In NLP at Work, author Sue Knight decodes a Shakespeare poem and shows why we connect with his words.
A lover's eyes will gaze an eagle blind
A lover's ear will hear the lowest sound,
When the suspicious head of theft is stopp'd:
Love's feeling is more soft and sensible
Than are the tendered horns of cockled snails;
Love's tongue proves dainty Bacchus gross in taste.
William Shakespeare, Love's Labours Lost
Studying the Shakespeare passage we find that the language is appealing to the eyes, the ears, and the feelings: gaze an eagle blind," "hear the lowest sound," "soft," "tender," gross in taste."Instead of relying on abstract words and the nominalization of verbs (whatever that means), pour words onto the page that grab the senses and stir the emotions.
Typically, the majority of people have visual as a first preference and this is the choice with which Shakespeare starts. Feelings language is what encourages the reader to connect with what is being said and this is at the heart of the passage. And finally he leads us to a less usual form of language -- leaving a sweet taste in our mouths?
Lewis Carbone, author of Clued In, feels there's a connection between sensual language and orchestrating customer experiences. He writes of his favorite poet -- Robert Frost:
As a poet he seemed to have an instinctive grasp of the power of clues. His work in its own way is as fully functional an experience management system as the environment Uncle Pio created in the aisles of his A&P. Frost's words are finely crafted, with a cadence and a sound all their own. Each is rich with meaning. When woven together by one as skillful as Frost, they have the extraordinary ability to drill deep into my emotional epicenter.Language is one of the elements that comprise the customer's total experience. Minor language changes can make a major difference. In the early 1990s, Ritz-Carlton Hotels performed an experience audit and made a minor change in the way its people talked to customers.
Instead of saying, “You're welcome,” Ritz-Carlton people from the front door to the housekeeping staff were encouraged to say, “It is my pleasure.” The change reflected the character of the establishment as well as the expectations customers have in it.
Just like Shakespeare, we can use language in business to create rich and rewarding experiences for our customers. And it's easy to get started. So the next time a customer thanks you for a service or product, instead of saying:
"It was my pleasure."