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“Positive positioning is positively delivering a message and in such a way that minimizes a negative reaction.” – Myra Golden

When dealing with customers in today’s socially complex customer service (CX) environment, positive positioning is a powerful tool to elevate customer experience and build strong brand loyalty.

The positive positioning approach uses tactful language and a sincere tone to set the stage for constructive dialogues, even in the most challenging situations.

Despite its limitations, effective implementation of positive positioning can transform how an organization interacts with its customers, promoting satisfaction and loyalty. This article discusses the role of positive positioning in customer service, its limitations, and a five-step guide to training employees in this vital skill.

What is Positive Positioning?

Positive positioning involves using optimistic and affirming language during customer interactions to create a favorable customer experience.

It encourages customer service representatives to frame discussions in a way that emphasizes solutions and customer-centricity, even in challenging situations.

This approach aims to enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and overall brand image by ensuring that interactions are marked by empathy and positivity.

Why is Positive Positioning Important in Retail?

Positive positioning is crucial in retail and customer service businesses because it helps build and maintain a strong brand image.

When managers and employees use optimistic language and frame interactions positively, retail and customer service businesses create a welcoming atmosphere that helps to develop successful customer interactions. Survey studies have found that:

  • 97% of consumers and 98% of contact center managers say customer service interactions impact whether consumers stay loyal to a brand. ( Source: Calabrio)
  • 81% of customers say a positive customer service experience increases the chances of them making another purchase. (Source: Zendesk)
  • 61% of consumers will pay at least 5% more if they know they’ll get a good customer experience. (Source: Emplifi)
  • 60% of consumers have switched brands due to a negative contact center experience. (Source: Calabrio)

Therefore, positive positioning has been proven to enhance customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the potential for positive word-of-mouth referrals, as well as enhance customer experiences.

“From a consumer’s point of view, positive positioning helps build trust and loyalty towards a brand. When consumers perceive a brand positively, they are more likely to choose it over competitors. Positive positioning enables businesses to establish a unique identity, differentiate themselves from competitors, and create a strong emotional connection with their target audience.” (Source: FasterCapital)

Sample CX Situations and Positive Positioning Phrases 

When managers coach team members to use positive positioning language during their interaction with shoppers, businesses can effectively handle customer concerns while maintaining a positive and empathetic brand image. Consider the following cx situations and sample phrases: 

1) Handling a customer complaint : 

“I’m sorry for the trouble. Let’s find a solution together that meets your expectations.”

“Your feedback matters. We’ll swiftly investigate and prevent future issues.”

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Our aim is your satisfaction.” 

2) Assisting a customer with a billing or payment issue: 

“I understand your billing concern. Let’s review your account and resolve it.”

“We aim for hassle-free billing. Let’s ensure accuracy and convenience.”

“Thank you for reaching out about payment. We’ll make your experience seamless.” 

3) Providing Product or Service technical support:

“I’m here for technical support. Let’s troubleshoot and get you back on track.”

“We’re dedicated to fixing your technical problem. Let’s find a solution.”

“Your technical issue is a priority. We’ll guide you to smooth operation.” 

4) Addressing shipping or delivery problems: 

“I’m sorry for the shipment inconvenience. Let’s resolve it quickly.”

“We’ll fix the shipping issue promptly for you.”

“Your delivery satisfaction is crucial. We’ll address the problem.” 

5) Resolving a customer inquiry or question: 

“Your inquiry matters. I’m here for prompt and accurate information.”

“We’re happy to assist with any questions about our products or services.”

“No question is too small. Let’s provide the info you need.” 

6) Greeting Customers: 

“Welcome! Feel free to ask any questions or seek assistance.”

“It’s great to see you! Let us know how we can make your shopping enjoyable.”

“Hello! We’re here to help and ensure a pleasant shopping experience.” 

7) Approaching retail Shoppers: 

“Anything specific you’re looking for today? I can guide you.”

“Let me know your preferences. I’m here to simplify your shopping.”

“Explore freely, and if you have questions, reach out. I’m here to assist.” 

8) Suggesting Products to Shoppers: 

“Based on your preferences, I recommend trying [product]. It’s well-received.”

“If you like [product], you might also enjoy [related product].”

