"We are focused on customers." Avoiding the Obvious Jargon in Your Messaging

At Kona Impact, we ask a lot of new businesses to describe what they do, who they are, and how they are different from other businesses. The conversation often goes like this:

Client: We will excel at customer service.
Us: How?
Client: We will listen to and communicate with our customers often.
Us: So, can you imagine any businesses saying they don’t do those things?
Client: Well, no.

Many businesses will define themselves in vague and meaningless terms. Here are a few:

  • Customer-focused (Duh, name one business that isn’t!)
  • Place customers first (Really?)
  • Professional (Would you do business with a company that wasn’t professional?)
  • Local (Most of the non-big box stores in Kona are “local”)
  • Hard Working (Can you name any business that survives without hard work?)
  • Future Focused (Every business is….or should be)
  • Efficient / Speedy (Would any business admit to not being?)

The problem with these slogans or sayings is that customers expect them of every business they use. They are not remarkable and have been used so much that they have lost any value.

The Japanese have a great saying, “atarimae”, which loosely translates “it is natural” or “it goes without saying.” To deviate from the standard is remarkable. To follow the bar is not. If the way you describe your business to clients “goes without saying,” maybe you are saying a lot that has no meaning.

I like to encourage Kona Impact clients to be more focused. Instead of saying, “We are hard-working,” say, “We strive to get all orders placed before noon delivered the same day.” Or instead of saying, “We are professional,” say, “We are all ABC certified and have 20 years of experience in the business.” Instead of “We are customer-focused,” say, “Here is my business card. Call me if you ever feel you are not getting the service you like from my staff.”

look beyond the obvious

In short, the lesson is to say what you do, not how you want others to perceive you.

 Kona Impact | 329-6077