Words are powerful. The old adage sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me is a lie and must have been created by someone who was trying to look strong in the face of opposition. Words do hurt, and they can have a significant impact on the way that what you are saying is processed.
Every personality is different. Everyone processes and perceives information differently. Married individuals will understand this all too well! That is why, especially when trying to drive user adoption, it’s important to choose your words carefully.
Here are 5 things you should never say to end users.
1. “No, I can’t…”
This statement isn’t bad, but it implies that you are incapable of performing the action. This communicates rigidity and an unwillingness to be flexible and meet half-way. Instead, use a phrase that communicates the same thing, but implies you want to be collaborative to find an alternative. For example:
Sorry, this is a limitation of Salesforce which prevents me from creating this functionality, but here is what I can offer to get us close.
This statement implies that you are willing to find a workaround to meet their needs and that you are flexible. This in turns reduces the frustration on the receiving end and helps the end user reciprocate with compromise.
2. “I’ll just do that for you.”
Every Admin should take advantage of teachable moments – no matter how inconvenient it may be. When we utter this phrase, we are removing power from our users and we create a standard. Users become comfortable not learning how to rely on the documentation and resources available to them and soon, you become swarmed with requests that users should be able to handle on their own.
Instead, we should be encouraging self-sufficiency. The critical part to creating self-sufficient users is leveraging those teachable moments to train and encourage. For example:
Let me know when you have a moment and I’ll help you set that up.
This statement implies that you are willing to help, but you intend to teach. This is what Salesforce Administrators are – we are teachers.
I remember having some users that were contacting me for simple requests (like updating a report filter or rearranging report columns). Initially, I didn’t have a problem making these adjustments for the users, but as my workload began to increase, I didn’t have the bandwidth to continue in this process. After empowering users to make these changes themselves by teaching and encouraging, I saw a drop in the number of lower level requests that were coming my way.
3. “Come over to my desk.”
Service is the name of the game. To provide great service, you need to go to where the problem is. If a user is having an issue, get out of your chair and get into their world. Walk over to the user’s desk and help them out.
Going to the users desk allows the user to stay in their comfort zone. This allows them to learn, and feel comfortable asking questions. There are some circumstances where you may want the user to come to your desk, but make those times the exception.
Be proactive. Walk the office floor and make yourself accessible and meet users where they are. They’ll appreciate your effort.
4. “You didn’t do it right.”
Many of us are direct communicators. Direct communicators can be hard to talk to or interact with because they can come off abrasive or rude. But these communicators are really important in the business world because they help to cut the crap in meetings or conversations.
I would classify this phrase as pretty direct and not terribly helpful. Usually, users know that they didn’t do something correct. Generally there is an error message, or they just had that gut feeling that things aren’t right. They don’t need to be reminded.
Instead, try something more productive. Something like “Next time, try it this way and you’ll find that the process will run more smoothly.” or “If you do it this way…”
These phrases don’t point out that they did something wrong. Instead it suggest that there is a better way. And that better way is communicated as a benefit to the user. You’ll find that users are more productive with this type of conversation and feedback because is encouraging and productive.
Yup, nothing. Not saying anything to your end users is a bad way to go about business. It’s difficult to get any feedback from users when you aren’t communicating.
A feedback loop is really important to users and to yourself. If there isn’t a mechanism to communicate and engage with users, then how can anyone learn and grow?
Users shouldn’t be held in the dark. Communication is key to their success. This doesn’t apply just to users either. Think about your stakeholders as well. Everyone in the organization deserves to know as much as you do about Salesforce. While they may not understand everything you talk about, we should give them the benefit of the doubt.
They are smart and deserve to know as much as they want to know. Over communicate and let the user decide what is most important.
*Never may not be 100% accurate. I remember my pastor telling me that the key to a healthy marriage is to “never say ‘never’ and never say ‘always.'” Absolutes can be dangerous. I guess what I’m saying is to allow for exceptions where necessary!