Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me may be a popular childhood retort. But Dr. Ilene A. Serlin say it’s based on flawed thinking.
To illustrate her point, Serlin notes that stress and hostility are known risk factors for heart disease and are measurable on social media. “Researcher JC Eichstaedt and team looked at Twitter (News - Alert) language patterns in a large scale study,” she writes. “They discovered that negative language patterns used on Twitter are a significant predictor of age adjusted mortality in artherosclerotic heart disease.”
On that note, let’s approach this conversation from a glass-half-full point of view.
Best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil writes that “positive emotions – and expressing them – has been linked to a variety of health benefits.” That includes improved immune function, lower production of the stress hormone cortisol, and a reduced risk of various chronic diseases.
Excellent. Wonderful. Superb.
What I’m getting at here is that words matter.
They matter in life. And they matter at work.
Just consider customer service. The words call center agents use can make the difference between escalating an already bad situation and calming a disgruntled customer. And they can make the difference between keeping and losing a customer or a sale. Here’s why.
Using the right words expressed in the right way conveys to customers that agents want to serve them. Take note of that if you’re a contact center manager who coaches or writes scripts for agents. And consider encouraging them to use positive words such as absolutely, certainly, definitely, exactly, excellent, fantastic, and great.
We’re all drawn to people and situations that make us feel good and reinforce that our thoughts and concerns are legitimate and meaningful. Customers who are greeted by others who express their genuine interest and excitement in helping are more likely to have positive experiences and continue doing business with the organizations they represent.