How can you create the desired customer experience for your customers?

In this podcast episode, George Torok interviews Jeff Mowatt, a customer experience strategist and business speaker. They discuss the importance of word choice, listening, and building trust in customer service interactions. Jeff emphasizes the need to choose words carefully to enhance trust and differentiate service. 

They also explore the impact of social media on trust-building and effective communication. Jeff provides examples and tips on how to handle customer complaints, exceed expectations, and use language effectively. They conclude by highlighting the power of the phrase "sounds like" in connecting with others and encourage listeners to implement these strategies.


Had a fascinating chat with Jeff Mowatt, a master of customer experience strategy. He reminded us that the key to excellent service isn't always about being the customer's friend - it's about listening, understanding, and becoming their trusted advisor. An important role shift, don't you think?

Here's an interesting tidbit from my recent podcast episode with Jeff Mowatt - it's not always about the quantity of likes or followers on your social media. Jeff emphasized the need to convey value and create awareness, focusing on what's truly significant to your customers. Food for thought!

Language is powerful! From my conversation with Jeff Mowatt, I learned how a simple switch from saying "helped" to "helpful" can position oneself as a trusted advisor. And how about a proactive approach to bad news? Say "you'll have it within 24 hours" instead of "I won't be able to do it until tomorrow." It's all about instilling trust.

Exceeding expectations is a game-changer in customer service. From Jeff Mowatt's perspective, a simple rephrase like "I'll do my best to get it to you this afternoon" instead of "we'll get it to you within 24 hours" can make a big difference. It's not just about meeting expectations, but surpassing them.

Ever thought that problems in customer service could be opportunities? I learned from Jeff Mowatt that how you handle a hiccup can significantly influence a client's trust. So next time there's a setback, remember - it's not just a problem, it's an opportunity to shine.


Speaker 1 (00:00:00) - Friends compare and overshare. Advisors ask and stay on task. 

Welcome to your intended message, The perfect place for leaders and promising professionals who want to convey the intended message for greater success. Every week we interview experts who address the challenges and best practices to deliver your message effectively. That might be 1 to 1, one to few, or one to many. And perhaps the most important conversation, one to self. I'm your host, George Turok. My guest today is Jeff Mowatt. 

Here's three facts I believe you should know about, Jeff. One, he is a customer experience strategist. Two. He is a Hall of Fame business speaker, and he earned that designation from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. And third, we know that he tells the truth because he admits that he is a mediocre golfer at best, George, at best. Actually, that's a lie. Lousy is probably true. Mediocre is too big of a description. Stretching it. Yeah. Jeff Mowat. Welcome to your intended message.

Speaker 1 (00:01:35) - It is a pleasure, George. Gosh, I've known you for, oh, probably over 20 years in the business world and as you as a thought leader out there. So when you contacted me about being on your podcast, I was thrilled. Didn't hesitate. Happy to, to to work with you. You've got a really strong reputation out there, so yeah, happy to work with you. 

Thank you, Jeff. I'm delighted to work with you as well. And when it comes to customer service, the customer service experience, you're the one that comes to mind, number one. And in fact, I can't think of anyone else who comes to mind. You label yourself as a customer experience strategist. What's going on in the customer experience that you help your clients with? Well, I guess Georgia were turned down to just sort of a few words, if we would be, that we help to have people narrow down their words and isolate the words to enhance trust. And differentiate their service to make price less relevant.

Speaker 1 (00:02:46) - That's that's kind of a mouthful, but the whole idea is just choosing a few words differently so that we build and earn people's trust. And once we have their trust, our prices are not as relevant. People understand that we're giving value. So that's essentially what I help companies and individuals do and with their with their companies and their organizations. What I find curious and what fits certainly with the theme of the program is the importance of the message that you intend to say. And you you identified that the words you use help build trust. 

Give us an example of a couple mistakes that that people use, customer service people might use that destroy trust. What are the wrong words? 

Sure, I'll be happy to. The first ones that come to mind are calm down. You know, that would be. Calm down. You're upset. Calm down. It's Don't tell me how to feel as opposed to. I understand you're frustrated. You know, I would feel it's similar. And we've had other people feeling the same way.

