When we guide a Service Transformation journey with businesses, one of the key measures we focus on is: have people started to change their language?

If you listen intently to the language used in meetings and corridor conversations, you can assume that the same language is being used with the customer. 

Last week, I spoke to a group of champions in a business that has been on the Service Habits journey for the past 12 months. Each champion said that the consistency of the language of leaders had been the most obvious change. Specifically:

  • What leaders talked about. For example, Service topics were more infused in day-to-day conversations.
  • How leaders talked about service. For example, Service was mentioned more regularly in all departments and roles within the business.


Words matter. You have the power to impact people greatly—positively and negatively—so switch on and pay attention to what you say.

Words shape our beliefs and drive our behaviour, and they derive their power from our emotional responses to them. The ripple effect of your words to your employees will ultimately reach your customers. 

If you want to change your service culture, start by changing your language.

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