Loyalty Leader Quick Tips

Misspelled Words Will Embarrass You and Annoy Customers

February 23, 2017

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Several years ago, an artist was commissioned to create a colorful mosaic to grace the entrance of a new library in Livermore, California. Unfortunately, the artist did not take the time to check to see if her spelling was correct.It was more than embarrassing for the library director and staff when visitors began noticing that 11 of the 175 names and words on the piece were misspelled–from “Eistein” and “Shakespere” to “Van Gough” and “Michaelangelo.” The correct spellings are Einstein, Shakespeare, Van Gogh, and Michelangelo.

The $40,000 project ended up costing the city an additional $6,000 because it paid the artist to fly from her Miami home to correct the mistakes.

Adding to the problem was the unwillingness of the artist to take responsibility for the errors. Amazingly, the city officials allowed her to get away with her claim, “There were plenty of people around during the installation who could and should have seen the missing and misplaced letters.

“The Livermore Library is an extreme example of the damage that can be caused by misspelled words. They had to invest additional funds to clean up the public relations mess on their hands.

Spelling errors can cause serious problems in the workplace as well. Email is a common vehicle for creating credibility issues and eroding customer trust. It can be effective because it offers you the ability to respond very quickly to customer requests. But poorly written email messages will damage customer relationships and tarnish your professional image. Misspellings and incorrect word usage are the most common errors in customer service emails.

Consider this:

  • Your customer will be offended if his or her name is spelled wrong.
  • When you use a word that is spelled correctly but has the wrong
    meaning, it undermines your reputation.
  • Others may perceive you as being careless, apathetic or just not very smart.

How is your spelling?

Do you confuse common “sound-alike” words such as “accept” and “except?” These are often referred to as notorious confusables. Here are examples of common mistakes:

  • it’s” and “its

These are two of the most confused words in the English language. What is its color? It’s blue. It’s been fun. Remember, “it’s” means it is or it has! Use its to show possession.

  • access and excess

The number of employees who wanted access to the training seminar was in
excess of one hundred.

  • complimented and complemented

She complimented her friend on the way her drapes complemented her furniture.

  • they’re, there and their

They’re going to ship their package over there by tomorrow. Remember, “they’re” means they are. Use “their” to show possession.

Incorrect spelling is a growing concern in business. Technology is a major cause of the problem. Don’t rely on the spell checker programs installed on your computer. You can start there, but if you are not absolutely certain about the meaning or spelling of a word, I suggest you take it a step further and refer to other sources.

  • Don’t forget about looking up words in the good old dictionary. It’s easier than ever if you have access to the Internet. I recommend Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary https://www.merriam-webster.com/netdict.htm

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