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  • Personal Brands – The Authenticity of the Script

    24153542099_ecb84b5359A common phrase used in customer service and satire alike, “my pleasure” can mean many things based on simple intonations and inflections further expanded upon by vocal timber, energy and body language. An entire novel can be written based on how the phrase is said. Because a lot of businesses feel these two words are important enough to include in their script of what to say to customers, it can begin to ring hollow. Just because it works for the competition down the street doesn’t mean it matches your brand at all thereby making it appear forced and insincere.

    However, you can use it. The trick is finding your own message within “my pleasure”, a message that matches your brand’s tone. For instance, if you are a witty coffee shop that jokes with customers and doesn’t take sass from anyone, the “my pleasure” can be used only at the customers that are nice to the employees. While this isn’t the nicest option, it nevertheless fits your business and its goals.

    It’s in the Everything

    How you say “my pleasure” is of the utmost importance if you’re looking to make it personalized for your employees. Allowing for “I’m happy to help” or “you got it” still convey the same sense of “you’re welcome” without using the exact words. Everyone is different and what sounds great coming from one person may sound like an insult coming from another. Better to have them say what fits their personal language than to inadvertently insult a customer. The important thing is that they always use it in certain situations, not that they always use “my pleasure” exactly how it’s written.

    Going a bit further, body language must also be considered. A slumped over, frowning worker clearly does not mean what they say any more than an upset employee with flared nostrils and flushed face. If you get down to it, a lot of good customer service workers are great liars, especially the ones that can look a frustrating customer in the eye and tell them “my pleasure” in a way that seems absolutely sincere. They have mastered how to control their body language and tone so that no matter what they’re feeling on the inside, only what they want to share is ever expressed.

    That being said, not all are capable of pulling off such a daring feat of physical and vocal control. In that case, the person can have an alternate phrase, instead. For the good times, “my pleasure” no doubt comes out entirely sincere. For the bad times, allow them to switch to a phrase they feel comfortable with that still acts as a sincere sounding “you’re welcome”. Much in the same way “bless your heart” is used to mask everything, from surprise to severe disapproval, code sayings allow the sincerity to flow through without making the person saying it feel powerless and further agitated.

    Do It You

    The best companies to look for inspiration from don’t use a stringent script so much as a certain string of keywords and maybe one other sentence that really drives home their brand’s experience. For the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, employees are given keywords and told to wish everyone a “grand” day or to have a “grand” experience. At Disney, the main word is “magical” or some derivative. These two brands and many just like them understand that it’s not about repeating what others do but, rather, taking the purpose of the practice and building on it to make it better. With the keyword example, they are ensuring that their customers’ minds are continually reminded of the brand thereby associating all of their memories and experiences with that brand.

    For your brand, what does that mean? What words describe your company’s heart? What kind of experience are you trying to provide for each person that does business with you? Those are the questions you need to ask to find the road that will lead to your main buzzword and the few other keywords that can be added in as a way to change up the vocabulary. This is how you create a personal language for the company. It’s a special collection of words that is not used anywhere else, further setting you apart from the competition.

    Just remember to be somewhat cautious of these words. It’s winning when your team members can deliver on the corporate brand promise powerfully and authentically through their personal brand.

    Maria Elena Duron is a Marketing Coach and Strategist with Know, Like, + Ignite and @mariaduron on Twitter. Would you like practical tips to create and curate content and experiences worthy of being passed person-to-person? -Get exclusive access.

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