Speaker 1 (00:03:53) - So that that's one example. Just in terms of when you mention, George, the name of this program, your intended message. I love that because a lot of people have I think most of us have good intentions when it comes to communicating. The challenge is sometimes the words that we choose under undermine our good intentions. So example. So we want to have friendly relationships with people and we want people to like us. I mean, that's, that's a reasonable intention to have. Um, the problem is because we tend to think of as being liked, as being paramount. We don't realize that trust is even more important. So I'll give you an example. Let's say that, George, you asked me a question to which I don't have response. So you ask me when will my order be shipped? And my response is, Well, this time of the year, we're really busy. We're in back order. So, you know, generally speaking, it's it's usually about ten days, but I would guess about two weeks.

Speaker 1 (00:05:04) - Okay. So all of those things that I just said to you are accurate. They're fair and well intended. But the problem was, the way I worded it, it it sounded like I was equivocating. And so let's let's compare that to this response to the same question. So, George, again, you asked me when will my shipment be there? 

My response is about two weeks. Generally, this time of year we're on backorder. So normally it's 7 to 10 days. But in your case, this time of year, it's about two weeks now. Now the difference was we give exactly the same information. But in the first example, I analyzed and I explained and explained and I didn't answer the question until the very end, about two weeks. In the second example, we answered the question directly, and then we explained, So when's my shipment due? About two weeks. And then you do the explanation. 

Now, Jeff, I'm curious about the concept of being friendly, providing friendly customer service and some, some customer service providers seem to think that that's, that's their goal.

Speaker 1 (00:06:17) - And, you know, sometimes it just kind of annoys me. They're over the top. And I'll give you one example where and I can't remember where it was, but I remember the conversation isn't that funny? The person said, you know, Good morning, how are you today? And I said, I'm okay. And the person says, No, you should be wonderful. It's a beautiful day. I said, Wow, I'm okay. Yeah, I'm getting asked. Yes. Than okay now. 

Well, yeah, that's a great example. And and in fact, you know, that's a big determinant between how we might grow a relationship. So if our intention is we want to become the customer's best friend, I think we're setting ourselves up for failure. People may not like us for a lot of reasons, beyond our control. I mean, they may not like us because of our, our, our gender, our ethnic background are our height. I don't know our name. Our name reminds them of somebody that they didn't like back in elementary school.

Speaker 1 (00:07:17) - I mean, who knows these things. So. So be trying to be somebody's friend, you know, that's an organic, natural thing. It's going to happen or not. However, I really encourage. My clients and the folks who are attending my seminars to have the goal rather than focus on trying to be somebody's friend, let's focus on trying to become somebody's trusted advisor. 

And when you think about it, you know, a trusted advisor, my accountant, for example. I see. I see him Hazim, I see Hazim maybe once or twice a year. You know, we don't have a lot in common, but I mean, I spend thousands of dollars every year between my personal and corporate taxes with this guy, and I don't plan on going to movies with him or anything like that, but I want him to to help me with tax planning. And that's what I'm looking for. And so which begs the question to your example, George, about somebody commenting and saying, no, you shouldn't be okay, you should be fantastic.

Speaker 1 (00:08:14) - To me, one of the biggest determiners of whether somebody is seen as a friend or trusted advisor comes down to the way that we listen. Now, you know, I expect that we all think we're good listeners, but some buddy who is a good listener doesn't just listen with the idea of what you know, what what we have in common. It's really listening to find the underlying need beneath that. So for example, when somebody says we're okay, you know, we could say, Oh, yeah, you know, me too. I'm not very good. Well, you know, it's not about them and us. It's not about our feelings. In fact, I wrote a little poem. I don't write very much poetry. In fact, this is probably the only thing. But. But I mentioned that friends compare and overshare. Advisors ask and stay on task. So, for example, when you ask somebody, so what movies do you like? And and their responses. Oh, I saw that.

