Images for H2H posts on ECXO

Unlock the magic of positive language and elevate CX to the next level

Today, we’ll be exploring the fascinating world of language and its impact on customer interactions. As we delve into this intriguing subject, we’ll discover how words can significantly influence people’s perceptions and responses, and how this can be particularly relevant in the world of customer service. So, let’s get started and explore the power of language together!

Psychology teaches us that our perceptions are inherently subjective, influenced by a multitude of factors – our past experiences, beliefs, cultural backgrounds, and, importantly, the language used in our interactions. This is particularly true in the world of Customer Success, where the language used can frame the entirety of a customer’s experience.

Let’s start with positive language – the sunny side of communication. Positive language is a powerful tool that can create a heartwarming, friendly atmosphere. It instills a sense of trust and respect between the customer and the service provider. Words like “absolutely,” “certainly,” and “great,” and phrases like “I’d be happy to” and “it’s my pleasure to help,” can make customers feel valued and appreciated.


From a psychological perspective, positive language stimulates the production of serotonin, the happiness hormone, in the brain. This hormone uplifts the mood, creating a positive association with the brand or product.

“This is not just about making customers happy at the moment; it’s about fostering long-term relationships based on trust and mutual respect.”

On the other hand, negative language – words like “can’t”, “won’t,” and “don’t,” and phrases like “it’s not possible” or “we don’t do that” – can create a bleak atmosphere. It makes customers feel like they’ve hit a wall, which can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

The philosophy of language suggests that words are not merely symbols for ideas, but they have the power to shape our reality. When negative language is used, it frames an interaction as a problem or a conflict. This can invoke negative emotions, souring the relationship between the customer and the service provider.

Negative language can also provoke a psychological phenomenon known as ‘negativity bias.’ This bias means that negative experiences have a greater impact on a person’s psychological state than neutral or positive experiences.

“Consequently, negative language can leave a lasting impression that’s hard to erase, damaging the reputation of a brand or company.”

However, it’s important to note that negative language isn’t inherently bad. Sometimes it’s necessary to deliver difficult news or to set boundaries. The key is in how it’s used. Even in challenging situations, the use of positive language can help to frame the situation more constructively. For example, instead of saying, “We can’t do that,” we could say, “While that specific option isn’t available, we can offer you these alternatives…”


What do psychology and philosophy have to say about it?

We’ve established that language, in its positive and negative forms, plays a critical role in customer interactions. Now, let’s delve deeper into the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of this concept.

From a psychological perspective, the ‘priming’ theory offers an interesting lens through which to view language’s impact. Priming is a nonconscious form of memory that influences our behaviors and attitudes.

“For example, if a customer service representative uses words associated with kindness and empathy, it ‘primes’ the customer to respond in kind, creating a more harmonious interaction.”

Behavioral psychology also introduces the concept of ‘framing,’ which means the way a message is presented influences how it’s perceived. Framing can tap into our cognitive biases, subtly guiding our decisions and reactions. For instance, a customer is more likely to accept a solution if it’s framed positively. Saying, “We can fix this for you by doing XYZ,” instead of “The only way to fix this is by doing XYZ,” can make a world of difference.

Moving on to philosophy, the ‘speech act theory’ postulated by J.L. Austin and further developed by John Searle, offers profound insights. This theory suggests that when we use language, we’re not just saying something; we’re also doing something. For example, when a Customer Success Agent says, “I can help with that,” they’re not just providing information; they’re also acting – offering help.

Considering this, every word uttered in a customer interaction carries an action with it. These ‘speech acts’ can affirm, deny, promise, apologize, and more.

“They are powerful tools that can shape the course of a conversation and significantly influence customer satisfaction.”

Adding to this, Ludwig Wittgenstein, a prominent philosopher of language, proposed that language shapes our understanding of the world. He suggested that the limits of our language mean the limits of our world. Hence, expanding our use of positive language can effectively expand the ‘world’ of possibilities for customer solutions and satisfaction.


Would you like to explore some specific examples?

Let’s delve into some practical examples to help you better understand the concept I’m discussing. First up, let’s explore the power of positive language. Positive language is all about projecting a sense of eagerness, supportiveness, and a desire to help. It’s about being agreeable whenever feasible and suggesting options when a direct answer is not possible. Here are a few instances to illustrate my point:

1. “Absolutely, I can help with that.”

2. “That’s a great question. Let me find the answer for you.”

3. “I understand your concern and I’m here to help.”

4. “I appreciate your patience. We’re working to resolve this issue.”

