Language is power. Words shape our thoughts; language equals culture. Our thoughts determine our actions. A single word can draw us together or distance us from the issues and from each other.
Example: Clients. That’s a nice, sterile word, isn’t it? Clients. It suggests a vague association, a temporarily convenient, necessary-for-the-moment relationship, someone held at arms’ length. It lacks ownership and warmth; we might as well be discussing thumbtacks.
“I lost a client.”
“Oh, really? Well, I’m sure another one will come along. In the meantime, why not borrow one of mine? I’ve got plenty.”
We don’t have clients. Saying a client has an issue is nothing more than a way to distance ourselves from ownership of either one. It’s a self-patronizing, politically acceptable way to abdicate our responsibility for providing solutions.
We have Customers. Customers are people, just like us. People don’t have issues; people have needs. Feeding those needs is the solution we provide.
A Grammatical Pet Peeve
It seems to be a custom among poorly educated people to claim ownership of events, processes, appointments, etc., that actually belong (linguistically) to the company. For example:
"I have an opening at 3:00." (Where the appointment in question is actually for someone else.) Correct usage: "We have an opening at 3:00."
"My service application is not working at the moment." Correct usage: "Our service application is not working at the moment."
Incorrect grammar identifies the employee as poorly educated, and reflects on your company. Be certain that employees that you hire to answer the phones - and anyone that spends time on the phone, such as support or sales personnel - have excellent grammar.