By Nancy Friedman, Customer Service Keynote Speaker; President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training
A week or so ago I posted this short comment and the response was a good amount of agreement that the phrase is not a good one. So we’re delving a bit deeper.
What are the ramifications of saying, “can I be honest with you?” to a customer, prospect or anyone for that matter? To name a few:
* It’s a ‘trust’ violator.
* It’s considered ‘social noise.’
* It reduces your credibility because people expect honesty. We call it a credibility buster.
* There’s a hidden message in what you’re saying.
And there are plenty of ‘cousins’ to that phrase that are annoying phrases. Do these sound familiar?
* Can I tell you the truth?
* Let me be perfectly frank.
* You want the truth?
* I’m gonna level with you.
* Can I be candid with you?
Do you feel there is an appropriate time when it’s OK to use this phrase? Here are 3 reasons why NOT.
* It’s simply not effective. Avoid the phrase.
* It’s a totally useless phrase.
* This phrase questions your own integrity. Customers, family, and friends expect the truth and your honesty.
When we hear “Can I be honest with you?” we tend to wonder about the previous and forthcoming information. We expect the truth every time. So why the disclaimer?
A few (but not limited to) replacements might be: “Here are my thoughts” or “You make a good point; however, I was thinking about this . . .”