Power of the tongue in business
How you communicate with your customers, whether internal or external, is very crucial to the success of your business. Needless to say, customers are the bedrock of any business and any utterances towards them must be done responsibly with utmost care. Therein lies the power of the tongue in business. The tongue is a servant of our thoughts and emotions and if unbridled, it easily betrays unpleasant feelings that are best left unexpressed.
Words find expression through the tongue. If this small organ slips as it often does, it can cause untold damage to relationships of all nature.
Customers are at the focal point of every business. How we talk to them determines if they will be repeat buyers or be our brand ambassadors.
If our tongue wags in the wrong way and utters unpleasant words, intentionally or otherwise, it could deal a fatality to a business relationship. No wonder the Bible is wont of reminding us that in the tongue lies the power of life and death.
The power of the tongue in business is extreme whenever we interact with customers, whether they are external or internal. We must accord them the respect they deserve because without them, there is no business.
Right from the moment they enter into our space or premises, up to the time they leave, they must be handled in a friendly manner and be made to feel at home and important.
Among the tools we can use to make them feel that we are concerned about their needs and concerns are words. Words can build or destroy; bond or tear; excite or depress; entice or repel; welcome or repulse and so on. Thus we must guard our tongues at any time we are dealing with customers.
When a customer enters your premises, how do you treat them? Do you greet them to show you recognise their presence? Do you welcome them with cordial words to make them feel at home? Do you assume a higher pedestal than them or project an aura of importance that could make them feel demeaned.
It may seem obvious but a majority of businesses are very poor in treating customers. Beyond body language, words account for most of the communication.
The words that you speak, especially at the beginning, are the gateway to their hearts and minds. Indeed, this shows the power of the tongue in business. Words open them up to express their needs and desires unhindered. That way, they are able to express without fear. It is important to look directly at the customer when talking to them. Your work in the computer can wait for a few seconds. So can the chatting on Facebook, twitter or WhatsApp.
If the situation allows, it is always important to engage the customer in a little chit chat. The subject may vary according to the prevailing situation and your relationship with the customer. The chit chat may dwell on, among others issues, weather, politics, sports, economic climate or even compliments on how they are dressed. This may be seen by many as a waste of time, yet it is an important ice breaker and gives the customer more trust and confidence in you, the seller.
Carry out your own survey whenever you go to do some shopping. You are likely to meet two types of sales people. One who is not interested in greetings and one who greets you with a smile and even requests to know a little information about you. Truth be told, you obviously will be more attracted to the one who shows some concern in you. A little bit of tongue work is all that matters for a customer to feel that you care.
A few days ago I went to do some shopping in a local shop. The owner of the shop is a good friend of mine. I was so impressed by the number of customers being served. As a matter of fact the staff were so busy serving the customers that I had to wait for a while to speak to the owner.
An elderly man happened to come into the shop. Being an electronics shop, you don’t expect an elderly man to grasp much pertaining to the gadgets on sale. The sales lady he walked to, shocked me. While the old man was trying to explain to her what he was looking for, she got impatient just after a few minutes. Before long, she spewed some rude words to the effect that the man was wasting precious time for the shop and other more prospective customers. The lady did not understand the power of the tongue in business.
The man was so hurt and he left the shop frustrated and cursing. This was the wrong way to treat a customer, especially an old man. It was just another case of a person being unable to reign control over a small organ in between our teeth.
When that lady will be old one day, she will understand better the weight of unpleasant words hurled at her. We are young today; tomorrow we will be old. Definitely, we will not wish such treatment. As a sales person, or as the face of a business in the reception area or out there as a marketer, you are going to meet customers of all kinds, some of whom may even be physically challenged in one way or another.
Others will be slow in deciding what they want or even unable to express themselves in a clear manner. These are opportunities for the tongue to wag in the wrong way. It will require exercising patience and courtesy.
Within the business itself, various departments, units or sections transact amongst themselves. These are referred to as internal customers.
The management and the workers also interact in many ways. Words are the main medium through which communication of instructions takes place. This also shows the power of the tongue in business. Here as is the case between sales people and external customers, opportunities abound for the tongue to be unruly.
Management should not utter words that demean the self-esteem of juniors as this would bring about tension and ultimately hurt the business. All people in an organization are cogwheels who need to work together for the good of the whole entity.
A kind word here and there, an encouraging word now and then, a motivating word once in a while, words of gratitude for well executed tasks; all these will empower the whole team and move the organization forward.
A word of thank you and wishing well to a customer departing the premises is a sure-fire incentive to bring them back; and back with others.
The power of the tongue in business is extreme. The tongue can be put to good use, but it can also be put to bad use. We are all called to be good stewards of this organ. It can build, but it can also destroy. It is most potent in destroying and that is why it must be guarded so well. What goes forth from it cannot be retracted. Thus it can shame us, fill us with regret or destroy thriving relationships of all nature.