“Since you’re interested in [category], consider [product] for your needs.”

Why Positive Position Works

“Customers invariably want to walk away feeling good about the recent transaction they have had with an organization. Positive language is a first step in creating that sort of positive customer service experience.” (Source: OdysseyTraining)

Why Positive Position Works

Positive positioning works because it helps customer service and sales agents navigate difficult situations and prevent escalations. In heated situations, maintaining composure and clear communication can be challenging for staff and customers.

Therefore, employees can create a more constructive dialogue with customers by delivering information pleasantly and confidently without judgment and eliminating negative tones and language.

Moreover, providing options to customers and ensuring they feel well-informed and validated at the end of the conversation enhances the customer experience. Positive positioning encourages intentional phrasing that builds a strong foundation for successful interactions.

For instance, replacing negative phrases with positive ones, such as focusing on solutions rather than problems, can de-escalate potentially awkward or hostile situations and help customers feel heard and understood. Even when the answer is “no,” positive positioning can offer alternatives or solutions, making customers more receptive to the outcome.

What Limitations Does Positive Positioning Have

While effective in many customer service scenarios, positive positioning has limitations. One limitation is that it may not always completely eliminate customer frustration or dissatisfaction, especially in cases where the issue cannot be resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.

In Addition, positive positioning relies on the agent’s ability to maintain a consistently positive tone and language, which can be challenging in highly stressful or emotionally charged situations.

Furthermore, there is also a risk that customers may perceive positive positioning as insincere or scripted, especially if it is not used genuinely. Employees may also require additional training and effort to master this skill effectively. Not all staff members may excel in using positive positioning consistently.

Five Step-Guide to Training Employees in Positive Positioning 

Step 1: Understanding the Fundamentals of Positive Positioning

In this initial step, employees should be introduced to the fundamental concepts of positive positioning. It’s important because a clear understanding of the principles behind positive positioning sets the foundation for effective communication.

Employees should grasp the significance of using positive language, maintaining a pleasant tone, and focusing on solutions rather than problems in customer interactions. 

Step 2: Role-Playing and Scenario-Based Training

Role-playing exercises and scenario-based training provide employees with practical experience in applying positive positioning techniques. This step is crucial as it lets employees practice handling various customer service situations realistically.

They can learn to navigate challenging interactions while maintaining a positive and helpful demeanor, preparing them for real-world scenarios. 

Step 3: Feedback and Coaching

Regular feedback and coaching sessions are essential to monitor employees’ progress in positive positioning. It’s important because constructive feedback helps employees identify areas for improvement and refine their skills.

Managers should provide specific examples and guidance on enhancing their positive positioning techniques. 

Step 4: Providing Resources and Tools

Equipping employees with resources and tools that promote positive positioning is vital. This step ensures employees can access scripts, templates, and language guidelines that facilitate positive interactions.

These readily available resources can empower employees to maintain a consistently positive approach in their customer service interactions. 

Step 5: Continuous Reinforcement and Evaluation

Positive positioning training should be an ongoing process. Continuously reinforcing the importance of positive positioning through team meetings, refresher courses, and periodic evaluations is essential.

Regular assessments can help identify areas where employees may need additional support or training, ensuring that positive positioning remains a core competency within the organization.

“It takes an average person almost twice as long to understand a sentence that uses a negative approach than it does to understand a positive sentence”  – John H. Reitmann, Psychiatrist

Tips to Help Master Positive Positioning in CX Scenarios:

  • Deliver information in a pleasant, confident manner without judgment
  • Eliminate all negative words, tones, language and innuendo, mannerisms from the interactions
  • Maximize positive language while minimizing negative language
  • Provide the customer with options whenever possible
  • Ensure the customer feels well-informed, validated and satisfied with the experience

In sum, When dealing with customers, managers and employees should always search where negative language is present and learn to instinctively substitute it with positive language.

Final Comments

Positive positioning training can play a key role in shaping customer experiences and perceptions about a brand, business, or individual. However, like any employee training strategy, its effectiveness lies in genuine and consistent application.

Organizations must invest in continuous training and resources that empower employees to master this phrasing technique.

Remember, positive positioning aims to mitigate adverse shopper reactions and develop and maintain positive and respectful stakeholder relationships.

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