When Talking to Customers, Be Confident and Show Your Expertise


Are you an expert in your field? If not, why should I use your product or service? Customers expect the best and you give the impression that you can’t give it, they will go elsewhere. You need to project the image that you are an expert.

That requires using the right words, especially since more and more customer interactions take place through writing (email, live chat, even Twitter). Start the conversation by establishing a personal rapport. Show the customer that you’re listening to their problem or complaint, and then shift to a take-charge attitude, using confident, assertive language. Research shows that customer satisfaction is higher when you avoid deferential words (“afraid,” “mistake”) and use dominant language instead (“must,” “confirm,” “action”). In addition, customers will see you as more helpful if you use specific words. For example, a clothing retailer should talk about the “white turtleneck” rather than the “shirt,” and the “high-top sneakers” rather than the “shoes.” And don’t be afraid to explicitly endorse a product to the customer (“I suggest this comforter” or “I recommend this album”); doing so implicitly, by sharing your personal preference (“I like this comforter” or “I love this album”), can be less effective. An explicit endorsement signals both confidence and expertise.

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