. JennyDempseyWellness.com, the company she started, was designed to bring a new type of wellness into the workplace, one that gives you permission to look deeper into yourself, rather than just on the healthy snacks in the break room. She is the mother to a toothless rescue cat named Chompers. Avocados and veggie tacos are the way to her heart. She's also a Hanson fan for life.

8 comments

  • Good word Jenny! I love ancient wisdom that still rings true today. That sounds like a great read and I’m looking forward to hearing more. Seriously, how many customer service pros form a book club with a customer?

    • Thanks Jeremy.

      And, right?! It’s a pretty cool way to connect with customers on this level. So much wisdom to take in!

  • Great post, Jenny! I recently wrote a similar post called “You Can’t Fake Authentic Service”. In my opinion, you are either impeccable with your word or you’re not. It’s not a switch you can throw on when it’s customer service time, and then switch it off again when it’s time to go home for the day.

    Here’s a link to my post – I’m curious to know what you think:
    http://www.toistersolutions.com/blog/2014/2/10/you-cant-fake-authentic-customer-service

    • Thanks Jeff! I really enjoyed your post too. You bring up a very valid point here–you cannot fake good customer service. And, like you said, it isn’t a light switch! Actions often speak louder than words. People can talk your ear off all day but if they are not doing a darn thing, nothing will be resolved. Being impeccable with words comes from a place of honesty–starting on the inside and going out. Those phony bologna service folks probably are that way in every aspect of their lives, even toward themselves. Sad!

  • That’s a great book Jenny! Like you, I try to see the connection to customer service in everything and it comes back to two words, common sense. Common sense says, be impeccable with your word and do what you say you are going to do. In the last two weeks, I have had conversations with three different companies, two for business purposes and one for personal. I was told they would do something, send a proposal, call me back or send something to me via regular mail. Unfortunately, I was disappointed all three times. These are companies that I could do business with because I need their product or service. However, based on the fact that they didn’t do what they said they would, I won’t be doing business with these companies.

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