Speaking customer service reps’ language yields stellar results

You’ve seen plenty of articles on how customer service providers should adapt to their customers to provide better service. This is sage advice — which I’ve given many times over the decades.

But how about reversing the concept for when you’re the customer? What can you do to increase the likelihood you’ll instill the “extra mile” behavior when you are being served? I’ve been experimenting with this and so far am thrilled at the results.

For example, I was recently talking to an American Airline rep in India. He asked for my name. When I said “Morgan” he said, “Is that with a ‘g’ or a ‘j’?” I said, “G, like Ganesh.” He laughed. He was shocked that an American would even know about Lord Ganesh. It was very fun. He couldn’t get over it. He gave me excellent service. Would he have done same without my reference to a Hindu god? Probably. But I clearly brightened his day with the reference.

Later, I called United Airlines. The rep had a decidedly Japanese accent. When she gave me the information I requested, I said, “Arigato.” She laughed and said, “Doumo.”

These reps were giving me good service. But by using a reference I thought they’d relate to, it brightened their day just a tad. I don’t know if they gave me better service because of my reaching out, but I believe they had a little better day because of it.

Customer service, especially in a call center, can be grueling. Reps often field calls from irritated, annoying, distracted or upset callers. So if we can make their day a little better, I think we should. It doesn’t usually take much.


For more thoughts on customer service, get Rebecca’s latest book, Remarkable Customer Service … and Disservice: Case Studies and Discussions to Increase Your Customers’ Delight.