5. “While we can’t do exactly what you’re asking, here’s what we can do…”

Now, let’s look at negative language. Negative language often leaves the customer feeling like their request or concern is being denied or ignored. It can make them feel like they’re in a battle, rather than a conversation. Here are some examples:

1. “That’s not my job.”

2. “I can’t help with that.”

3. “You’re wrong about that.”

4. “That’s not our problem.”

5. “We don’t do that here.”

Remember that it’s not just about the words themselves, but also the tone and context in which they’re used. Even negative phrases can sometimes be necessary, but they should be framed in a way that still makes the customer feel heard and valued. For example, instead of saying, “That’s not my job,” you could say, “I’m not the best person to help with that, but let me find someone who is.”


Strategies for Encouraging Your Team to Use Positive Language

Several strategies can be effectively implemented by customer-facing teams to use more positive language. Here are some of those strategies:

1. Training: Provide regular training sessions that highlight the importance of using positive language and how it influences customer interactions. Role-play exercises can be helpful in this regard, as they give team members a chance to practice and receive feedback.

2. Create a Positive Language Guide: Develop a guide that includes phrases or sentences that your team should aim to use. This could include alternatives to common negative phrases. Make it easily accessible to everyone on the team.

3. Encourage Empathy: Foster a culture of empathy. When team members can understand and share the feelings of customers, they’re more likely to use positive language and provide better service.

4. Feedback and Recognition: Regularly monitor customer interactions to identify areas of improvement. Also, recognize and appreciate those who consistently use positive language. This not only motivates them but also encourages others to follow suit.

5. Promote a Positive Work Environment: If your team members are happy and positive, they’re more likely to express that positivity in their customer interactions. This includes creating a supportive, respectful, and encouraging atmosphere.

6. Use Positive Language Internally: How team members communicate with each other often reflects how they communicate with customers. Encourage the use of positive language in internal communications as well.

7. Develop Emotional Intelligence: Emotional intelligence plays a key role in Customer Success. Provide resources and training to help your team develop skills like self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

8. Regular Refreshers: Language habits can be hard to break. Regular refreshers can help keep the importance of positive language front and center.

Always keep in mind that a shift towards more positive language isn’t just about flipping a switch. It’s a gradual process that involves both individual and collective effort. But with patience, consistency, and a sprinkle of positivity, you’ll see that this shift can lead to more satisfied customers, happier teams, and a brighter overall business environment.


Why not take on this work? Think of all the amazing things you can achieve by persevering through it

By utilizing positive language while communicating with customers, you can reap a multitude of benefits. Some of the most impactful advantages include:

1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Positive language can help in making customers feel valued and heard. This can significantly enhance their satisfaction levels, leading to more positive experiences with your brand.

2. Increased Customer Loyalty: A satisfied customer is more likely to become a loyal one. Positive language can help build stronger relationships with customers, encouraging them to continue doing business with you.

3. Positive Brand Image: How your team communicates with customers greatly influences how your brand is perceived. Using positive language can help create a more positive brand image, attracting more customers to your business.

4. Conflict Resolution: Positive language is crucial when handling complaints or issues. It can help de-escalate situations, making it easier to find solutions and resolve conflicts effectively.

5. Motivated Team: When your team uses positive language, they’re likely to have more pleasant interactions with customers, which can boost their morale and motivation.

6. Improved Communication: Positive language can make your communication more effective. It helps in conveying your message more clearly and reduces the chances of miscommunication.

7. Encourages Positive Customer Behavior: When you use positive language, customers are more likely to mirror that positivity. This can lead to more pleasant interactions, positive reviews, and referrals.

8. Increased Sales: All these factors together – increased satisfaction, loyalty, positive image, and reduced conflicts – can ultimately lead to increased sales and business growth.



The way we use language can have a profound impact on our experiences and relationships. In Customer Success, positive language is essential for creating a satisfying experience for customers, building loyalty, and fostering long-lasting relationships. Conversely, negative language can damage relationships and provoke negative emotions.

To be effective communicators, we must understand the psychology and philosophy behind language. Our choice of words can make all the difference in creating positive, meaningful interactions. Using negative language, however, can create barriers that hinder communication and lead to misunderstandings.

In essence, language is like a dance, where the right steps can lead to a harmonious experience, while the wrong ones can lead to negative interactions. By harnessing the power of positive language and avoiding negative language, we can guide conversations toward satisfying outcomes, fostering stronger and more positive connections with customers. Language is not just a tool for communication; it is a catalyst for connection, understanding, and growth.

So, let’s strive to spread positivity one conversation at a time and make the journey towards creating more positive experiences together!

Link to the original post: Unlock the magic of positive language and elevate CX to the next level

#CustomerSuccess #LanguageMatters #PositiveLanguage #CustomerExperience