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The Words and Phrases to Use — and to Avoid — When Talking to Customers


The key to any successful relationship is effective communication. In the business world, this means trying to understand what consumers and clients are saying, and responding to them in ways that reflect that understanding. For the most part, however, the way businesses have used language to persuade, satisfy, or rectify has been more art than science.

The retail world in particular abounds with catch-phrases, habits, and commonly copied templates: “Say it with a smile.” “Never say no.” “Sorry is a magic word.” “A person’s own name is the sweetest sound in any language.” But do these and other long-held tips about how to speak to customers really work?



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