Customer Service Blog

One word that builds customer trust and intimacy

I’ve written before about phrases that have the opposite effect of our intended meaning with customers: “To be honest with you…” or “To tell you the truth…” or “Trust me…” They indicate the speaker will now tell the truth; implying everything else has been lies. Those phrases actually reduce trust; the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve. Today, I want to focus on one word that does in fact build trust.

Did you notice it? I used it two sentences ago. It’s the word actually. It’s a useful word when you need to correct or disagree with someone, without being disagreeable. It has even more impact when you lower your voice and pause right after saying it. Ie. Customer: “That inspection could delay the project.” Your low-key reply: “Actually, (pause) the inspector will be there tomorrow, so we’ll still be on time.”

The word actually implies you’re sharing an evidence-based fact. When said in a low tone, it suggests this is confidential intel that you are revealing with someone you trust, like sharing a secret. Not bad results for one word.

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