Shep Hyken's Customer Service Blog

Upgrade Your Words to Improve Your Customer Service Experience

Warning: The words you use to communicate with your customer can destroy the customer service experience.

On a recent business trip to San Diego, I was checking into a hotel.  The girl working the front desk seemed very nice.  She had to inform me that my room was not ready.  She pleasantly offered to put me into a different room, however the words she used ruined the customer service experience.

She said, “I’m sorry the room we pre-assigned you is not ready, but we could downgrade you to a different room and get you in right away.”

The word “downgrade” grabbed my attention, so I asked her what “downgrade” meant.  Apparently, they had me in a corner room with a king size bed.  Those rooms are just a bit bigger (not much) than the other rooms.  She was downgrading me to a “non-corner” room with a king-size bed.

All of the rooms in this hotel are very nice.  What she could have said was, “I’m sorry the room we pre-assigned you is not ready.  It was a corner room with a king size bed.  You can wait until it is ready, or we can put you into another room with a king-size bed.  It’s also a very nice room.”

By the way, I took the “downgraded” room, and it was perfectly fine.

What words are you using words that could destroy the customer service experience?

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert,  professional  speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314) 692-2200 or For information on The  Customer  Focus™customer service training programs go to Follow on Twitter: @Hyken
(Copyright ©MMXII, Shep Hyken)


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