Word Of the Week #537: Melpya Syndrome

November 19, 2014 by  

Melpya Syndrome: what happens when you speak in a robotic way, very quickly, and create run on sentences.

Have you ever called a business or been addressed by a salesperson who talks so fast that you can’t understand what they are saying? How many times have you been waited on by a person who was “just going through the motions?” Have you ever been guilty of sounding like a “canned speech?”

This is #6 of my 7 Simple Steps of Service and I call it Change Your Tapes. It is very easy to fall into the “rut” of speaking on “auto pilot” where you repeat a lot of the same things day in and day out and have the tendency to do it “robotically.”

The first time it happened to me was in the south when a salesperson asked, “Melpya?” I had no idea what she said and not wanting to be rude I said, “I don’t care to be melped right now, but maybe later.” Well, I must say I heard Melpya more than once and it dawned on me that what they were saying was, “May I help you?” All four words were run together!a melpya

When you are in customer service and deal with people, a lot of the time you repeat the same information over and over. If that’s the case, you need to keep your message fresh! Change the way you say it from time to time so you don’t sound like you are on “auto pilot.”

My experience is that when you are on “auto pilot” you are not paying attention. Try this. The next time you go shopping and the sales clerk says, “Melpya?” Or “Can I help you?” Answer with, “No thank you, I’m just shoplifting today”. 8 out of 10 times their response is, “Well if you need any help, I’ll be right over here”. They are clearly not paying attention!

I have experienced servers who recite the salad dressings as if it is one long word, i.e., frenchthousandislanditalianbluecheese. I don’t feel any connection with them! Whether you are in person or answering the phone and people ask you to repeat what you said, then you are probably speaking to fast.

And this from a long time subscriber, “I recently stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, Washington, D.C. for a week and found their staff in the same robotic mode. Their service line is “My Pleasure!” I love this service mentality, however when you hear them saying it so many times, it begins to sound like you are hearing them say “Mplsure”, which is what you were talking about. It takes the enjoyment out of being pampered. The service staff were all robotic in their thank you and my pleasure comments. After a while, it loses its meaning and then the Ritz Carlton becomes just like all other hotels. I would rather hear sincerity in service, where you permit your employees to infuse their personalities with your Club or Hotel Service Culture, without taking away the professionalism. I do not believe service is something that you “cookie-cut” because when you do, you take away from genuine service, creating a service staff of robots. When I dine, or travel, I like to listen to the service staff, in particular when they go to the next table, after visiting my table. When I hear them saying the same thing, over and over, I just want to stand up and say, “Excuse me, can you just be yourself and get out of the robot mode, you are really beginning to bug me!” I would like to say that just once to see how it feels, ha, lol. Of course if I did this, I would be concerned with what they would do to my food before they served me from the kitchen.” — Don

This week focus on speaking more clearly and slowing down your pace. How obvious is it to you when a salesperson is being repetitive and robotic? How could you change your message so it sounds fresh and lively? Do you allow your staff to infuse their personalities at work?

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