Speaker 1 (00:09:13) - I saw such and such a movie. Oh, really? I saw that movie. We tend to look for for commonalities because we're trying to be friends. Whereas as an advisor would ask, Oh, really? We went to that movie. Really? Why that movie? What do you like about those movies? And they find out a lot more. So to your example, George, about somebody going, You're okay. Oh, why are you okay? I could be something else. Well, you should be happy or you should be delighted. Okay. Yeah. Really? What's going on now? You're going to have a lot better, better response than the trite responses of Let's just be cheerful and over the top, which loses trust. And I know that this goes to both folks in Canada and the and the US and probably around the world. George, your intended message? I would. I think for most people, when they reach a certain level of maturity, they're put off by people who are artificially happy, so to speak.

Speaker 1 (00:10:07) - We want somebody who's authentic, somebody who's real. And so the big way of determining that is how they listen to us. That's how we really start judging folks. I find an interesting parallel there with with social media. For example, on social media, people get all excited when they get likes on their post. And and the real issue is, 

But have they built a relationship with anyone? Have they built trust or just got likes? Yeah. I mean, that's that's a great point, George, because you know how you know, what difference does it make? How many friends, quote unquote friends we have if we don't really have anybody wanting to do real business with us or if we're getting I think of the the viral videos that have had millions and millions of likes because it's a dog that does something or whatever, and not that the person posts it for that purpose, but for those folks who are trying to build a business and be seen, be more visible and all they're doing is entertaining folks.

Speaker 1 (00:11:18) - That's not necessarily what I think we're looking for. And actually now, George, I'm going back to one of your your best tips that I've ever got was one of your books and think it was Secrets of Power Marketing. Is that that was one of your first ones you did with Peter Bender? Yeah. And and you know, actually I do have a commerce degree with master marketing, so I have a background in marketing. The best definition of marketing I ever read excuse me, was yours and that was that. 

The purpose of marketing is two things. It's to convey value and create awareness. So a lot of folks are creating awareness out there, but they're not really conveying any value. And so I you know, I think when it comes to social media likes and all that kind of stuff, are you really conveying enough value that people are compelled enough to want to to do business with us? And that comes down to, are we really connecting with them on what's important to them and what's going to move them? So you raise a really good point.

Speaker 1 (00:12:23) - Social media, you know, it can be a powerful. Purveyor of of your message out there, but not if we're just promoting ourselves or talking about, you know, movies, what trips we went on. In fact, I think it in many cases it creates resentment because it looks like our. Wow, you know, you're you were out for dinner the other night and you you went there. I didn't go there. And so in some ways, it can create some degree of disconnection. So, you know, a certain irony that that we're seeing out there, which brings me to, you know, the big thing around creating trust. 

And this is one thing that I've always found about you, George. In the many years that I've known about you, there's no BS with you. You know, when you and I talk, you tell me what's really happening out there. And so it's one of the reasons I'm happy to work with you on these types of, of exchanges. And so people want to hear the truth.

Speaker 1 (00:13:20) - They want to know things that aren't going well. And example, here's here's here's an example that I heard a politician interviewed on the radio. And it was about some civil subject that was going on out there. And the interviewer asked the the mayor of the city, so what do you think of such and such? And the mayor said, you know, and it had to do with think drilling of gas wells around the city perimeter. And the mayor's response was, I don't profess to be an expert in what's happening in the petroleum industry in Canada. What I do know is when it comes to the needs of our citizens, boom. And so that to me and I thought, well, you know, that's that's pretty good. So, so often a way of building trust, ironically, is to be transparently honest about what you don't know. So to say, you know, you know, hey, I'm, I'm not an expert. It's kind of like, you know, hey, I may just be a a country boy from Cowtown, Canada.

Speaker 1 (00:14:25) - But what I do know and it's funny how that admitting what you don't know makes people much, much more receptive to what you do know. I find that fascinating and it's a great think style to to bring to what I notice in that in that phrase, you know I'm just I'm what? I don't know. I'm not an expert on. 

But what I do know is I believe what that does is it reveals. That you you are not putting yourself on a pedestal. You are not saying, Hey, I'm perfect, just listen to me. I know what I'm doing. Like you're questioning me. Yeah, well, you know, and it takes confidence to do that too. And being somewhat secure of yourself. 

I'm often reminded of the Volkswagen Beetle when they came back and revived it, I think, in the 2000. So somewhere along the lines, they came back and when they put the new beetle on on their ads, it said, yes, it's back. And this time it's got some heat, you know, kind of thing.


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