Small Labels Can Be a Big Deal

February 28, 2019

Nomenclature4Your Consideration

Little things can make a big difference though – especially in commerce.

One of the first questions I ask a new client is how they refer to the people with whom they do business. The labels you put on your interactions can be significant and often share a deeper meaning. Are your business relationships with patients, customers, clients, students, visitors, guests, users, or buyers?

Obviously in anything related to the medical world you’d want to address the people who visit you as patients.

If you’re in the hospitality industry, it’s likely you refer to them as guests, visitors, or customers. They are staying with you, in from out of town, or eating and drinking at your establishment. You can likely surmise the proper label to use and apply.

But what about those of you in more varied professions? Do you call the people in your day-to-day dealings clients or customers?

A rose, by any other name, may smell just as sweet... but no one wants a dozen flowers called "sewage sprouts".

Some Thinking2Do

There’s a bit of a value assessment placed with the language you choose. While everyone may not agree with me, it feels like a customer is someone with whom a transaction takes place. A client label, however, implies a deeper, more collaborative relationship - perhaps ongoing in nature. It says more than “transaction”. It says we’re “your people” and we’ll be here for you over time.

We intentionally have clients.

That’s the business we are in. It may not be the same in your situation, but it is worth a review and your deeper thought. Not only should you be mindful of what you call your customers or clients, but if you’re in the sales or service providing business, be aware of how the people with whom you do business refer to their end users. It’s pretty awkward to speak to a medical practice about their customers (when you mean patients). That’s a fast way to lose some credibility.

In the end, the small labels you choose actually are a pretty big deal.



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