Magazine article Marketing

Don't Dumb Down on Service

Magazine article Marketing

Don't Dumb Down on Service

Article excerpt

Firms should kill off internal business jargon and introduce intelligent communication with staff, allowing them to offer a down-to-earth customer service, argues Trevor Morris

We all know that consumers are demanding individuals and have to be treated accordingly.

At conference after conference, and in endless articles, marketing directors and managing directors tell us that the marketing-literate consumer is demanding ever more personalised and tailored products and services.

But despite the obvious fact that staff are consumers too, many businesses continue to ignore their staff completely or treat them as robots in a production line, there simply to churn our whatever it is that the bosses have decided the consumer wants.

We've all experienced it. The stilted telesales script. The modern 'jobs-worth' unable to make any decision without reference to the manual. The rigid adherence to the standard sales patter.

Don't senior management see their staff sniggering behind their hands when they tell them they want their brand to be seen as "a friend of the consumer"? Staff know it's nonsense.

A friend is someone who laughs at your jokes, lends you money and doesn't charge you interest, and visits you in hospital when you've got unpleasant diseases. A friend is not a packet of cereal, or a financial services company ...unless you're very sad.

Partnership jargon

It's all part of the same nonsense that has managers trying to convince their staff that their brand is, for example, "customer-centric, and committed to partnership integration".

First, it's almost always not true. It might be what you're aiming for, but seldom where you are. And second, nobody talks like that anyway. Have you ever heard anyone in the pub talk about "partnership integration"?

Surely, the basic rule about your brand values should be that if you can't express them in the language that your staff would use in the canteen, then don't use it in the training room or in internal communications. …

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