How Language Impacts the Customer Experience
When we talk about customer experience, it often conjures thoughts of big strategic marketing initiatives to “put the customer first” and ambitious plans to map out holistic customer journeys. And while that big picture thinking is essential for creating outstanding experiences, marketers should recognize that customer experience is also made up of a million little day-to-day choices about how you communicate your brand across marketing touchpoints and what it stands for.
One of those choices is the language you use, both in your marketing and advertising, as well as throughout the customer journey, whether through signage, in-app notifications, social media captions, or even customer service responses. In a nutshell, the words you choose matter. They're not only descriptive of your products and services, but can convey brand voice, personality and the way customers can expect to be treated. When you speak to customers in a language that resonates with them, in a way that showcases who you are as a company, you immediately start to build affinity and loyalty for your brand.
So what steps can marketers take to make language more effective when it comes to customer experience? Ultimately, brand communications should help foster a frictionless, enjoyable, and maybe even surprising experience for consumers. If you’re ever in doubt, keep it simple. Clutter in the form of excessive or complex wording can lead to a confusing or frustrating customer experience that can hurt the long-term relationship.
One brand that uses streamlined, impactful language is Imperfect Produce. Its website header, “Ugly Produce. Delivered.” packs a punch while sparking curiosity to learn more about the brand. The company extends that streamlined brand voice through its product delivery, with packaging and paper inserts that feature clever stories, witty jokes and other shareable moments. By using concise messaging to communicate the brand at various stages of the customer journey, Imperfect Produce helps its customers feel closer to the company and the services that it provides.
Another noteworthy use of language in communications comes from Wendy’s, a company known for its honest, often cheeky brand voice. Its infamous Twitter account has attracted millions of followers with edgy, humorous tweets that tap into modern-day internet culture. It has transformed Wendy’s from “just” a fast-food chain into that one hilarious friend that you can rely on to send you the latest memes. By using language that truly resonates with its millennial audience, Wendy’s has been able to cultivate long-lasting relationships.
Whether you’re looking to integrate edgy, simplistic or emotional language into your brand communications, the most important step is to evaluate the efficacy of your strategy. That means employing a blend of user testing, direct feedback and third-party evaluators to understand how your brand is being perceived by customers. Doing so ensures that your brand story is natural, effective and cohesive through every stage of the overall customer journey.
All brand communications should map back to the overarching brand narrative and persona — no matter how small the message. Using the right language has the power to foster long-term connections with customers that keep them returning for more.
Dan Gingiss is the vice president of marketing at Persado, a company that develops and delivers artificial intelligence-generated marketing language solutions.
Related story: Omnichannel: The Gold Standard in Customer Experience
Dan Gingiss currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing at Persado. His career has focused on delighting customers, and he has extensive experience spanning social media, customer service, marketing, and digital customer experience. He is the author of the book, “Winning at Social Customer Care: How Top Brands Create Engaging Experiences on Social Media", listed as a Forbes Top Ten Business Book for 2017. He co-hosts the "Experience This!" podcast on improving CX, and has also hosted the "Focus on Customer Service" podcast.
Dan has experience at multiple Fortune 300 companies, including as Senior Director of Global Social Media at McDonald's, Head of Digital Marketing at Humana and Head of Digital Customer Experience & Social Media at Discover Card.