Using specific language increases customer spending
Speaking to customers in concrete, specific language makes them feel more cared for and important
Welcome to the first issue of Ariyh! Thank you for joining me in this quest for better, more effective marketing.
Every Tuesday and Thursday you will get a tip based on the latest top business school research. This way, you can apply new techniques years before anyone else hears about them in executive courses, conferences, or books.
New around here? Subscribe at no cost below.
Use concrete, specific language when interacting with customers to increase satisfaction and spending
Impacted metrics: Customer satisfaction | Customer spending
Channels: Sales team | Customer service | Retail store
Train your team to use specific, concrete language when interacting with customers: “Let me check how much it will cost to upgrade your subscription” not “Let me look into your query”. Or “I’ll look for that t-shirt in grey” not “I’ll look for that”.
Increased customer satisfaction and customer spending (9% and 13% respectively, for the firms in this study).
The effect was tested and holds in different situations: in speaking or in writing, searching for a product or trying to solve a problem, and across different firms and product types.
Works in all forms of interaction (e.g. live chat, face-to-face), when selling to or supporting a customer, and across different firms and products.
Why it works
Using concrete language suggests that the employee paid attention and listened to the customer, making the customer feel unique and important.
The effects work during an interaction between you and the client, they don’t apply in one-way communications (e.g. website, email campaigns).
Companies using this
At the moment, companies don’t appear to be training their employees to use concrete language in customer interactions.
Market observations and Lab experiments, United States and Canada.
Packard, G., & Berger, J. (July 2020). How Concrete Language Shapes Customer Satisfaction. Journal of Consumer Research.
Schulich School of Business, York University and The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Remember: Because of the groundbreaking nature of this paper, it could be disproven in the future (although this is rare). It also may not be generalizable to your situation. If it’s a risky change, always test it on a small scale before rolling it out widely.
Did you enjoy this newsletter? Was this tip useful for you? I would love to hear your feedback, just answer this email or head to the website to write a comment. Thank you!
Know other marketing leaders that would love this newsletter? By forwarding this to them you support Ariyh and help it grow.
Was this forwarded to you? Subscribe below to receive two tips per week.