Customer Experience News & Trends

12 customer communication mistakes that make you look dumb

Unfortunately, all the communicating you do with customers leaves a lot of room for error. These are the kinds of faux pas that make you look dumb.

Email, promotional collateral, letters, phone calls, text messages, social media posts, old-fashioned letters … every day you enter a minefield, where one mistake could make customers think, “Wow, that’s dumb!”

Whether you’re a marketer pulling together promotional material, a customer service rep answering calls and email or a salesperson writing a contract, you want to get your message across in the most intelligent way.  Errors will distract customers and interfere with a great experience.

Here’s what you want to avoid:

1. Working for the Department of Redundancy Department

This comes from the Department of Redundancy Department: When writing, many people include unnecessary words — and many of them seem so innocent. You want to nix these:

  • An added bonus — By definition, bonuses are an extra.
  • The end result — Results naturally come at the end.
  • Past history — History is something that happened in the past.
  • Completely unanimous — Unanimous alone means the total.
  • Refer back — Refer is the instruction to look back.
  • Consensus of opinion — Consensus is enough.
  • Current status — Status refers to the current state.
  • Whether or not — Whether is sufficient.
  • First priority — The priority is first in line.

2. Punctuating too much

87627936Commas are the most overused punctuation mark — and they appear (unnecessarily) in all forms of written communication with customers. They should be used preceding and, but, for, or, nor, so or yet when anan independent clause — a phrase that could stand on its own as a sentence — follows.

3. Less mistakes means fewer hassle

This grammatical error pops up in the written and spoken word all the time. The rule of thumb is to use fewer when you can count the number of items you’re referring to. Use less when it’s uncountable. Examples:

  • We have 16 fewer pellets left at this price than we did yesterday.
  • We have less space than we did yesterday to hold the order.

4. We should of told you this a while ago

This is a mistake that pops up in written communication because we so often speak it incorrectly: Could of. Would of. Should of.

They’re terribly incorrect. The correct form is always: Could have. Would have. Should have.

5. Look what the cat drug in

477170173We hear it, and use it all the time. But drug is not a verb. It refers to a medicine — legal and illegal.

The past tense of the verb to drag is dragged. So the old saying — and anything else that includes the past tense of to drag — should be: Look what the cat dragged in.

6. Their are too many to count

This common mistake is never in the spoken form. But it’s often a big error in the written form: Confusing Their, there and they’re.

  • There refers to a location: The shipment will arrive there Thursday
  • Their is possession. Their order was placed yesterday.
  • They’re is a contraction formed by they and are: They’re two of our best technicians. 

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