Scott’s Blog

What you say, what they see

One of my favorite stories about word choices is the one about the hospital that decided to open a walk-in clinic to compete with local freestanding clinics. The medical staffers who served on the hospital’s board chose to call it an “ambulatory” clinic, because to medical folks, “ambulatory” means that an individual is capable of walking.

The expected business didn’t materialize, and the hospital didn’t understand why consumers weren’t flocking through the doors. So they conducted a little bit of research and uncovered the reason: consumers saw the word “ambulatory” and assumed that it was intended for patients who arrived in ambulances.

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Un-welcome signs

I’m not sure that a Welcome mat in front of a business ever made anyone feel truly welcome, or a notation on a receipt saying that it has been someone’s pleasure to serve you has the power to overcome lackluster or indifferent service.

But I’ve seen plenty of signs in businesses that told me my business really wasn’t welcomed or appreciated.

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